In the 1970s Wisa-Gloria’s red tricycle gave many Swiss children their first set of wheels. The minimalistic design and mod colors united the design trends of the time. Especially striking is the visibly simple construction made of a single steel tube.
At one time, there was barely a household in Switzerland without a stroller, children’s furniture, or toys by the Lenzburg-based manufacturer Wisa-Gloria. Founded in 1882, the company was able to expand its distribution to France, Greece, and South America beginning in 1915 thanks to an international trade network. Up until the 1960s, Wisa-Gloria produced streamlined tricycles with curved tubular steel or sheet-metal-clad frames. In 1970, one of the company’s own engineers developed a more affordable model, touted in the 1974 catalogue as an outstanding bargain at seventy-five Swiss francs. The tricycle’s simple construction consists of a single steel tube, both ends of which are compressed to form flat ovals, one vertical and one horizontal. This reduction to a single structural engineering principle, along with clarity of form and a red lacquer finish, made this tricycle a timeless icon and favorite model in designer circles. Only the upward-curving handlebar is reminiscent of the two-gear motorcycles of the time. With 1,500 units produced annually, the tricycle was Wisa-Gloria’s last successful product. Soon after its release, the company was forced to gradually curtail its once wide selection of products, before finally discontinuing production entirely in 1992. Thanks to this emblematic tricycle from 1970, Haderer, a small Austrian manufacturer of children’s vehicles, took over the brand. The company relocated to Switzerland and has been manufacturing retro reproductions of the tricycle since 2010, albeit with beechwood pedals. (Renate Menzi)