I had some free time this afternoon and was feeling just a tad patriotic, so I decided to hop on wikipedia and discover some of the groovier things invented by our fellow Canadians. What follows are five of the more surprising things I had come across, complete with wikiquotes and links to the original articles. How many did you know were Canadian?
1. Five-Pin Bowling – Five-pin bowling is a bowling variant which is only played in Canada, where many bowling alleys offer it, either alone or in combination with ten-pin bowling. It was devised in the early twentieth century to offer bowlers the chance to play a game during a half-hour lunch break. This goal was achieved by using smaller balls which travel faster than ten-pin balls and which can be thrown in rapid succession. Five-pin bowling was invented in 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto, Ontario.
2. Bloody Caesar – …was invented by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl’s Nest Bar in the Westin Hotel in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1969, to accompany the opening of a new restaurant, “Marco’s”. In its original form, it contained tomato juice and mashed clams; Clamato had only just been released (with the assistance of Chell) by the American Mott’s company that very year, and was not yet widely known or available.
3. The Zipper – was invented in St. Catharines, Ontario by Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-born immigrant to Canada who was in 1913 the top designer at Universal Fastener Company. He made his first “Hookless fastener” in 1913, and designed the complex machinery needed to manufacture it. The patent was issued in 1917 as a “separable fastener.” The B. F. Goodrich Company coined the name Zipper in 1923 for the line of rubber overshoes that it made using the fastener. The name slowly came to be associated with the fastener itself, and eventually acquired generic status.
4. Robertson Screwdriver – A Robertson screwdriver is a type of screwdriver with a square-shaped tip…The drivers are famous for holding onto screws (you can start driving a screw horizontally into the wall, and leave the screwdriver in the screw while you have lunch)…Today Robertson screws are almost unknown in the United Kingdom, scarce in the United States, where they are used mainly in theatrical set construction and account for 10% of screws sold, while being very common in Canada where 85% of the screws sold use the Robertson head.
5. The Electric Stove – Thomas Ahearn invented the electric cooking range in 1892 and installed one in the Windsor Hotel in Montreal. The electric stove was showcased at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where an electrified model kitchen was shown. But like the gas stove, the electrical stove had a slow start, partly due to the unstable technology, and partly because first cities and town needed to be electrified. By the 1930s, the technology had matured and the electrical stove started to slowly replace the gas stove, especially in domestic kitchens.