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  Jenifer Holcombe Soykan





— “Yule Race”

a collection of sleds from Tom Evans


Tom is a recent sled enthusiast who began collecting, primarily Flexible Flyers®, in 2002.  This is a “family affair” since two of his favorite sleds are gifts from his wife, Nancy, and brother, David.    

Why "Yule Race" for the name of his collection?  "Well", as Tom explains, "people who really know me understand that the joy of the Christmas season goes on and on".  "Yule" does not refer just to a brief winter interlude of twelve days.   Also, if you are around the Evans and their sled collection-- and it snows --"you'll (Yule) race".  Unfortunately, great sledding snows are few and far between in his home area of tidewater and central Virginia.  Nevertheless, he fondly recalls the sledding days of his youth (more than a few years ago) in northern Virginia and Pennsylvania when “snows were deep and winters were cold”.  

Contact Tom Evans


Click on the images for a larger picture



  1.  Fire Fly Coaster, No.10 a.   c. 1890 - 1892    One of the very early sleds by the S. L. Allen & Company of Philadelphia , PA. after Samuel Allen patented the Flexible Flyer® sled in 1889.  The Fire Fly was named after the company’s Planet Jr. Seeder. It has an all wood frame and no bumper. Reintroduced in 1935 with a partial steel frame.  Length: 36”.  Original finish.



1FIRE FLY.jpg (107386 bytes)




   2.  Flexible Flyer® No. 4.   c. 1908 - 1911    This early Flexible Flyer® has wooden side rails that run the length of the sled and join to a wooden front bumper.  The grooved runners attach to the rails at the front in a goose-neck configuration.  Grooved runners were introduced in about 1908 on larger models, possibly leading to the "B" series designation.  Note:  the original finish combines with rich brown patina of the wood.  This sled was originally equipped with a pair of foot rests.  Length:  50"

18FF 4 .jpg (80401 bytes)

  3.   Flexible Flyer® No. 1 c.   c. 1915 - 1920  The all wood frame of the earlier “B” series gave way to a steel front and partial steel side rails. The Flexible Flyer® trademark with an American flag shield, along with an eagle and banner, was replaced in 1921 with one depicting a sled, together with the eagle and banner.  

Length: 38”.  Original finish.  A gift from my wife, Nancy. 


2FF 1 C  1915-20.jpg (96742 bytes)


2FF I C   1915-20 LOGO.jpg (131479 bytes)


  4.  Flexible Flyer® No. 3 c.   c. 1915-1920

 Length: 48”. 

  Original finish on deck and logo.

  (See 2. above)


3FF 3 C 1915-20.jpg (101297 bytes)

3FF 3 C 1915-20 LOGO.jpg (88801 bytes)


  5.  Flexible Flyer® No. 2 c.   c. 1921 - 1928   The Flexible Flyer® trademark with an American flag shield, along with an eagle and banner, was replaced in 1921 with one depicting a sled, together with the eagle and banner. Otherwise, it was like the earlier models in the “C” series that began in c. 1915.

 Length: 42”.  Original finish.

4FF 2 C 1921-28.jpg (91607 bytes)

  6.  Flexible Flyer® No. 3 c.   c. 1921 - 1928           (See 4. above)     

            Length: 48”.  Original finish.


5FF 3 C 1921-28.jpg (84970 bytes)

5FF 3 C 1921-28 LOGO.jpg (155941 bytes)


 7.  Flexible Flyer® Racer, Series D.     c. 1921 - 1926  S. L. Allen introduced his first racer in 1906.  It was “built low and rather narrow, with unusual length of runner extending well forward and to the rear, insuring high speed”. 

  The D Series retained the one piece steel bumper of the earlier Racer C Series, with a steering design essentially unchanged from the first steel fronted sleds.  The steering was enhanced in the later G series with the super steering (see photos of the bumpers of the Series G Racers below.

  Length: 57”.  Original finish.


7FF RACER SERIES D.JPG (50820 bytes)




  8.  Flexible Flyer® Racer, Series G.    c. 1930 - 1935  S. L. Allen introduced his first racer in 1906.  

  (see information above on Flexible Flyer Racers)

  Length: 57”.  Original finish. A gift from my brother, David.

6FF RACER SERIES G.jpg (98555 bytes)

6FF RACER NAME.jpg (500264 bytes)

6FF RACER FRONT.jpg (322511 bytes)



  9.  Flexible Flyer® Junior Racer  Series G.   c. 1930 - 1935                                      (See 7. and 8. above)

        Length: 49”.  Original finish  

7FF JUNIOR RACER SERIES G.jpg (99608 bytes)



7FF JUNIOR RACER FRONT.jpg (137352 bytes)

7FF JUNIOR RACER.jpg (130786 bytes)



  10.  Flexible Flyer®, Airline Patrol, No. 44.   1935  The “Airline” series (1935-49) introduced “Safety Runners”, with the model name displayed on the deck. Beginning in 1936, wings were printed on the steering bar. Others in this series included Ace (37), Pilot (41), Pursuit (47), Junior (51), Chief (55), Racer (60), Cruiser (65), Eagle (151), and Commander (105). 

  Length: 44”.  Original finish.  


8FF AIRLINE PATROL 1935.jpg (102293 bytes)

  11.  Flexible Flyer®, Airline Patrol, No. 44.    c. 1950-1954  In 1950, the “Airline” series displayed the name (e.g., Airline Patrol) on   the underside of the deck.  The no. 44, along with 37, 55, and 65 were “Standard Models” with wider decks and straight sides. No.s 41, 47, 251, and 60 were “Racing Models” featuring narrow, sloping and tapered decks.

        Length: 44”.  Original finish.


9FF AIRLINE PATROL 1950-54.jpg (111462 bytes)
    12.  Flexible Flyer®, Airline Junior, No. 251 H.    c. 1955-1960  The No. 251 H was first introduced in 1950 with a red and black bumper. In 1955 the chrome bumper appeared. The name “Airline Junior” was displayed on the underside of the deck.  The “Airline” series ended before 1962.  After that, sleds were designated only with model number and series, e.g., No. 51 J 

 Length: 51”.  Original finish.  

   This particular sled has the apparent experiment of changing the steering mechanism.  Note the double riveting of the front cross pieces.  In sleds before and after, the side rails, both wood and metal, were riveted together and the piece keeping the top boards floated free from the sides of the sled.    

10FF 251 H.jpg (125185 bytes)


10FF 251 H  (DETAIL).jpg (107511 bytes)


  13.  Flexible Flyer®, Airline Pursuit, No. 47 H.    c. 1955 - 1960  Another sled in the “H” series that followed the name and numbering pattern of the “Airline” series introduced in 1935. Length: 51”.  Refinished for my older granddaughter, Katherine Faith, age 7, as a Christmas present (2004).


11FF 47 H AIRLINE PURSUIT.jpg (101015 bytes)

  14.  Flexible Flyer®, No. 41 J.    c. 1960 - 1968    The “J” series was introduced about 1960 and continued until 1968 when S. L. Allen Company and Flexible Flyer® were sold.  As in the earlier “Airline” and ‘H” series, the sled number (e.g., No. 41) corresponded to its length.  The No. 41 was a “Racing Model”.   Length: 41”.  Refinished for my younger granddaughter, Hannah, age 4, as a Christmas present (2004). 


12FF 41J.jpg (109373 bytes)

  15.  Flexible Flyer®, No. 51 J.    c. 1960 - 1968   No. 51 J is a “Racing Model”.  

   Red or black painted side rail were options.                       Length: 51”

13FF 51 J.jpg (95870 bytes)

  16.  Flexible Flyer®, No. 55 J.    c. 1960 - 1968    The No. 55 J was one of two “Deep Snow Models”, along with the No. 65. These were higher than the “Racing Models”.  Red or black painted side rail were options. Length: 55”.

    In 1968, S. L. Allen Co. and Flexible Flyer® were sold. 1969, “Winter Products Medina, Ohio” appears on underside of the deck.  The pre-1921 trademark is displayed. From 1973 through 1993, the sled is Blazon-Flexible Flyer®, of West Point MS.  In 1998 production was moved to China , and ended the following year.


14FF 55 J.jpg (95820 bytes)

  17.  Flexible Flyer®, “Classic Racer Miniature Sled”.   C. 1998 - 9        Manufactured by the Roadmaster Corporation.  Length: 16”.  

  Christmas (2004) presents for my two grandsons, Marcus and Tommy, both under the age of 2.  It’s never too early to introduce them to sledding!   


15MINIATURE RACERS.jpg (180715 bytes)

  18.  Fleetwing.    c. 1920’s.  This was, perhaps, one of the earliest sleds produced by the Auto-Wheel Coaster Company of North Tonawanda , NY , incorporated in 1921.  Its predecessor was The Buffalo Sled Company, founded in 1904. 

    This sled, with its all-wood side rails, has a designation on the bottom of the deck as “001” or “100”.      Length: 37”.  Original finish. 


16FLEETWING.jpg (123728 bytes)

  19.  Late Victorian Cutter.   c. 1875

  Paint and stenciling are original.  There are no markings or names to indicate the manufacturer. 

  Length: 43”.  Width: 15”

  This sled came from an estate in upstate New York . The person from whom the sled was purchased saw a photo of the sled, with a little girl (an ancestor of the estate owner), being pulled by a Newfoundland dog. 


17CUTTER-1.jpg (108025 bytes)


17CUTTER STENCIL.jpg (101920 bytes)

Page created  Dec  24, 2004

Updated          Jan   28, 2006