The sled that steers: Samuel Leeds Allen’s Flexible Flyer

Flexible Flyer The Sled That Steers

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Journeys of Innovation

The sled that steers: Samuel Leeds Allen’s Flexible Flyer

Image courtesy of the Hagley Museum and Library.

In the 1880s, Samuel Leeds Allen reinvented winter with the Flexible Flyer, a sled on red steel runners that riders could steer with their hands and feet. A winter sports enthusiast and self-taught inventor, Allen knew he’d hit​ it big when the kids told him so. The sled became an American classic, with two trademarks protecting its brand down to the present day.​ ​

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Each month, our Journeys of Innovation series tells the stories of inventors or entrepreneurs who have made a positive difference in the world.

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