Book Lauds Maritime Inventors
As we walked along the road, Ken suggested that getting to school on a cold morning would be much faster if we could ride our bikes.
After school, Cliff and I followed him as he went to the horse barn, where his bike was stored for the winter months. He was armed with a broken ski, screwdrivers, wrenches and a piece of haywire. The project was simple - just anchor the front wheel of the bike to the ski. It sounded like a really good idea to me.
The design was in the early stage of development, when Gramp arrived unexpectedly. Upon sliding the barn door open, he took one look and announced, “You are about fifty years too late to patent your snow bicycle as a fellow in St. Stephen has already invented the cycle runner.”
As usual, I didn’t have a clue what Gramp was talking about. I couldn’t understand what fifty years had to do with Ken’s idea.
Well the years have slipped by and thanks to Mario Theriault, Fredericton and his publication, “Great Maritime Inventions 1833-1950", I now know about several New Brunswick inventors who had their ideas patented.
On March 20, 1894, J. Roswell Sederquest, of St Stephen registered his patent on the Cycle Runner. The cycle was easy to propel in snow, with a front runner mounted in place of the wheel which actually cleared a track for the back wheel.
Joseph Sutton Clark of St. George came up with the idea in 1900 of a key-opening can and it is still in use today.
Many a housewife silently thanked John E. Turnbull of Saint John for his design in 1843 of the clothes washer with wringer rolls.
In 1871 Andrew James Stewart, Saint John saw a need for a soap which would be more effective in cold water.
Thomas Campbell, Saint John designed in 1880, a combined hot and cold water faucet.
Thomas McAvity Stewart, Saint John worked in 1907 on a vortex system to provide a self cleansing effect in the toilet bowl.
Way back in 1837, Richard McFarlan, Bathurst came up with the idea of a fishway around a mill dam.
In 1839 James Elliott and Alexander McAvity, Saint John patented the “oxygen reservoir for divers”.
Charles C. Barnes, Sackville in 1874 designed the vane pump.
Although many claim to be the inventor of the snow blower, Robert Carr Harris, Dalhousie in 1870 seems to have been the first to conceive the idea of a snow removing machine having a screw feeding the snow to a rotary blower.
In the 1870s, James H. Miller, Fredericton was concerned that ice and snow build-up on railway tracks caused delays so he invented a pair of rail scrapers.
John Mitchell Lyons, Moncton came up with a plan in 1882 for a separable baggage check.
In 1919, Stephen Leonard Chauncey Coleman, Fredericton was the first to propose the use of stabilizer bars on the suspension of motor vehicles.
Robert T. Mawhinney, Saint John was instrumental in 1920 in the development of the trucking industry when he created the first dump truck.
James Thomas Lipsett of Saint John had an idea in 1889 for a rotary ventilator that still is in use today.
The cold weather of February 1917 may have spurred Lawrence St. Clair McCloskey of Boiestown to come up with the thermal windowpane.
L. W. Daman lived in Sackville in 1924 when he designed the pipeless furnace.
From the opening of regional patent offices in 1833 until 1950, more than 3,300 patents were granted to clever residents of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Patent agent Mario Theriault of Fredericton presents descriptions and drawings of fifty-five inventions that attest to the ingenuity of Maritimers. Experts at the patent office judged each one to work as expected and to be the first of its kind in the world.
From gum rubber shoes to red pavement, you will find interesting information in “Great Maritime Inventions 1833-1950" by Mario Theriault. You may find that a tinkering ancestor with an idea of the future helped in making significant advances in science. In the days of yesteryear, necessity was often the mother of invention.
All the inventions mentioned in the book are traceable to an actual document available from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in Hull, Quebec.
“Great Maritime Inventions 1833-1950" was published by Goose Lane Editions in 2001 and can be found on the shelves of several New Brunswick research institutions..
At the New Brunswick Provincial Archives, Fredericton, microfilm reel RS549 is titled, Provincial Secretary: Patent and Invention Administration Records of 1837 to 1883. The series comprises draft patents, correspondence, petitions, plans, specifications, indentures and certificates.
Canadian Patents granted after 1920, are available on the Internet
and are searchable by Inventor’s name at: http://patents1.ic.gc.ca/
|Mario D. Theriault, the author of 'Great Maritime
provided more details on seeking information on patents.
I have pasted a portion of his e-mail message to me.
"From 1833 to 1950, I found 3,300 patents granted to inventors from the three Maritime Provinces.
A list of patents granted before Confederation can be seen at the respective Provincial Archive, or at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in Hull, Québec. However, the paper copies available at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for that period are not all available at the Provincial Archives, and vice-versa.
After Confederation, all the Canadian patents granted to Maritime Inventors are available on microfiches at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and are searchable by patent number and reference indexes such as by Inventor name.
After 1920, all the Canadian Patents granted are available on the Internet and are searchable by Inventor name at the following address:
For the Canadian Patents since 1920:
For example: use the above link and select "Advanced Search". Type Cusack in the Inventor field to obtain 20 patents from which the older one was granted in 1922, to The Thomas Cusack Company. You can print the entire document on-line by downloading it in a PDF format, as per the instructions on the cover page of each patent. The address of the inventor is not shown on the document, but can be obtained from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, upon request.
You can also search the US Patents through the Internet, at the following address:
For the US Patents since 1790:
However, a name search in the US Patent is limited to 1976 to present. The older patents since 1790 are searchable by classifications only.
Please note that all the inventions mentioned in my book
traceable to an actual document. The patent number and patent
are shown for each invention. These patent documents are
from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in Hull Quebec, by
the patent number, date and inventor name. The cost
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
As you can see, it is now relatively easy to access the Canadian Patents, at least since 1920, and this type of search could be included in all genealogy searches. "
Mario D. Theriault
|Twila Buttimer of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick
page from the index of microfilm reel RS549 of the 'Provincial
Patent and Invention Administration Records of 1837 to 1883'
I am including three examples.
McLenny, Alexander - 1867 - McKennys Patent Button and Eyelet Lacer for Boots and Shoes. File contents - Draft Patent.
McFarlane, Richard - 1840 - Petition: A Perpetual Motion Machine. File Contents - Plans and Specifications.
- 1837 - Petition Re: Fishways. File Contents - Petition for Financial Assistance, Includes Plans and Specifications Re Patent.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at email@example.com. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.