Samuel Leeds Allen, inventor of the Flexible Flyer sled.
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Black and white, head and shoulders photograph of a balding man, wearing a suit, shirt, and bowtie.

Credit: Esther Duke Archives, Westtown School, Westtown, PA.

Born in Philadelphia, PA, Samuel Leeds Allen (1841 – 1918) attended the Westtown Boarding School in Chester County before moving to New Jersey. There, Allen filed almost 300 patents for a wide range of farming machinery, including a fertilizer drill, seed drill, potato digger, cultivator, furrower, pulverizer, grass edger, and other farm implements. His passion for sledding led him to develop a series of sleds and sled improvements, the most famous and enduring of which is a steerable sled he called the Flexible Flyer.

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