12 things you didn't know were invented by Canadians

The paint roller, highway lines, the Wonderbra and more


1. Kitchen garbage bags: Three men—Harry Wasylyk, Larry Hansen and Frank Plomp—all separately came up with the idea in the 1950s.

2. Lawn sprinkler
: Invented in 1920 by Elijah McCoy, the son of runaway slaves in Ontario. McCoy was one of Canada’s most prolific inventors. Among his other 56 creations: the ironing board.

3. Odometers
: In 1854, Nova Scotia’s Samuel McKeen put a device on his carriage to measure wheel turns.

4. Robertson square-headed screwdriver: Invented by P.L Robertson in 1908.

5. Walkie-talkie
: Alfred Gross invented the walkie-talkie in 1938.

6. Instant replays: In 1955, CBC producer George Retzlaff introduced the world to
the first in-game sport replays.

7. Bloody Caesar: Invented in 1969 by restaurateur Walter
Chell in honour of a new Italian restaurant that opened in Calgary.

8. Wonderbra: Invented by Louise Poirier who, in 1963, was working for a Montreal-based lingerie company.

9. Five-pin bowling: Invented by T.E. Ryan of Toronto in 1909.

10. Paint roller: Invented by Norman Breakey of Toronto in 1940.

11. Pablum: Created by researchers at the University of Toronto in 1930. Royalties from its sales continue to support research at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

12. Road lines: Yes, there was a time when drivers had no lanes to stay
in, until 1930 when John Millar, an Ontario engineer, thought up the simple idea of painting lines on roads.

Sources: Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, various websites

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