Montgomery Ward offered the Rocket Rear-steering Tricycle for sale in 1938 and 1939. Its ‘article number’ -a reference for ordering from their catalogue – was 448 T 1990.
Its patents are in the name of William C Roe, assignor to the Colson Corporation. (Not to be confused with Mayo E Roe, who was one of the patentees of Colson’s Zephyr Twin Bar tricycle in the same year).
The lower main tube kicks down to the rear axle at a different angle on the drawing and the actual tricycle. I assume because the trike is a larger wheel size than the drawing.
1938 Rocket Rear-Steering Tricycle
FRONT WHEEL 20″
REAR WHEELS 12″
WIDTH (Handlebars): 21″
The rear steering linkage uses a balljoint above the rear step. My only criticism of the design is that perhaps the linkage could have incorporated a second balljoint below the handlebar stem so that the handlebar does not need to tilt each time it is turned. Bicycles were often built and sold while their designs were still being tested, so they were improved in subsequent models. I assume the outbreak of World War 2 prevented further models of the Rocket.
WILLIAM C. ROE’s PATENT 8TH APRIL 1938
Amendments in the August 1938 patent at the top of the page show different rear step, seatpost support and handlebar, which are the same as the actual tricycle. The patent below, from 8th April, appears to be the initial one registered.
ROCKET TRICYCLE: UNDERSIDE
1960 HEDSTROM SAF JET REAR STEERING TRICYCLE
Rear-steering tricycles were not common, but the 1960 Hedstrom Saf Jet (and Sky Jet) also features a rear-steering set up. The handlebar is shaped like a car windscreen, and turning it to either side turns the rear wheels.