Daily Almanac for Saturday, August 13, 2022

On this date in 1889, Samuel Leeds Allen granted patent for Flexible Flyer sled. Here is Samuel Leeds Allen in 1800’s. Photo By Unknown author – Family archives, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org
Flexible Flyer sled, from 1936, within the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org


Samuel Leeds Allen (May 5, 1841 – March 28, 1918) was the founder of S.L. Allen & Company in Philadelphia. He was the inventor of, and his company manufactured, both the Flexible Flyer sled and Planet Jr farm and garden equipment. For over one hundred years these products were the best selling and most famous market gardening tools and American sleds. During his lifetime and for the first half of the 20th century S.L. Allen was far more renowned for his company’s seed drills and cultivating equipment than the sleds.


Flexible Flyers are flexible both in design and usage. Riders may sit upright on the sled or lie on their stomachs, allowing the possibility to descend a snowy slope feet-first or head-first. To steer the sled, riders may either push on the wooden cross piece with their hands or feet, or pull on the rope attached to the wooden cross-piece. Shifting the cross-piece one way or the other causes the flexible rails to bend, turning the sled.


Samuel Leeds Allen patented the Flexible Flyer in 1889 in Cinnaminson, New Jersey using local children and adults to test prototypes. Allen’s company flourished by selling these speedy and yet controllable sleds at a time when others were still producing toboggans and “gooseneck” sleds.

Allen began producing sleds in his farm equipment factory to keep his workers busy even when it was not the farm season. He developed many prototypes before he created the Flexible Flyer. The sleds did not sell well until he began marketing them to the toy departments of department stores. In 1915, around 120,000 Flexible Fliers were sold, and almost 2,000 Flexible Flyers were sold in one day.

In 1968, Leisure Group of Los Angeles, California bought the S. L. Allen Company. Leisure Group continued to produce Flexible Flyers in Medina, Ohio. In 1973, a group of private investors bought Leisure Group’s toy division and started manufacturing the sleds under the name “Blazon Flexible Flyer” in West Point, Mississippi. In 1993, Roadmaster purchased the rights to production and moved production to Olney, Illinois, and in 1998, production was moved to China. As of 2012, Flexible Flyers are mostly made in China and some are made in South Paris, Maine by Paricon, Inc.


Question of the Day

I have a stain of unknown origin on my concrete garage floor. What should I use to remove it?

Combine 1 cup laundry detergent, 1 cup household bleach, and 1 gallon cold water. Scrub the solution into the stain and rinse.

Advice of the Day

He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.

Home Hint of the Day

Cedar shakes are shinglelike coverings that are very rough and irregular in shape. If you use them to roof your house, nail them up as close together as possible. Their irregularity will leave space for expansion and contraction.

Word of the Day

Mean temperature

The average of the maximum and the minimum temperatures for a particular period; the mean equals the sum of the max and min divided by two.

Puzzle of the Day

The Diamond State.(Name the U.S. state!)



  • William Caxton (printer) – 1422
  • Lucy Stone (women’s rights activist) – 1818
  • Goldwin Smith (historian & journalist) – 1823
  • Annie Oakley (sharpshooter) – 1860
  • Alfred Hitchcock (filmmaker) – 1899
  • Sir Basil Spence (architect) – 1907
  • Fidel Castro (politician) – 1926
  • Don Ho (musician) – 1930
  • John Slattery (actor) – 1962
  • Debi Mazar (actress) – 1964


  • Eugene Delacroix (painter) – 1863
  • Florence Nightingale (pioneer of modern nursing) – 1910
  • Herbert George [H. G.”] Wells” (English writer) – 1946
  • Mickey Mantle (baseball player) – 1995
  • Julia Child (chef and author) – 2004
  • Sandy Allen (world’s tallest woman, 7 foot, 7 inches tall) – 2008
  • Les Paul (guitar pioneer) – 2009
  • Johnny Pesky (baseball player) – 2012


  • Canada first used to indicate region– 1535
  • Oregon Institute (later named Willamette University) opened in Salem, Oregon– 1844
  • Andrew Campbell discovered the Luray Caverns in Virginia, when cold air from a sinkhole on a large hill extinguished his candle– 1878
  • Last spike driven for first stage of Esquimalt-Nanaimo Railway in Cliffside, B.C.– 1886
  • Samuel Leeds Allen granted patent for Flexible Flyer sled– 1889
  • L’il Abner comic strip debuted– 1934
  • The Walt Disney classic, Bambi, opened this day at Radio City Music Hall in New York City– 1942
  • Canso Causeway, linking Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, opened– 1955
  • A plane flew into a hurricane for the first series of bumpy flights for the National Hurricane Research Project, then part of the U.S. Weather Bureau– 1956
  • The East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed wire fencing to discourage further population movement to the west. Later in the week a concrete wall was erected to strengthen the barrier between official crossing points– 1961
  • 3-year-old Jamie Gavin became the youngest heart/lung transplant patient– 1985
  • American swimmer Michael Phelps won his 10th and 11th Olympic gold medals making him the most decorated Olympian in history– 2008


  • Blue sun observed widely in the South, thought to presage Nat Turner slave uprising: phenomenon continued for several days– 1831
  • Hurricane Connie hit the North Carolina coast with winds up to 87 miles per hour– 1955
  • Four people were injured when lightning hit and shattered a utility pole in Belmont, New Hampshire– 2003
  • Nine people were injured after a lightning strike at a day camp in Pelham, New Hampshire– 2003
  • A small tornado hit Meredith, New Hampshire– 2004
  • Hurricane Charley struck Florida– 2004

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