Throughout our province's history, Saskatchewan people have created an amazing variety of devices - everything from kitchen gadgets and personal gear to agricultural and industrial equipment. With about 3,200 inventions patented, and probably thousands unrecorded, it is obvious that innovation is an important part of the history of Saskatchewan.
The WDM is proud to have a collection rich in
Also, check out our 'Made In Saskatchewan' patent index. Search through a PDF file of all patents filed by Saskatchewan inventors from 1905-1976.
Look for the Saskatchewan Innovation logo throughout our website to indicate an artifact with Saskatchewan origins.
1. Draganflyer X6
Looking like a mini-helicopter, the Draganflyer X6 is useful for industrial inspection, and real estate and wildlife photography. Police forces are interested in its potential for crime scene and traffic accident investigations, tactical support, emergency site management, and search and rescue.
2. Wind turbine
Saskatoon inventor Glen Lux is on to something innovative in the world of
After selling his construction business in 2002, Humboldt-born Lux started experimenting with wind turbines. Most conventional wind turbines are the horizontal axis type (HAWT). But it was the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) that intrigued Lux, a concept most others had given up because of inherent design flaws.
Find out more about the Lux Turbine -->
3. Lorch Snowplane
Seventy years ago, Karl Lorch took his first "snowplane" for a spin
around Spy Hill, Sask. and created a Canadian legend.
Karl Lorch owned a garage in Spy Hill, Sask., 200 km east of Regina. He wanted to build a machine that would replace the horse and cutter during winter months. He secured a patent for the machines in 1935, and set up a manufacturing plant in Spy Hill.
Find out more about Lorch Snowplanes -->
Founded by Saskatoon’s Patric Byrns in 2010, PapaBravo builds
electric vehicles or EVs, for the mining industry. EVs are especially
popular in underground operations like potash mines because, unlike gas
or diesel vehicles, they do not produce air-polluting emissions.
The Gofer-EV, Papa Bravo’s prototype electric vehicle, exceeded expectations during extensive testing both above and below ground.
Saskatchewan boasted Canada’s first smokejumpers when they took to the skies in 1947.
Jumping from an aircraft at 2,000 feet and landing near a roaring forest fire is no pink tea affair, but that's the occupation of eight young men in Prince Albert who make it their business to "smoke jump" on forest fires... - The Leader-Post, August 9, 1947
6. Blowtorch, the Mechanical Horse
“The only horse in the world you have to choke to start”
W.J. McIntyre, inventor
Blowtorch, a life size mechanical horse, was the pet project and creation of W.J. McIntyre, a Swift Current, Saskatchewan inventor. Described by former employees as “rather eccentric with a keen, creative mind,” McIntyre built his first mechanical horse about 1947.
7. Meilicke Calculator
Carl Meilicke felt that no math problem needed to be solved twice, so in 1896 he invented a calculator to prove his point. Three generations of the Meilicke would go on to work for Carl's calculator business.
“You can see the advance in technology from my grandfather, to my
father, to me,” his grandson Ronald commented.
And it all began with a tomato can in Saskatchewan.
8. Straw Gas Car
Ever heard of a straw gas car? It’s a car that runs on the gaseous vapour produced by heating straw. Back in 1917, University of Saskatchewan chemistry professor R.D MacLaurin and his engineering colleague A.R. Greig teamed up to test the possibility of using straw gas as fuel for engines.
9. Air Seeding
The first experiments with air seeders on the prairies began in the early 1950s. One early experimenter was Lajord farmer Jerome Bechard. Bechard’s machine consisted of a pull-behind tank that carried seed and fertilizer in separate compartments. Forced air propelled seed and fertilizer through long tubes to the seeding boots or spouts. A metering system on the tank adjusted the flow.
Air seeding technology took off in the 1980s and 1990s with several
Saskatchewan companies producing equipment.
Learn more about air seeding -->
10. Rock pickers
Rocky fields are the scourge of farmers everywhere. In parts of
Saskatchewan, it seemed like there was a new crop of stones every year.
Until the 1940s, the only way to get rid of them was to pick them by
hand or put a chain around them and pull them out with horse or tractor.
Find out about the Saskatchewan rock pickers that helped make the job easier -->
11. Western Roto Thresh
Manitoba brothers William and Fred Streich came up with an idea for a combine that would use a
rotating drum instead of conventional shaking action to separate
kernels from chaff.
The Saskatchewan part of the story took place in Saskatoon with the building of prototypes by Asphalt Services Ltd. and extensive testing by the Agricultural Engineering department at the University of Saskatchewan.
In 1973, Western Roto Thresh Ltd. was set up in Saskatoon to manufacture the new combines.
Learn more about Roto Thresh combines and their connection to today's harvesting technology -->
12. Air Ambulance
CF-SAM, an airplane in the Western Development Museum collection, represents a milestone in Saskatchewan and Canada’s aviation history. It belonged to the fledgling Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service (SAAS), the first non-military, government-operated air ambulance service in the world.
13. Flexicoil Packer
In the late 1940s, an observant Emerson Summach, a farmer from Asquith was fascinated watching his young son play with an old coil spring in the family garden patch. It was the diagonal pattern left on the soil that caught his attention. What if, Summach thought, the same principle was applied to the conventional land packer?
14. ATM and Debit Card
Saskatchewan Credit Union Central general manager, IBM publication, n.d.
Sherwood Credit Union in Regina revolutionized personal banking when it introduced the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to Canadians.
After their success with the Automated Teller Machine, Credit Union innovators in Saskatchewan went on to their next revolutionary idea–the debit card.
Learn more about the Banking Revolution -->
15. Morris Rod Weeder
George Morris was known to say that his 1929 rod weeder was just the "right thing at the right time." His progressive invention came not a moment too soon.
16. Symons Oilers
Ernie Symons was a tinkerer. Born on the family homestead in the Wapella area of southeast Saskatchewan, young Ernie had a gift for making things out of bits and pieces of junk. As he grew older, he added metalworking to his growing skills. By age 19, he had his own blacksmith shop where he repaired machinery and sharpened plowshares. In 1920, a neighbour gave him three pump oilers, a gift that changed Ernie’s life.
17. Cobalt-60 Unit
WDM considers the cobalt bomb to be one of the most important artifacts
in its collection. This machine, and others like it, has saved the lives
of millions of cancer patients around the world. This is very much a
Saskatchewan - and a Saskatoon - story.
Learn more about the "Cancer Bomb" -->
About National Science and Technology Week
Coordinated by the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, National Science and Technology Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of science and technology and celebrates Canadian innovation. For more about the celebration, visit the National Science and Technology Week website.
For more information on Innovation Week, an initiative of the University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering in collaboration with the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Saskatchewan, see www.saskinnovationweek.ca.