Canadian Invention Makers Who Changed the World

Canada Day 2021: Recognizing Some of the Greatest Canadian Inventors

Oh, Canada! July 1st is Canada Day! Today, we’re honoring Canadian invention makers from far and wide. Indeed, Canada has a rich history of inventions and inventors that changed the world.

Jacques Plante

The Fiberglass Hockey Goalie Mask

It wouldn’t be Canadian of us if we didn’t mention hockey now, would it? Indeed, there’s a problem really worth solving. They say hockey goalies are a different breed – honestly, they’re downright insane to be playing that position. We imagine it can’t be very fun to be pelted over and over by a frozen rubber biscuit, in the face, no less.

Yes, one of the greatest Canadian invention makers is also one of the greatest ice hockey goalies of all time. While he wasn’t the first to wear a mask in a hockey game, Jacques Plante paved the way and popularized fiberglass goalie masks in the NHL.

Constructed at home, mostly out of fiberglass, Plante first used this mask during practice to help prevent injuries. Why fiberglass? Because of its high tensile strength, dimensional stability, and affordability compared to similar materials.

On November 1st, 1959, the iconic Habs goalie debuted his mask against the Rangers. Early in the first period, Plante took a shot to the face, which broke his nose. After being treated for his injury, he donned his fiberglass mask rather than sitting out of the game. Even after his nose healed, Plante continued to wear the mask. And within just a few years, almost every goalie was wearing one as well.

One of the greatest Canadian invention makers, George Klein.

The Electric Wheelchair

The electric wheelchair was invented by George Klein in 1953. In fact, known to many as one of the most famous Canadian invention makers in the world. Following the Second World War, many veterans required additional mobile assistance. Recognizing there could be improvements made to the manualm Klein took on the task of improving the design to further assist quadriplegics.

In his final design, he combined a number of existing technologies, including a joystick to control the chair, tighter turning systems, and separate wheel drives. Astoundingly, the modern electric wheelchair uses many of the same features today. You can find the original prototype at the Canada Science and Technology Museum collection in Ottawa, Ontario.

Newspaper reporting Fessenden's invention.

Wireless Radio Transmission

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was the first person to broadcast on the AM radio band. He’s recognized as one of the greatest Canadian invention makers and his achievements are often compared to other inventors such as Thomas Edison. Indeed, Reginald gave us the first wireless transmission of the human voice in recorded history.

On December 23rd, 1900, at Cobb Island in Washington D.C., he successfully transmitted this sound by electromagnetic waves between two 50-foot towers. Six years later, Fessenden made history again by transmitting the first-ever radio broadcast in the world.

By 1906, Reginald had several years under his belt working on his wireless communication inventions for the National Electric Signaling Company and was able to establish transatlantic communications. To prove that this system was, in fact, reliable, he notified the customers to adjust their receivers to the company’s frequency at 9:00 PM on Christmas Eve. It was literally unheard of.

People from Norfolk, Virginia, were treated to the Christmas music that was being broadcast all the way from Brant Rock, Massachusetts. Wireless communication innovation was built off of this brilliant invention. Thanks Reginald!

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

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