Paricon has had a long and colorful history in the sled-making business, starting in 1861 with the founding of a family business, Paris Manufacturing, in South Paris Maine, by the great grandfather of current CEO, Hank Morton. From then through today—and into the future—the story unfolds.
It all started, in 1861, when Henry Morton married Lucilla Forbes and the young couple started making sleds in their home. Henry constructed the sleds by hand and his wife decorated them. Their son, Will, an accomplished artist, distinguished himself as a sled painter, specializing in water scenes and scrolls. Hand-decorated sleds today are much sought after by collectors, but the originals were probably meant to ensure that each sled would be a child’s prized possession.
During the early 1900s, when each sled was made by hand, the company employed close to 300 workers. It continued in operation as a family business, still employing 200 workers, until the family gave up ownership in 1970s and sold to Gladding Corporation. In 1978, Hank Morton, great-grandson of the founder, headed a group of investors that purchased the company back from Gladding.
Today, Hank and his sons, Ted and Tom, are continuing the family tradition in the sled business with Paricon. The sled line has evolved to include a wide assortment of products for winter use—sleds, including steel runner and plastic models at various price points; snowboards; foam sliders; inflatable tubes; wooden toboggans and snow toys. Paricon serves customers throughout the U.S. from its distribution center in South Paris with high quality products and on-time delivery.
Interesting and Historical Facts
- Paris Manufacturing Co. (the forerunner to Paricon) supplied the sledges for both the Admiral Peary Expedition to the North Pole and a follow-up expedition by Donald MacMillan in 1914.
- Ted Cheeseman, owner of Cheeseman’s Ecology Safaris, tells us, “I took these sleds to South Georgia, an Antarctic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, hauled them across the island retracing the route Shackleton followed in his epic self-rescue. It was a marvelous endeavor, and these sleds performed brilliantly.”
- The Institute for Family-owned Business recently awarded Paricon the Maine Gannett Family-owned Business of the Year Award.