After picking up a book at the Moorestown Library in New Jersey, take a look around and you’ll catch a glimpse of an unusual collection. Local resident Phil Snow donated his collection of 26 Flexible Flyer sleds and assorted memorabilia to the library, and it is now on display and open to public.
The sleds are right at home in Moorestown. The sled was invented in 1889 by Samuel Leeds Allen, a local farm and garden equipment manufacturer. Although Leeds was better known for his potato diggers and grass edgers, his desire to keep his factory workers employed during the winter gave him the idea to manufacture a winter product.
He created a number of sleds and sledding innovations, but his most lasting invention was a sled that was steerable and flexible. He named his creation after its design and speed: the Flexible Flyer. By 1915, Allen was selling around 2,000 sleds a day. The Flexible Flyer even made an appearance at the South Pole when explorer Richard Byrd brought six of them on his 1928 expedition.
Snow’s collection began 20 years ago when he bought a 1930s Airline Ace when his first child was born. That one sled turned into nearly 30 as Snow continued to add to his collection. It now includes a sled with a Mickey Mouse design, an 1890s model that is 36 inches long and 12 inches wide, and, in contrast, the biggest Flexible Flyer ever made, the Model Number 6, which is 8.5 feet long, weighs 41 pounds, and can carry up to six adults.
In addition to the collection of sleds, the small museum also includes Flexible Flyer memorabilia, patent drawings, and historical information. Although the sled is no longer a New Jersey-made product, the Moorestown library is honoring the Flexible Flyer’s homegrown roots.
Know Before You Go
Open Monday-Thursday 9 AM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM.