Nordic Journal

Top three old Christmas sleigh patents

Like all Christmas lovers, we at Nordic Patent Institute are tremendously excited that it is almost Christmas, and there is nothing we like better than a white Christmas!

Therefore we have taken a closer look into following the cumulative incremental improvements of Saint Nicolas’ (perhaps now better known as “Santa Claus”) means of transport.

With some research into the earliest sleigh-related patents, we have found top three old Christmas sleigh patents that really follow the evolution to the classic fairytale-like Christmas sleigh Santa Claus might pull his reindeers with.

1. The rigid sledge

US Patent No. 1,334


The earliest patent for a sleigh in the United States we could find is represented in U.S. Patent 1,334, which was issued to Daniel Carpenter Nelson, New York on 20 September 1839. As you can see, it really is more of a sled, but it gives us a good idea of what sleighs looked like in the early 1800s: tremendously rigid! Imagine how many realistic experiences you could have of almost falling off the sleigh while sledging at full blast down a steep slope!

2. A magical experience

US Patent No. 12,850


The next patent takes us 16 years into the future, as David S. Barber, Almon Thompson and De Algeroy were awarded U.S. Patent 12,850 for their improvement to sleighs on 15 May 1855. Looking closer at the illustration of the invention we can see that their innovation concerns retractable wheels! Can you imagine how magical it must have been to sledge through the white snow and read Hans Christian Andersen’s famous the Snow Queen while enjoying a nice and warm cocoa with marshmallows!

3. Santa Claus’ sledge

US Patent No. 245,597


The final patent we found is by John Zbornik of Old Mission, Iowa, whose innovation was to incorporate lead springs between the runners and the coach of the sleigh to work as true shock absorbers. It is represented in U.S. Patent 245,597 from 9 August 1881, and it takes us very close to the classic fairytale-like Christmas sleigh Santa Claus might use with his reindeers!

We wish you happy holidays from all of us here at Nordic Patent Institute, and we sincerely hope that you will be lucky enough to enjoy a white Christmas!

If you’d like to know more about our global prior art search services, please check out the links on our webpage.

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