Vintage 1940's Splitkein folding Skis

Antique Splitkein folding skis
c. 1940's, 20th century
Wood, Metal (nails), Leather
72"l x 3.25"w x 2.5"h
© Vintage Winter

One of the finest examples of Splitkein folding skis we have ever seen.  A few different companies made folding skis over the years, but Splitkein and Karhu made the best.  Folding skis were conceived much earlier and we have seen examples of hand carved primitive versions over the years.  These were made for the well to do traveler who valued space.  Check out the wooden folding ski poles.  

Splitkein pronounced "Split Cane" was possibly first conceived by a Norwegian named Jørgen (George) Aaland.  He tinkered with building skis in his basement while living and working in Seattle at The General Furniture Company.  Aaland and his brother decided that a laminated ski would be far superior to the solid skis sold in that era.  Aaland approached Ray Anderson (owner of The General Furniture Company) for help creating his new invention.  It is said that Anderson (whose business was at an all time low due to the depression) immediately saw the future of skiing in Aaland's work and partnered up immediately.  Aaland and Thompson submitted and were granted a patent on May 13th 1933 (see photo) which called for upper and lower skins of hickory separated be a double-tapered core of lighter wood, either solid or vertically laminated.  Thompson later in 1934 called upon his longtime friend Ben Anderson to help with the project and decided to produce the skis under the newly formed Anderson and Thompson Ski Company.

Interesting to note that In Norway during the same era Bjorn Ullevoldsaeter had the same idea and THE SAME NAME!  He fashioned a ski from three layers, using a hickory base, a light-full-width core and a hardwood top.  He, with the financing of Peter Ostbye set up a Norwegian company called Splitkein.  They applied for and were granted a Norwegian patent under Ostbye's name on January 18th 1933.  They immediately applied for a U.S. patent which arrived a week after Anderson's.  The patent judge decided while the two were quite similar they were created independently and therefore granted them both.  

Splitkein went on from that starting point to supply Olympic skiers and FIS Champions around the world with the "Skis of the Future" for many years to come.  They tweaked their designs finally realizing a model that did not laminate or warp.  Splitkein was licensed to United States manufactures Groswold and Northland who produced and sold under the Splitkein label.        


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