Von Tobel Family Papers, 19051997. MS-00589. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. (Box 09 folder 02)
Many of the Christmas presents children receive today would have looked very strange under the Christmas tree of Von Tobel family in the 1920s. A small metal rectangle with wires that connect to the ears, an animal made of metal, a box filled with plastics bricks that you assemble yourself—MP3 players, robotic pets, and LEGOs are just some of the gifts that today's children desire during the holiday season that children of the 1920s would never have dreamed of. While many of the presents children desire fade and change with the times, there is one present that children of all times have wished for … a new bicycle!
For children a bicycle can be a timeless present. Whether it is their first bicycle that still has training wheels, or a new bike to adjust to a sudden growth spurt, children love their bicycles. In this photograph from the Christmas of 1923 the Von Tobel children are seen posing with their new bicycles.
Here on the left we see George Von Tobel, the youngest of the Von Tobel Children, at about five years old. If you look carefully you can see the training wheels on his bicycle. In the middle are Ed Jr. (ten years old) and Elizabeth Von Tobel (twelve years old). Last but not least, Jake Von Tobel, at age fourteen, leans causally and confidently against his new bicycle.
From 1923 to 2014 the bicycle remains a treasured gift for children during the holidays, no matter the century. The Von Tobel children show bicycles are a present loved by children of all ages. Happy Holidays from Special Collections!