New Jersey is the birthplace of this iconic brand
Growing up in New Jersey, my brother and I had sleds like just about every other kid in the neighborhood. They weren't these little plastic discs with molded handles on the sides. No, they were works of art made of polished wood and steel, with the name Flexible Flyer right on top in the middle of the sled.
I have no idea where the one I bought for my kids ended up and absolutely no clue where the ones we had as kids are now. In my mind's eye, I can see all of them hanging up in their appropriate places in the garage. However, if I or you wanted to see some in person, you wouldn't have far to go.
Moorestown Public Library in Moorestown Burlington County is home to the Flexible Flyer Museum. It turns out the iconic sled was invented by a local farm equipment manufacturer named Samuel Leeds Allen in 1889.
You may recognize the name Leeds as part of the legend of the Jersey Devil and a common name in South Jersey back in the day. Samuel Leeds Allen is also an ancestor of former state senator and TV news anchor Diane Allen.
Mr. Allen wanted to keep his factory workers employed in winter, so he came up with the winter project of making sleds. At one point, by 1915, Allen was producing 2,000 sleds a day and a half dozen of them even made it to the South Pole in a famous 1928 expedition.
I've been a fan of the Flexible Flyer since I was a kid, like many of us, but never knew their birthplace and museum was right in our backyard.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.