Vintage Whee-Lo

It amazes me how many of our toys involved endless repetitive motion. Take the Whee-Lo, for instance.

The Whee-Lo was a wire loop which held a rotating wheel that was magnetically attached at its axle. It would traverse its metallic circuit endlessly, powered by gentle motions of a child’s wrist. That yellow plastic hoogus could be slid up and down the handle to vary the speed of the wheel.

The toy was introduced way back in 1953 when a company called Maggi Magnetics began selling them. This was a surprise for me in doing my research, because I remember the toys appearing in stores in Miami, Oklahoma in 1968. Soon, every kid in town was sending the spinning wheel around its course as they walked to school in the mornings.

The endless looping of the wheel was a natural accompaniment to sitting in the back seat during long automobile trips. We made annual sojourns of 500 miles to my grandparents’ homes in Iowa and Texas. I remember nearly wearing out that Whee-Lo on one of those trips.

The toy came with cardboard disks that you could stick on the wheel to provide some variety. But it really wasn’t necessary. The toy provided a Zen soothing effect as you watched it repeatedly traverse its steel route.

In fact, I could use some of that today. I may just have to buy one to add to my cubicle toys collection. A Whee-Lo in hand during a long, mindless conference call should provide me the same therapeutic benefit that it did in the back seat of that Plymouth on the road to Iowa in 1968.

You can still buy Whee-Lo’s at this site, as well as several others. Try a Google search.

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