Whenever someone told me they were going to Harrisburg or Hershey, Pennsylvania I always piped in “make sure you visit Old Sled Works in Duncannon”!
Just a half an hour away from the town known for chocolate and roller coasters, the small town of Duncannon has been the home of Old Sled Works, which was once the Lightning Guider Sled factory – you know, snow sleds? The old ones with wooden slats and steel rails? Really they are works of art that Lightning Guider, made by Standard Novelty Works in Duncannon, began in 1904 and lasted eighty-six years! As sales of snow sleds fell and the rise of imported sleds took over the market in 1990 the factory stopped making sleds and the building was turned into a very large antique market by 1991. It also housed the personal antique collection of owner Jimmy Rosen. Rosen’s family owned the snow sled company since 1968.
But time hasn’t been kind to the factory building, originally built in 1894, and it is in need of significant repairs and many of the employees at the market are ready for retirement. So Mr. Rosen has decided to close the antique market that’s been operating there for over 30 years. Old Sled Works officially closed its doors on December 31st, 2022.
I first visited Old Sled Works in 1997 while I was attending college at Ohio University. Another guy I was in some classes with there, whom I’m still friends with today, let me come back home to stay with his family for a weekend in Pennsylvania. His family lived very close to Old Sled Works and he took me for a visit. On Spring Break a year later we drove through and this time I had my 35mm camera! This place has left a huge lasting impression on me. While I wasn’t as interested in the antique market side (at that time), Mr. Rosen’s personal collection of antiques, penny arcade, electro-mechanical pinball machines, antique cars, vintage signs, and even a soda fountain hit me in the head like a ton of bricks! Being able to save, restore, operate, and just look at and appreciate these old relics of the past has stuck with me ever since. This visit is what started my own obsession with antiques and I walked out of Old Sled Works with my first gumball machine purchased from the market area – and here I am over 25 years later still messing with them, pinball machines, signs, drive-in speakers…
So thank you Jimmy Rosen for what you did with the place and letting regular folks come inside and drop some pennies, nickels, and dimes and being able to play and see amusements that haven’t been seen in decades and even a century! And thank you Jon Halcomb for taking me to see it! Who knew a side trip that spring day in 1997 would have had such a profound effect on me?
Please enjoy some photos that I took at Old Sled Works. Some are from my second visit there in 1998, and others are 19 years later when I took my family there in 2017.
22 Year Old Me during my second visit to Old Sled Works in 1998
Yes... I realized I misspelled "Skee Ball" on my little sign!
This little guy now looks down at me!
"Old Sled Works" in "Duncannon, Pa" in "Perry County" - was the ultimate antique shop and vintage collection display by "Jimmy Rosen". vintage, retro, penny arcade, Pennsylvania, pinball, "peep show", electromechanical, "soda fountain" "game room" gameroom Harrisburg hershey chocolate arcade coins market store "sky Gunner" signs "coke sigs" "coke memorabilia" "coca-cola" fountain "soda jerk" television "antique TV" Bally Gottlieb Williams "skee ball" "skee-ball" "ski ball" "Willow Mill" "Palisades Park" "lightning guider" "snow sled" factory building production "turn of the century" "gumball machine" candy machine" "cigarette machine" stoner Pulver Pepsi "Ford Ranchero" "Duncannon Beverage Co" "Duncannon Beverage Company" Nash "Nash Metro" Jaguar "nash metropolitan" "car collection" "Car Museum" automobile "Kanauga Kool" www.RememberTheDriveIn.com "remember the drive-in" memories farewell goodbye