Bombardier B-7 Snowmobile
This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
Joseph-Armand Bombardier’s idea for the snowmobile grew out of family tragedy. Impassable winter roads prevented him from taking his son to hospital, and the infant died of peritonitis.
In 1935, Bombardier built a prototype that ran on caterpillar tracks like those used on military tanks. Two years later, he patented a sprocket wheel and track drive system to build the B-7, a seven passenger covered snowmobile. The B-7 became popular with country doctors and veterinarians, as well as for postal delivery, and forestry and utility companies.
The commercial success of the B-7 allowed Bombardier to expand production facilities in 1941 and develop other snowmobile designs, including the Ski-Doo. This B-7 is a 1939 model used for postal delivery in rural Quebec.