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Great Maritime Inventions 1833-1950

To all my client inventors, who have inspired me to write this book,
and most of all to my wife Norma,
whose support and encouragement made all things easy.


A note of appreciation is extended to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, to the Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island, to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in Hull, and to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, DC. A special thank you is extended to Carole Choinière of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and to Palmer C. DeMeo of Palmer Patent Consultants in Woodbridge, Virginia, for their valuable assistance in identifying these memorable inventions and locating the related patent documents. Thank you again to Mr. DeMeo for having researched and explained the US patent law in force during the period covered by this book. Thank you to Rhona Sawlor for having elegantly edited this book. Thank you to Cheryl Hulberg for her assistance in typing the manuscript. Thank you also to Yoland Mallet of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for having rejuvenated a copy of the Canadian patent for the “Acme Club Skate.”




Ice Cream Soda

Confectionery Marker

Key-Opening Cans

Tea and Coffee Pot

Fish Oil Products

Fruit and Flake Cereal

Sardine Cans

Frozen Marinated Fish


Clothes Washer with Wringer Rolls

Clip-On Skates

Cold Water Soap

Ironing Board

Electric Telephony

Combined Hot and Cold Water Faucets

Vortex-Flushing Toilet Bowl

Adjustable Underwear Combination

Winter Cap with Foldable Elastic Ear and Head Band

Toothbrush with Replaceable Bristles

Gum Rubber Shoes

Replaceable Pool Cue Tip

Crossword Game



Scuba Tank

Compound Steam Engine


Potato Digger

Rubber-Lined Pulleys

Hay Carrier

Vane Pump

Roller Bearing

Connecting Link

Pulp Press and Wood Pulp in Sheets

Cultivating and Hilling Machine


Boat Propeller


Snow Blower

Track Clearer (Miller’s Flanger)

Separable Baggage Check

Cycle Runner

Wood and Canvas Canoe

Rein Connector (Quick-Release Buckle)

Airplane Position Indicator

Stabilizing Bar for Vehicle Suspension System

Automobile Backup Light

Dump Box for Truck

Variable Pitch Propeller

Partitioned Concrete Sidewalk

Tempering of Steel Rails

Red Pavement


Strain Gauges

Rotary Ventilator

Inserted Saw Tooth

Thermal Windowpane

Pipeless Furnace






The patent for the Acme Club Skate, granted to John Forbes of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on February 17, 1872. Courtesy of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.


Letters Patent are granted to applicants for bringing into use new trades or new manufactures, for presenting new knowledge to the public, and for promoting the progress of science and useful arts. During the period covered by Great Maritime Inventions, 1833-1950, the two basic requirements for a patented invention were utility and novelty. (Inventiveness is a third requirement under modern patent law.) Concerning the element of utility, the invention had to be useful, to work as expected, and to produce the promised results. A model of the invention was often required to demonstrate utility. To meet the requirement of novelty, the invention must not have been known or used by others, in the province or in any other country, prior to its discovery.

Before Confederation, each province had its own patent system, modelled on the systems used in the United States and Great Britain. The following extract from the Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, Chapter 120, entitled “Of Patents for Useful Inventions,” dated 1833, outlines that province’s first patent system:

Whenever any person resident in the Province, and who shall have resided therein for the period of one year, or any British subject who shall have been an inhabitant of Canada, New Brunswick, Prince Edward’s Island, or Newfoundland, for the space of one year previous to his application, shall apply to the Governor, alleging that he has discovered any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereon, not heretofore known or used, and pray that a patent may be granted to him for the same, the Governor may direct Letters Patent to be issued, reciting therein the allegations of such petition, and giving a short description of such invention, and shall thereupon grant to the person so applying for the same and his representatives, for a term not exceeding fourteen years, the exclusive right of making, using, and vending the same to others, which Letters Patent shall be good and available to the grantee, and shall be recorded in the Secretary’s Office, in a book for that purpose, and shall then be delivered to the patentee.

The 1833 statutes also stipulated: “Before any person shall obtain any Letters Patent, he shall make oath in writing that he verily believes that he is the true inventor or discoverer of the art, machine, or composition of matter, or improvement, for which he solicits Letters Patent, and that such invention or discovery has not been known in this province or any other country, which oath shall be delivered in with the petition for such Letters Patent.”

A similar patent system was established in New Brunswick in 1834 and in Prince Edward Island in 1837. The patent systems of all three provinces were transferred to what is now the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in Hull shortly after Confederation, between 1869 and 1874.

The novelty or originality of the inventions described in Great Maritime Inventions is reasonably dependable. Each patent is either the first of its kind on record or the claims in it are so broad that the intellectual ...

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