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Old 02-02-2005, 09:45 AM   #1
Rattlesnake Gal
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Arrow Model T Snowmobile Article & Event

Here is an interesting article from that excellent newspaper, the Weirs Times and something fun to take in this coming Saturday.
Thanks Roger! Very enjoyable.

Model-T Snowmobiles Coming Home to Birthplace

by Roger Amsden
News Correspondent West Ossipee –


Some of the finest remaining examples of the first-ever snowmobiles will be on display in West Ossipee at the homecoming rally on Saturday, Feb. 5 sponsored by the Model T Snowmobile Club of America. As many as 40 of the Model Ts, sporting double rows of rear tires affixed with belt-like chains and skis up front for steering, will be at the event, which will be held at the intersection of Rte. 25 and Rte. 16, just a few hundred feet from the site of a factory which during the 1920s turned out some 25,000 conversion kits which transformed Model Ts into snowmobiles.
Mike Hashem of the Ossipee Historical Society said that snowmobiles will start arriving Friday afternoon and that the all-day event will be headquartered at the Whittier House Restaurant.
Rides will be offered to the public throughout the day.
The vehicles may be a lot bigger and slower than today's snowmobiles but the principles which underlie their operation are the same, a moving belt for traction and skis for maneuvering the front end of the machine through the snow. Of course the four-cylinder, 20 horsepower engines are no match modern versions, moving, at the very best, at a top speed of 15 miles per our.
But they still get the job done and performed many useful functions in the 1920’s when plowed roads as we know them were virtually non-existent and conventional wheeled vehicles were often sidelined until warm weather returned.

The conversion kids, which were used to adapt the Model T’s were the invention of Virgil D. White, who owned a Ford garage in West Ossipee, which is now the home of Johnson’s Oil.

White, who had an eighth grade education and whose first job was a logger, started working on his snowmobile around 1910. In addition to selling and servicing Model T’s during the summer and into the fall, he also drove tourists around the area.
White and his mechanic, looking for a vehicle that could be used year-round, decided to put wooden runners on the front of a Ford Model T and tractor treads on a double set of wheels at the rear.
In 1913 White patented his “Snowmobile”, and started selling complete units for $750 and the conversion kits for $400. The wooden runners were five feet long and eight inches wide while the caterpillar-like tracks were eight inches wide.
Sales started slowly and the kits weren’t in big demand initially, with only 75 sold on 1923. But once people actually saw them in action, sales jumped and in the years that followed, as many as 2,500 kids were sold each year, with demand dropping off late in the decade as the use of snow plows became virtually universal across the snow belt.
White may have coined the work snowmobile and been smart enough to get the name legally protected, but he wasn’t the first person to build a machine capable of traveling through the snow.
That was actually the Lombard log hauler, designed and built in Waterville, Maine., in 1908. It was a large cumbersome machine that resembled a steam locomotive, only it had a half-track design and front skis with the driver sitting in a sear forward of the steam engine and just above the skis.
One of the 19-ton machines can be seen at the White Mountain Central Railroad in Lincoln, next to Clarks Trading Post. It is owned by David A. Clark, who bought it in the late 1970’s and gradually restored it over a 20-year period at the railroad station’s workshop.
The Model T Ford snowmobiles were very useful for doctors making house calls and for rural postmen delivering mail.
At a Model T snowmobile rally held at Benton’s Sugar Shack in Thornton four years ago one of the more unusual models on display was a 1922 Model T whose back and top were enclosed with wood. It is owned by Lenny Smith Sr. Of Townsend, Mass., and was once used to deliver mail in Sault Center, Minnesota.
Smith said that he purchased the snowmobile from Edmund Heine if Gilford several years ago. He said that Heine had bought the vehicle at an estate auction in New Jersey in the 1980s for only a dollar with the goal of restoring it.
Smith, who helped found the Model-T Snowmobile Club of America eleven years ago, said that interest in the old machines is growing rapidly. “We started out with one snowmobile at our first show and had 38 people show up. Now we have hundreds of people show up and have 124 members,” said Smth.
Townsend will be the site of an antique Model T snowmobile exhibit on Sunday, Feb. 13.
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:48 PM   #2
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Thumbs up

We learn something new here every day. Thanks to you and others great research and posts about our wonderful Lake at the surrounding area. Keep up the great work!

Even on these old "Snowmobiles" watch out on the lake.

This one is an Astounding!
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Old 02-02-2005, 06:55 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Another cool find

Thx again RG, I'd never seen one of these before. An nice example of ole Yankee ingenuity. It's stirred the creative juices and now I'm wondering what it would take to make a human powered "sno-mobile" and how we could get a new class for the Alton Winterfest races OK, OK first we have to get Winni.com to dominate the bed races and then come the HP sno-mobiles. Then we can ... ooops I dropped my Prozac on the floor ... be right bac....
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Old 02-03-2005, 10:35 AM   #4
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RG,you are the best!Like M&M said,my brain is thinking about how to convert my Yamaha XL 1200 waverunner into a snowmachine.Do you think I could use the snow as a propellant instead of water?And if I hit open water would it be considered skimming and be subject to a fine?Oh boy,sometimes I tkink I have too much time on my hands! SS
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:11 AM   #5
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Default From Last Week's Carroll County Independent

Link to Carroll County Independent Ossipee, NH
MIKE HASHEM, an antiques dealer in Ossipee and owner of his own Model T Ford Snowmobile, helped organize the Model T Ford Snowmobile Club’s home coming rally to be held in West Ossipee this weekend. Hashem’s Snowmobile, which still bears markings of its former uses for the U.S. Postal Service and Sanford Garage, will be one of those on display at the rally. Pictured above it has treds attached to the rear wheels, but awaits replacement of the front tires with Snowmobile skis.
SNOWMOBILES RETURN HOME
By Terry Leavitt
The Snowmobiles will be returning home to West Ossipee this weekend.
Owners of Model T Fords, converted for travel over snow with Snowmobile kits, will be gathering in West Ossipee Saturday, Feb. 5, for the Virgil D. White Snowmobile Home Coming Rally.
White invented his Snowmobile Conversion kit for Model T Fords, opening a factory in West Ossipee in 1923, and running it until 1929. In addition to selling kits to convert a Model T, the company also converted new Model T trucks, roadsters, coupes, and buses into Snowmobiles and sold completed units.
Sponsored by the Model T Ford Snowmobile Club, the home coming rally will take place near the site of the original Snowmobile Company Factory, which was located across the street from Whittier House Restaurant.
The Model T Ford Snowmobile Club has about 200 members, and organizer Mike Hashem said he hopes that between 25 and 50 machines will be in town over the weekend. The vehicles are expected to range from the fully restored and modified to completely unrestored.
Hashem, who owns an antique store in Ossipee, came up with the idea for the rally after moving here from Dover and opening an antique store. Hashem specializes in musical instruments and vintage motorcycles. But being in Ossipee, he said he bought an antique Model T Snowmobile to add some local color to his shop.
He knew he had to find out more about the vehicle that was invented and manufactured in Ossipee and sold through the Ford Company. “As soon as I came to town and started thinking about Virgil White and the snow machine it was a no-brainer,” he said. Still, he said, “I owned my vehicle for more than a year before I realized the factory was sort of still there.”
The Yield House Factory sits on the site of the Snowmobile Factory, but it is unclear how much of the original building remains because a fire severely damaged the plant in 1929.
Model T Ford Snowmobile Club holds annual meets in Lancaster and Townshend, Mass., but this would be the first time such a rally has been held in Ossipee.
Hashem said Whittier House will be the host area for the rally. There, visitors will be able to look at club memorabilia and historic photographs. The club will also use an open area behind the Yield House building for running the snowmobiles, and giving rides to other aficionados.
“If there’s snow, they’ll be out there. They’d like to play with them,” Hashem said.
Nearby, the Lion’s Club will be serving hot dogs, coffee, and other refreshments throughout the event.
Saturday night, there will be a banquet for the club at Whittier House. Richard White, son of Virgil White, will be the guest speaker at the event.
Hashem will be bringing his own Snowmobile to the rally, and he expects many Carroll County residents will be doing the same.
“Usually these type of vehicles reside in the back of a guy’s barn,” he said. He said he has spoken to several people in the area that have Snowmobiles.
Although he is doing some work on his car and expects it to be ready to run at the rally, Hashem said he does not intend to restore his vehicle to a pristine state. The history is easier to see with less work done.
“Its an unrestored original. The car, if you look at it, is exactly how Virgil made them to sell,” Hashem said of his Snowmobile. It is the only Model T he owns.
Most Snowmobile owners are more like Howard “Buzz” Baker, of Wolfeboro, who said he bought his first Model T for $25 when he was 12, and plans to bring his own Snowmobile to the rally.
His Snowmobile is one of several Model T Fords he owns today. When asked his favorite, he said, it was like being asked to choose a favorite child.
“You like it for what it is. These things just worked all the time. They don’t go fast — 18 miles per hour. And you have to plan ahead quite a ways [when you are driving one]. It’s not a quick steering thing,” he said.
Hashem said the Snowmobile Company was “the biggest thing that ever hit Ossipee. Supposedly he made 3,500 kits a year. Locals say he produced 25,000 units,” Hashem said. “These were exported all around the country and around the world.”
White was not the only person to be tinkering with a mechanized way to travel over snow. Alvin Lombard, of Waterville, Maine, is credited with building the first snow machine at the turn of the century. Several other companies produced automobile conversion kits in the 1920s and J. Armand Bombardier in Canada and Carl Eliason in Wisconsin were working on the single track vehicles that became the modern recreational snowmobiles in the same decade. But White did hold several patents on his design, and he trademarked the name Snowmobile.
The Model T, manufactured from 1908 to 1928, was one of the most versatile of the early automobiles, with a reputation for dependability and durability. The addition of Snowmobile attachments made it a four-season vehicle in an era when roads were not plowed in winter. Another set of Snowmobile Company attachments turned the Model T into a “Sandmobile” for travel in the desert, making it perhaps one of the first All-Terrain Vehicles.
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:19 AM   #6
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Default You Guys Are A Riot!

My pleasure! Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought these machines were interesting.

Mee-n-Mac, you have very unique ideas! We'll just have to find the right venue for them. Sounds like a blast.

Along the lines of human powered items, on the 12th there will be a Human Sled Dog Race in Laconia

Siksukr, I brought up the same idea a while back with my family, a Sea Doo/Snowmobile combination.
They just rolled their eyes at me! Glad to know I’m not the only nut out there! They just don't appreciate my creativity.
Their own ideas are just fine though. You’ve seen the boat they built out of scrap plywood and duct tape!
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:17 AM   #7
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Default Model T Snowmobiles Return to Ossipee

Must be an annual event!


Link to Union Leader Article

http://www.unionleader.com/article.a...0-9041bdf2358e

I'd provide the link to the article in the Carroll County Independent (a subsidiary of the Granite State News) except they want $34 for an on-line subscription. Ridiculous
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Old 02-07-2006, 02:58 PM   #8
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Default Front wheel drive?

Lets see them try this with those new fangled front wheel drive cars!

It's amazing what those old model T's could be used for.
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Old 02-07-2006, 10:56 PM   #9
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Talking Enquiring minds want to know ...

aaah ... but do they skim well ?
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:09 AM   #10
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Default Do they skim well?

I skims like a rock, a small rock!. I don't think they have the speed to skim. But hey, give it a try it will give the divers some thing to look for on the bottom.
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Old 02-09-2006, 09:27 AM   #11
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Someone had one these Model T snowmobiles out on the ice at the Rotary Fishing Derby last February. It had been fully restored and looked new. The owner said he had purchased the machine the previous year and that he had spent many, many hours restoring it. He said he had purchased it from someone in Gilford, so we asked him if it could possibly be the same Model T snowmobile that is shown in an old framed photo on the wall at Ames Farm Inn. He said he wasn't sure, but that he thought it could be that same machine.
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:32 PM   #12
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Default Model T snow machines

When I was a kid growing up in Rye, NH, my best friends father had one of these in his barn. I think he sold it for $400! He also had a Model AA dump truck, and a 1929 Model A pick up which I learned to drive on.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:50 PM   #13
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Talking YouTube Model T Snowmobiles in Meredith

These videos are wonderful!





Beware! YouTube can be addictive!
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:56 AM   #14
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Default Alaska - NH connection snowmobiles

I just returned late last night from a trip to see my sister and family in Fairbanks, AK.

While in Fairbanks we visited the "Fountainhead Auto Museum' (an all together amazing place for old car buffs). They had a display that included a NH connection and relates to this thread.

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This link is to some video of the snowmobile from this years "Tired Iron" event in Fairbanks.



For you car buffs, here is a link to the museum. Be sure to click on the "see our blogs" links, if you click back to some of the older blogs there are lots of pictures of other historical snow machines.

http://www.fountainheadhotels.com/au...collection.htm
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