Antique Snowmobile Museum Articles of Interest

Below you will find many articles of interest about our museum, awards, friends, news, and sleds. Click on the More Info to view full story.

1912 Snowmobile 1912 Snowmobile
Diane Shoens sent the museum this picture of her grandfather, Jefferson Bigelow, seated in the back of this snowmobile. The other person is his brother, Clarence Bigelow. It was built in 1912. Jefferson had a farm in Millington, MI and worked at the Buick plant in Flint. He was involved in the Sit Down Strike, so during his time off, he decided to build a snowmobile. He was one of those men who are always making something to make life easier.

1959 Boggona Letter 1959 Boggona Letter
March 2, 2011 Dear Paul Crane,Thank you for your interest in my work developing snowmobiles. I was born in Denmark in 1916. I was born naturally mechanically inclined. Trained in mechanics and welding, I was successful in metal fabrication, including smelting, forging, metal casting and steel fabrication and machining.I immigrated to Canada with my wife, Herdis, and our first child, Linda, in 1951. I opened General Machine and Welding with Carl Richter in 1953. At General Machine and Welding we did custom metal fabrication and machining, for example, custom built body parts for Versatile Tractor and architectural metal fabrication. Our work can be found in many buildings in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. As well, we made custom machinery and tools. I always say nothing is impossible. Impossible only takes a little longer.In 1956 we began developing a prototype for our snow machines. If Mike Bosak could build a snowmobile, I certainly could, and do it better. There definitely was a market here in Manitoba for fishing, trapping and for access to the northern environment to aid in northern development. My idea was to make something that was faster than snowshoes. My prototype is now owned and restored by Valdi Stephanson in Minnesota.Our first machines went on the market 1959. We manufactured 2 models, “The Super” and “The Pony”, both under the name Boggona. Each machine was handmade, and because we were continually improving and developing them, no two machines are alike.Mr. Crane, your machine has a handmade suspension mechanism. I only made 2 machines with the handmade suspension, the first two machines we made. After that we had them cast. This means your machine is one of the first two we made. We also made a machine with a reverse gear and a bigger engine. It is marked C-2-M. The M stands for Master. We made only one, and I don’t know where it is. Between 1959 and 1964, 5 prototypes were made and 50 machines were mass-produced. It became difficult to compete with other manufacturers like Polaris and Bombardier Ski-doo, who had larger, faster production, which allowed them to sell at lower prices. We decided to focus on other successful aspects of our manufacturing, such as the architectural fabrication and custom metal and machine fabrication.

1968 Winnipeg to St. Paul Race 1968 Winnipeg to St. Paul Race
The International 500 from Winnipeg to St. Paul was Possibly the most grueling race in snowmobiling. It began in 1966 and grew vastly each year. Hats off to all that had the privilege to take part in that illustrious race. Today's Snap is of the Winner, and some of the top finishers, of the 1968 Race. L-R: Roger Hible (3rd place) Tubby Lund (10th place) Dale Cormican (1st place) Paul Eggebraaten (4th place) Dale went on to win again for a second year in a row in 1969.

1969 Thunderbolt Story as told by Henry Leseman 1969 Thunderbolt Story as told by Henry Leseman
I started Leseman Machine & Manufacturing Co. in 1961 in Ada, MN. I started a machine shop and within a few months I started a manufacturing operation by bidding on fabrication of various products for other manufacturing companies. This led into the snowmobile industry very shortly. I made snowmobile components for several years, as well as modification of snowmobile engines for racing. I modified several thousand engines for Arctic Enterprises as well as retail to the public all across the USA and Canada. I sponsored a race team and attended snowmobile races every weekend for 4 or 5 years.
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1973 Boss Cat III 1973 Boss Cat III

Top of the Lake Antique Snowmobile Museum
P.O. Box 2
W11660 US-2
Naubinway, MI 49762
Call 906 477-6298 for museum hours or call 906 477-6192 for an appointment.

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