"Where 'Snowmobile' Began" in the early 1910s

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Jul 20 19:21:19 UTC 2008

The sports section (or rather "Automobiles" page) of today's Sunday
New York Times (p. 11) claims that "snowmobile" arises from a Model T
conversion kit created by Virgil D. White, a Ford dealer in West Ossipee, N.H.

"In the early 1910s, White was searching for a way to make the Model
T a true all-season vehicle. His solution was to add a second set of
rear wheels and caterpillar tracks. White then replaced the front
wheels with wooden runners. He called his creation a Snowmobile, a
term now used to describe sporty snow vehicles."

There is apparently a Snowmobile chapter of the Model T Ford Club of
America (from illustration caption on-line).

OED 2nd ed. (1989) has as its earliest cite 1931.

Article on-line at


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list