What could be more perfect for the season than this fanciful old Paris Sled, hand painted red with a lovely white swan among cattails and bordered with floral friezes top and bottom. From the good old days when a sled was a traditional and treasured Christmas gift, this delightful old piece looks like it just glided out of a Currier and Ives print. And lucky for you this is a Cutter and not a Clipper... Cutters were meant for girls, and so were designed more like elegant little sleighs which stood higher with more pronounced curves like the dandy steam bent runners on this sled. Cutters also had birds, cherubs, and nature scenes rather than the sporting images more often seen on the lower-to-the-ground more streamlined Clippers. I found this lovely sled in Maine, not far from where it was made.
So this little Cutter is the slightly more elegant cousin of Citizen Kane's immortal 'Rosebud,' Perhaps the most iconic clipper sled of all time... Steven Spielberg bought the movie prop sled in 1982 for $55,000, the original prototype from which the prop was made sold to another collector in 1996 for $233,500. So I think you've got a bargain here folks.
The Paris Mfg. Co. was started by Henry and Lecilla Morton in their kitchen in 1861, he made the sleds and she painted them. From these humble beginnings grew the largest and longest lived sled manufacturer in US history. The Paris Company was finally sold in 1970 and bought back by a descendant of Henry and Lucilla Morton's in 1978 who still carry on the tradition of sled making under the new company name, 'Paricon,' and have expanded their line to include other sporting items. But sleds like my 19th C Model No. 63 were produced during the second half of the 19th C and had fallen out of favor by 1910 or so due to the innovation of steering mechanisms by Flexible Flyer. As an addendum, the Flexible Flyer trademark is owned by Paricon today... a true American success story.
CONDITION is lovely as shown, please look at the photos. This sled was used as a toy in its day and shows normal wear to the paint in just the right places... the surface has that wonderful dry paint patina so treasured by collectors today. This sled is lacking the original tow bar which joined the runners in front... no doubt the result of a particularly exciting run, and there is minor partial loss to the bent wood on one runner that looks to be associated with this mishap. The iron on the bottom of the runners is quite worn, and the body has a couple of tiny holes here and there. Nothing really that detracts form the appeal of this marvelous old sled. Measures 33" long overall, 14" wide at the widest point (runner to runner), and 11" tall to the top of the curved runners.
I have seen people use sleds like this as centerpieces on a buffet, and even as serving trays, standing on a base of pine boughs laden with bowls and platters... a really cool and different idea for a rustic table. But I'll let you decide if it might better serve to deliver gifts or even just decorate a warm winter hearth. Own a piece of our collective past. Enjoy!
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Antique Paris Cutter Sled from Maine in Original Red Paint with Swan - Sleigh - Folk Art - Primitives
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