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“World’s First” Snowmobile
With winter on the way, our Contributing Editor Dee Goerge got the idea of tracking down the world’s first snowmobile. Although there is some debate on the matter, there’s little doubt that the Eliason Motor Toboggan, invented in 1924 by Carl Eliason in Wisconsin, was one of the first snow-going machines built to carry one or two people on trails.
  “When people look at that first machine they are floored by the fact that it’s so similar to what they ride today. It was liquid-cooled and the length of the machine is almost identical to modern machines,” says Jona Eliason, granddaughter of Carl Eliason.
  The original machine is on display at Eliason Lumber & Hardware Company in Sayner, Wis. It had a conveyor belt webbed track driven by bicycle sprockets and chains. It was powered by a 2.5 hp. Johnson outboard motor and could travel at speeds up to 25 mph.    
  In 1940 Eliason assigned his patents to the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company in Clintonville, Wis., in exchange for a 2 percent royalty on machines sold. The company later sold rights to the machine to a Canadian company and one of the first Polaris machines was modeled after it.
  Motor Toboggans can be found all over the world and are so popular with collectors that they’re often on display at antique snowmobile shows.     
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eliason Lumber and Hardware, 2954 State Hwy. 155, Sayner, Wis. 54560 (ph 715 542-3233; www.Eiliason-snowmobile.com).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6