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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
March 4, 1900

Self-Propelling Sleds Haul Lumber in Minnesota.

Special to The New York Times.

DULUTH, Minn., March 3.—A new use for the automobile has arisen in the vast Minnesota forests that supply the country with white pine.  One of the large lumber companies has been experimenting the past two years with a design for a sled that should propel itself and haul a load over the ice and snow roads of the forests, and it has this Winter succeeded in making a sled that goes.  It is a locomotive on runners, and the power of the engine is applied to two drums, one at each end of the sled.  These drums are fitted with sharp teeth, about two inches long, that stud the surface as pins the cylinder of a music box.  These drums revolve and traction is gained by the sticking of the teeth into the ice and packed snow of the roads.

So far this Winter one automobile of this make has hauled 5,000,000 feet of logs for an average distance of five miles, and the average load of the machine is from 40,000 to 60,000 feet of logs.  Two thousand feet of pine logs make more than a ton.  The sleds pulled by the locomotive are coupled together like the cars of a train, and all track perfectly, the runners of the following sleds never getting out of line with those of the power sled.  The haul is over an ice road, a road made through the forests by sprinkling water over the route and permitting it to freeze, when ruts are cut for the runners.  It is expected that this form of sled, when fully perfected, will come into general use in Northern Minnesota forests.

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