Remember This? Wooden sleds with runners

Dorri Partain
Northeast News

The kids will be dashing through the snow (next time the white stuff hits town) if Santa left a sled under the tree, creating years of winter fun memories.

The sled, whether the runners were wooden or metal, has been used since ancient times to carry people and goods across snow or sand-covered terrain.

Using a sled for recreational purposes, often called “coasting,” became a popular pastime for children and adults alike in the mid-1800s.

Paris Hill Manufacturing Co., founded by Henry F. Morton in 1861, started as a home-based business that produced one sled at a time.

Morton’s wife Lucilla painted the sleds that he crafted from wood in their kitchen.

By 1869, demand became great enough they built a factory in their hometown of Paris Hill, Maine.

While popular, downhill coasting could also be dangerous because the sled had no steering mechanism to avoid approaching objects, such as rocks, trees, or other sleds.

Samuel Leeds Allen, a manufacturer and inventor of farm implements, needed a product to keep his production line operating year-round.

Dubbed “The Flexible Flyer,” Leeds received U.S. Patent 408,681 on August 13, 1889 and began manufacturing his new and improved version.

By 1900, the Flexible Flyer had become the most popular brand of sled, and other sled companies began creating their own versions with steering mechanisms.

Retailer Montgomery Wards version, shown here, carried the Hawthorne label.

As listed in the 1968 Christmas catalog, the Deluxe model’s “Y-type steering bar and sure hold hand grips assure easier control on turns and curves” and featured “spiral wood grips for easier carrying.”

Available in four different sizes, the largest (58 inches) sold for $12.88 and could be steered with the hands if lying down or the feet if sitting up.

Since 1978, the Flexible Flyer has been manufactured by Paricon, owned by the great-grandchildren of Henry Morton.

Montgomery Wards, which had a huge presence here in the Historic Northeast, went out of business in 2001.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Remember this? “White Label” goods

    March 31st, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Consumers tired of paying higher prices for name brand products embraced the introduction of generic label goods […]


    Comiskey Park, Home of the White Sox

    March 31st, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Even though there are no baseball games being played right now, we’re continuing our tour of historic […]


    Remember This? Pennants

    March 25th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor For over 100 years, felt pennants have been a colorful way to show team spirit, whether at […]


    The Kansas City Aztecas

    March 25th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Mexican Immigrant and Mexican American Baseball Teams Grew Despite Racial Segregation. The 1940 Kansas City Azteca women’s […]


    Remember This? Betty Crocker

    March 18th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor American icon Betty Crocker was born in 1921 to respond to homemakers’ baking questions. Following a contest […]


  • Washington Park, Indianapolis, Indiana Home to the Indianapolis Indians

    March 18th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week, we throw a curveball into our series and bounce back into the world of minor […]


    Nicollet Park, Home of the Minneapolis Millerettes

    March 11th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher  Welcome to week two of our tour of stadiums used by teams in the All American Girls […]


    Remember This? The Hair Dryer

    March 11th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor For girls who want curls, the Lady Sunbeam Vista model VHD-9 provided the “fastest, easiest way to […]


    “There’s no crying in baseball”

    March 4th, 2020
    by

    All American Girls Baseball League: The Springfield Sallies Michael Bushnell Publisher March is Women’s History Month and keeping with the […]


    REMEMBER THIS? Susan B. Anthony coins

    March 4th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Quarter or dollar? After the Susan B. Anthony one dollar coin was introduced in 1979, users quickly […]


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.