Is this the oldest swing in the world?,
Wicksteeds long and famous heritage is unsurpassed in the play industry and they are proud to celebrate that long history of bringing joy to children. Some of the original models from over 50 years ago are still in use today.
A 90 year old swing has recently been discovered in full working order in the town of Kettering, Northamptonshire; not far from where it was built and where Wicksteed still produce swings today. It is thought to be perhaps the oldest swing still in use – having survived since 1923!
See the Daily Mail article ‘Oldest Swing in the World’
As an early entrepreneur Charles Wicksteed started his factory in Kettering in 1876 and he designed and manufactured such varied items as the original automatic gearbox, sawing machinery and the first hydraulic hacksaw. This was an instant success as it cut steel in 5 minutes instead of 1hour.
Charles Wicksteed & Co. Ltd. went on to develop other products such as power drills and wooden toys. The company also manufactured a machine used extensively on board ships and large establishments for the slicing and buttering of bread.
At the end of the First World War, Charles Wicksteed organised a “school treat” to celebrate the end of hostilities and he is reputed to have removed central heating pipes from the Digby Street factory to erect swing frameworks in Wicksteed Park. This was not only the first playground to be built, but was also the start of what was to become the first playground equipment manufacturing business in the UK.
Wicksteed’s classic playground equipment brings back memories for many as children. As well as their much loved swings, were their slides, roundabouts and rocking horses – played on all over the world from the 1920’s. There is even a Playground Rocking Horse Trust – dedicated to locating, documenting and preserving these much loved playground items - http://playgroundrockinghorse.webs.com/
Wicksteed has come a long way since those days in 1920’s and is still today the largest playground equipment manufacturer in the UK, making state-of-the-art play, fitness and sport products for today’s children and young people. However, the company does still realise the continuing popularity of the traditional play equipment – as can be seen from their website www.wicksteed.co.uk.
Learn more about the history of Wicksteed by watching this video recording of the Inside Out TV programme featuring Charles Wicksteed - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOlbqCeDhQA or see how Wicksteed manufactures the play equipment today - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0duwiEtnj0o
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