The Christmas Tricycle

As we move through the holiday season, our focus turns to family dinners, quiet snowfalls, and the joyful challenge of finding the perfect gift; the gift that will be treasured for years to come. And when the years take their toll on those items, we here at The Conservation Center consider it a special privilege to help in preserving those family treasures. This holiday season, we share with you an item brought to The Center by Mary, who reached out to see if it would be possible to restore one of her favorite childhood Christmas gifts: a circa 1964 Murray tricycle.

Newly delivered from Santa’s workshop, Mary enjoys her Murray Tricycle on Christmas day, 1964. 

Mary received the tricycle from none-other than Santa Claus on Christmas day 1964, and it has been well-loved over the past 50 years. While the elves at the North Pole did a superb job with the original construction, five decades of dust, grime and corrosion had taken their toll on the tricycle. Fortunately, Senior Conservator of Furniture Michael Young was up for the unique challenge of cleaning this multi-surface, multi-finish item.  

50 years of grime and corrosion are evident in this pre-treatment photo of the Murray tricycle.

Since the tricycle was structurally sound, the cosmetic cleaning would help the appearance greatly; however this was no small task. As Michael noted, “the tricycle had to be disassembled entirely in order to clean off the accumulated corrosion.” And although the small scratches, dents and areas of paint-loss would remain post-treatment, those are pleasant reminders of the past 50 years, and as Mary’s reflects, the “happy, happy childhood memories.”

Post-treatment, the charm of Mary’s 1964 Murray tricycle shines through. 

Now back at home, Mary has her tricycle on display in her office, and has no plans to part with it anytime soon. A priceless childhood memento, she plans to keep it around as long as she is here to enjoy it. We here at The Center are honored to have helped Mary in preserving her tricycle, to be enjoyed for many more Christmas seasons to come.