W. E. Parry's Sledge Design
Haslar Hospital,
11th February, 1850
I beg leave to transmit to you herewith a Model of a Sledge, which I found to be invaluable, for the conveyance of Provisions over the Ice, in my attempt to reach the North Pole in the year 1827, and which may therefore prove equally useful to Captain Austin, for detached travelling parties in the proposed Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin's Ships.
The Sledge is constructed from four Lapland Snow-Shoes, put together so as to be flexible and light, any stiff and heavy sledge made of one piece, however strong, being very soon broken to pieces. The length of the sledge was about 6 or 7 feet, and its breath in exact proportion to the model now sent. A shorter Sledge does not answer so well, being more easily diverted from the direct course, and therefore occasioning additional labour in drawing. Ash, or Hickory, would be the best material.
Both the Sledge, and the mode of stowing the bags of Pemmican and biscuit powder, are so contrived, as to be placed conveniently in the boat's bottom without any unpacking, and handed out, when the boat has to be lightened, for hauling over ice, or land; and on tolerably smooth snow, each of these Sledges, with the weights marked on the bags (in all, about 360 lbs. besides the Sledge itself,) may be drawn by a couple of Men.
The cloth is "Macintosh," the seams of the bags having been very carefully sewn together, and "paid" with the solution of Caoutchouc sold for that purpose; and with these precautions, never lost a pound of pemmican or biscuit powder, though the Sledges were dragged, day after day, through soft snow, or more frequently through 4 or 5 inches of Snow-water.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant,
W. E. PARRY, Captain R. N.
Captain Hamilton, R.N.
source: (Official Report on ther Franklin Expedition): Arctic Expedition, Ordered By the House of Commons,
to be Printed 13 April 1848
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