The Flexible Flyer was invented over 100 years ago by a farm equipment manufacturer. Looking to provide year round employment for his workers, Samuel Leeds Allen began trying to invent a sled in the 1880’s. Coasting, as sledding was then known, was very popular and Allen was hoping to capitalize on this.
Allen’s first attempts at developing a sled were tested by the children at Westtown School in Pennsylvania. The predecessor of the Flexible Flyer was the Fairy Coaster which was a double-runner or bobsled which held three or four adults. Runners were made of steel and seats of a plush fabric. This entire sled could be folded into a small package for easy transportation on a streetcar or train. The problem with this first sled was a retail price of $50.00. This expensive price tag made it impossible to sell in quantity. A smaller cheaper version of this sled was designed but testing proved it to be too small and not have enough runner for proper steering. Eventually the entire production line for the Fairy Coaster was sold at auction. Continue reading “Making History: Invention of the Flexible Flyer”