I am calling this a "Resurrection" not a "Restoration" as I took some liberties with materials and methods in bringing this childs tricycle back to life. But at the end of the day it is true to the spirit of the original and the smile on a little girls face 40 or 50 years ago would look the same as the smile on my god-daughters face when she saw her "new" tricycle for the first time.
My "Modern Resurrection" involved some very hi-tech features: 3D printed pedals; laser etched & cut leather seat; computer reproduced & cut vinyl fender graphics & lastly: laser cut and engraved acrylic "head badge". I personalized most of the custom parts with her initials (she now has her own logo!) and the vinyl graphics were digital reproductions of the original graphics found on the fender as I was stripping away the layers of paint. Without technology I would not have had the skills to "Make it Real" and in the process bring this tricycle back for, hopefully, another 50 years of enjoyment.
This instructable will show the steps I went through, both the hi-tech and the low tech, to resurrect the little red trike.
I have posted the 3D file to 123D - Here is the link: http://www.123dapp.com/stl-3D-Model/Vintage-Tricycle-Pedals/605620
Step 1: In the Beginning...
I wish I could say that this bike was passed down in our family and I could detail its history but it did not... Our paths crossed at a country auction in November 2011 when I saw this sad little bike with too many coats of bad paint and too many layers of dirt and rust sitting on the auction floor. I was able to buy it for $13 with the goal of restoring it to its original splendor for my 19 month old god-daughter. Luckily it was complete and not bent or dented in any way which says much about its sturdy vintage construction. Some parts, like the pedals, hubcaps & handle bar grips, were too far gone to save so I spent several months searching the internet and eBay looking for the right replacement parts. I found most of what I needed but with the pedals I was out of luck, they were a size that did not seem to exist anywhere anymore.
Everyone asks how old this bike is and that is a hard question to answer. When a company found a design that sold they would sell then for years or even decades. I originally thought (and hoped) that it may be 1940's because of the size of the front fender but in doing some research and based on certain finding (as I stripped away the dirt and paint) I am leaning more to the 1960's at this time. Still the little red trike survived for 50 years so it deserved this make-over.
So to begin... Disassemble and clean all the parts...