Some possible ancient references to spark (kicksled)

The first definite written description of a spark was in a newspaper article from Piteå in northern Sweden in "Norrbottens-Posten" , March 14th, 1872. The scanned copy of the article is old "Fraktur" script and older Swedish spelling. I have attempted to transcribe it into modern Swedish.


Transcribed into modern Swedish:


Det långvariga tövädret efterträddes av en temmeligen stark frost omkring sistlidne söndag, varigenom vinterföret i elfte timmen räddades. Då elven och fjärdarne är föret i synnerhet utmärkt, och utom en mängd åkande ser man isynnerhet på elven dessa för vår ort egendomliga fordon, som kallas "Sparkstöttingar", ett slags kälkar, som framdrivas derigenom, att en person, som står bakpå medarne, då och då sparkar till med endera foten. Med dylika fattigmanhästar kan man "åka" mycket fort, och framskaffa ett litet lass, som det uppgives ända till en tunna spanmål jemte annat smått.

English translation:

The long period of thaw was followed by quite a heavy frost about last Sunday, whereby winter travel in the eleventh hour was saved. On the river and channels the traveling is especially excellent, and among travelers, especially on the rivers, one sees vehicles, unique for our town, that are called "Sparkstöttingar", a type of sled that is driven forward by a person who stands behind on rails and now and then kicks with either foot. With such a poor-man's horse one can travel very fast, and carry a little load, which can even amount to a barrel of grain plus other small things.

Tile painting from Netherlands 1675-1725

A even older picture of a spark: Link to Tile painting
Quote from the museum in Tynset, Norway: Tynset museum
A visitor who had been in Tynset and seen the sparks in the town square and in the museum sent us a picture from the Netherlands of a ceramic tile with a spark drawing. The tile can be dated to 1675-1725. What we see is quite clearly a man on a spark with a huge barrel.

Back to kicksled/spark article