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19 Things You Might Not Know Were Invented in Canada . . . .
The good people of Canada are responsible for many inventions you use every day. Especially if you’re someone who plays Trivial Pursuit in a Wonderbra while eating peanut butter smeared on McIntosh apples.
1. PEANUT BUTTER
Montreal pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson envisioned his nutty ointment-like product, patented in 1884, as a food option for people who couldn’t chew. Or for, you know, everyone.
2. THE WONDERBRA
Leave it to our great neighbors to the north to invent one of the most popular push-up bras ever. Montreal’s Canadian Lady Corset Company first licensed the trademark “Wonder-bra” in 1939, and then renamed the company Wonderbra in 1961.
3. TRIVIAL PURSUIT
Here’s one for the orange category: What board game was invented in 1979 by Scott Abbott, a Montreal sports editor, and Chris Haney, a photo editor, when they couldn’t find all their Scrabble tiles? [And yes, that’s Rudy Giuliani and the Pets.com sock puppet in the photo.]
4. THE ODOMETER
Road trips were never the same after 1854, when Nova Scotia inventor Samuel McKeen created a device that measured distance with every revolution of a carriage wheel. Though to be fair, everyone from Vitruvius to Ben Franklin was also working on this one.
5. THE ROTARY SNOWPLOW
A Toronto dentist named Dr. J.W. Elliot first conceived the idea of a snowplow to clean up train tracks. The snowmobile and snowblower were also born in Canada. But the Zamboni ice resurfacer? California, man.
6. THE EGG CARTON
Newspaper editor Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia, found an egg-cellent new use for paper in 1911.
Filmmakers Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroiter, and Robert Kerr and engineer Robert C. Shaw founded IMAX in 1967. Kroiter produced the first IMAX film in 1970. Star Wars creator George Lucas later credited him with originating the idea of “The Force.”
8. MCINTOSH APPLES
McIntosh apples didn’t just grow on trees back in the day. In 1811, farmer John McIntosh began grafting a wild apple tree at his South Dundas farm. People began enjoying the fruits of his labor in 1835.
9. THE WALKIE-TALKIE
Don Hings invented what he called the “packset” in 1937. When Canada declared war on Germany two years later, he went to Ottawa to redevelop the device for military use. Over and out.
Toronto scientists Frederick Banting, Charles Best (pictured), and James Collip didn’t actually invent insulin in 1922 — it’s a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas. Instead, they discovered it and learned how it could treat diabetes.
11. INSTANT REPLAY
CBC Television producer George Retzlaff used a kinescope when he created the first-ever Instant Replay in 1955. Not surprisingly, it was during a broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.
12. THE FOGHORN
Robert Foulis invented a steam-powered foghorn in 1854, but died penniless because he didn’t patent it. Argh!
13. GREEN CURRENCY INK
Got a dollar? In 1862, Thomas Sterry Hunt invented the ink that makes U.S. bills green.
14. THE BAGGAGE TAG
John Michael Lyons of New Brunswick changed travel when he invented the first baggage tag in 1882. The revolutionary document contained information about the bag’s point of departure, destination, and owner.
15. THE PAINT ROLLER
The paint roller has a messy history. Canadian Norman Breakey invented it in 1940, but an American inventor named Richards C. Adams tweaked the design and filed the first patent.
16. STANDARD TIME
Engineer Sandford Fleming brought standard time to U.S. and Canadian railways in 1883. Time zones became U.S. law in 1918 and were accepted worldwide by 1929. It was about time.
17. THE WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE BUS
Walter Harris Callow, a blind, quadriplegic veteran, invented the first wheelchair-accessible bus in 1947. He took his first and only ride after death, when his body was transported for his funeral.
18. THE ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR
In 1952, engineer George Klein made the world more accessible with a motorized wheelchair
19. GARBAGE BAGS
With stretchy, waterproof polyethylene at their disposal, Harry Wasylyk of Manitoba and Larry Hansen of Ontario invented the first plastic garbage bag for commercial use in 1950. Union Carbide Company bought the idea and brought Glad trash bags into homes.