In the early 1900s, the winters in Port Washington were so cold that the waters of Manhasset Bay would freeze over solid enough for residents to get on the ice. During the 1930s, yacht club members took the opportunity to try ice boating. While ice boats vary in size, most consist of a three-part structure-the hull, the sails and the metal runners underneath the boat that acted like ice skates. The sailors would race their rigged sailboats across the frozen bay on days where the winter winds were strong enough to fill their sails and carry them across the bay.
Port Washington business owner, Ray Marshall, demonstrated the traction wheel and sled motor that he invented in 1929 to use on the frozen Manhasset Bay. Marshall owned A & R Marshall, Inc., a marine supply store. His knowledge of boat motors and parts aided him in fashioning the motorized sled that was able to glide across the frozen bay.