Five Inventions You Didn’t Know Were Canadian

Other / Canada

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 BowlingFive-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 ScrewdriverA 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.

34 responses to “Five Inventions You Didn’t Know Were Canadian”

  1. jenifesto says:

    Dear God, why doesn’t St. Catharines have a “Home of the Zipper” sign out by the Ontario Street exit?!

  2. Same with Milton and the Robertson screwdriver. I hate the damned Phillipps screws with a passion. You never strip a Robertson screw, and they’re a lot more forgiving about the size of the screwdriver. Plus, you’re not using a semi-sharpened tool, and it almost never slips out of the screw no matter how much torque you use — that means you’ll never accidentally ruin the finish on something while you’re screwing it together.

    Truly a marvel of engineering, and that damned Henry Ford screwed (ha) everyone by going with the Phillipps.

  3. Dodgey Rog says:

    Great article, I never heard of the Robertson or the Swedish guy in the Zipper clip either. The screws seem to be very good, but would need a big user to get them moving over here in the UK. My son is in Canada at Cold Lake, it’s one of the countries that I truly want see before I “Peg It”.
    Love the blog too. Very different to mine! It’s also very nice to be able to leave a comment without having to register first. I find it takes the edge of commenting if you have to do that first?
    Happy New Year

  4. will says:

    just for the sake of accuracy. I should mention that when Gideon Sundback invented the hookless fastener #2, he was working for a company that was based in Hoboken NJ (and a handful of other US cities during the invention process) for an american. So I don’t think he was fiddling with the hook and eye in ontario until later on when he immigrated to canada; but that was after the fact. I guess he missed the cold of sweden. Britannica online mentions that he was working in the US as well during it’s creation.
    It would be quite a stretch for you guys to take this one.

  5. Etiketer says:

    Thanks! Really interesting. I wish i could spend my time on writing articles…just have no time for it.

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  7. amanda says:

    The Robertson screwdriver is the best screwdriver there is! You rarely ever have to worry about stripping the screw or scraping up the item you’re putting together….can’t say that about any other type of screwdriver. I can’t believe that they are so popular only in Canada!

  8. Here is another Canadian invention – the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone while living in Canada. He manufactured it in Boston because he was working there teaching
    the deaf. One of his most famous students was Helen Keller. He frquently travelled between Brantford in Canada and Boston.

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  11. abbasgirl says:

    I’m really surprised that the Robertson is only used in Canada. I think if other countries were introduced to it they’d switch over pretty quick.

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  16. m says:

    So the Zipper was invented by a Swed and the telephone was invented by a Scotsman. so just because it was invented on canadian soil make it canadian?

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