Pittsburgh reporter needs help

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Mar 27 15:42:05 UTC 2001

>  ... I am trying to find the origin of the term "yankee bump." A yankee
> bump is a hump on a sled riding path that will send your sled flying in
> the air or a bump on a hilly country road that sends your car in the air. ...

I asked a number of persons in Jefferson Hills PA (in the same school
district with West Elizabeth, right across the river from Elizabeth) --
including persons who grew up in Elizabeth, West Elizabeth, Belle Vernon,
etc. -- with no luck. Apparently the term is not universally recognized
even by Mon Valley people. However one young person telephoned her
grandfather just up the valley, and he defined this immediately as a bump
encountered in sledding (or possibly while driving, he replied when asked).
He was not able to make any guess on the origin.

Question: Was Yankee Bump Hill named after the Yankee bump, or vice versa?

Speculation: Could the term come from a sled trademark? The Flexible-Flyer
folks apparently owned the trademark "Yankee Clipper" for sleds -- first
registered in 1936, last renewed in 1976, now "dead". This is US Patent
serial # 71376317. Certainly I remember Flexible-Flyer sleds from my youth;
I think I recall the "Yankee Clipper" logo too.

-- Doug Wilson

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