Company history woven into nostalgia of museum exhibit.
The Callis and Ready families have parked nostalgia at a Bloomington, Ill., museum where 48 pedal cars will be on display for a two-year rally.
The pedal cars — there are 69 total — are a slice of the Bruce Callis Pedal Car Collection. Bruce was a longtime executive at State Farm. He died in 1999.
Bruce's son, Kevin Callis, daughter, Kim Ready, and grandson, Michael Ready, are all State Farm employees who helped arrange the family donation to the museum.
“We felt it was time to share them,” says Kevin. “Dad always loved to watch his grandchildren playing with the pedal cars and we have this wonderful museum right out our back door.”
The Pedal Power! exhibit is on the third floor of the McLean County Museum of History in downtown Bloomington. The child-sized autos span 50 years of pedal car production from the 1920s through the 1970s. One of the exhibit’s highlights is the original 75th Anniversary State Farm commemorative pedal car prototype.
The collection began as a way for Bruce to spend time with his grandchildren, says Kim. Bruce spent countless hours restoring pedal cars, and often with Michael's help.
“I can remember working with Papa in his garage,” says Michael, Kim’s son. “I would run and grab tools for him, and I went to the paint shop with him.”
Like street cars, the pedal cars have makes, models and manufacture years. The oldest car on display is a 1927 blue Buick made by company called Uhlen. Other early items on display include a 1929 pedal plane made of wood and a 1935 white-and-red Dodge Fire Chief produced by a company called American National.
“Dad was proud of his State Farm story,” says Kim. “The pedal cars are a family story, a community story and State Farm story.”
For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.