DUNCANNON, Pa. (WHTM)– Along North Market Street in Duncannon is a state historical marker, located by the factory building of the Standard Novelty Works. But the marker is not specifically for the company, but for one of its most famous products: the Lightning Guider Sled.

(A lot of people over the years have mistakenly called them Lightning Gliders, but it’s Guiders, referring to the mechanism at the front that allowed kids to actually steer the sleds.)

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Standard Novelty Works made a lot of other things besides sleds. The company also made children’s wagons, building blocks, porch swings, porch gates, and furniture products. But the sleds were what they were really known for.

Back in 1984, reporter Bill Martin and I got to see the Lightning Guider assembly line in action. We were very lucky to get this video. Standard Novelty usually made winter toys in the summer, and summer toys in the winter. But, they just happened to get a special order for sleds late in the year. We were told at the time we were the only ones to ever shoot video of the assembly line.

Building a wooden sled involves a lot of hand assembly. Because wood expands and contracts, it’s hard to mechanize things like, say, lining up runners and putting in screws. The process hadn’t changed much since the 1930s.

At its height, the factory turned out up to 1800 sleds a day. But in 1988, just four years after we were there, Standard Novelty stopped making the Lightning Guiders, and the plant closed in 1990.

But the building is still in use, as the Old Sled Works Antique and Craft Market. It’s a great place to visit and shop, and they have a display of Lightning Guider sleds that helps keep alive the memory of a place that made a famous toy and created fond memories for many generations.