Frederick & FriendIce Sleds

By Staff
article image
Mike Bandow
The following article was sent to us by Mike Bandow, Bandow's Wood, Wind & Water, Rt 3, Box 3329, Hayward, Wisconsin 54843.

It originally appeared with the picture in the January 1984
issue of-Blair & Ketchum ‘s Country Journal, and is
reprinted here with their permission and that of Anna Thompson, RFD
1, Ashland, NH 03217, who owns the photo.

Oscar York had an inventive turn of mind, and like many young
men around the turn of the century, he liked to tinker with
machines. By the time he was seventeen Oscar had designed and built
a steam engine for an automobile. His pride and joy, however, was
the steam-powered sled shown in this photograph, which he launched
on Lake Winnipesaukee near his home in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire,
early in 1909.

Steam generated in the boiler at the rear of the sled was piped
forward to the piston assembly just behind the steersman. The
reciprocating motion of the piston was transformed into rotary
power at the bicycle sprocket just behind and below the piston
assembly. As the sprocket turned, its motion was transferred via
bicycle chain to the toothed wheel amidships. The wheel’s teeth
dug into the ice and provided motive power, which, according to
Anna Thompson of Ashland, New Hampshire, who sent us the
photograph, could propel the craft along the ice at speeds up to 15
miles an hour. The helmsman’s name is not known, but the
engineer at the boiler controls is Oscar’s good friend Fred
Brewster. Our thanks to Anna Thompson for this example of rural

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