Who invented the telephone? Or the snowmobile? Or even basketball? Canadians! Meet five Canadians whose inventions changed the world.
In 1929 Joseph-Armand Bombardier married Yvonne Lebrecque. Five years later, on a cold winter night, he received a frantic phone call at the garage, where he was working late. Their second son, Yvon, was very ill with appendicitis. The doctor told them they must get the boy to the hospital in Sherbrooke, but the heavy snow made the 55-kilometre route impassable. His parents watched helplessly as the little boy died.
This terrible tragedy moved Bombardier to work even harder on his design. A snowmobile would be more than just a means of travel. It could help save lives. Then he had a breakthrough. He came up with the idea of a sprocket wheel and track system. He built a machine he called the B-7, which he called the “original work horse.” It could carry seven people and was equipped with a heater.
The B-12 model that followed was an immediate success and orders began to pour in. During WWII, Bombardier invented a wide-track armoured troop carrier for the Canadian military that could carry soldiers and equipment across snow. After the war, his wide-track Muskeg tractor became useful for swampy construction work. His business boomed. The machines and the ones that followed were being used all over the world at oil fields, construction sites and lumber camps.