Joseph in his B-12 snowbus
April 16, 1907|
Valcourt, Quebec, Canada
|Died||February 18, 1964
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
|Known for||Founder of Bombardier|
Joseph-Armand Bombardier (French pronunciation: [ʒozɛf aʁmɑ̃ bɔ̃baʁdje]) (April 16, 1907 – February 18, 1964) was a Canadian inventor and businessman, and was the founder of Bombardier. His most famous invention was the snowmobile.
Born in Valcourt, Québec, Joseph-Armand Bombardier dabbled in mechanics from an early age. He acquired experience by reading, taking notes and repairing what he found until he opened his own garage at age 19, where he would repair cars and sell gasoline in the summertime.
During wintertime, he would work on creating a vehicle able to travel on snow. At the time, the Quebec government would not shovel small towns roads and inhabitants therefore had to store their car for the season. The idea to build a transportation mode that could make it as easy to travel during winter as the other three seasons came to him when, during a blizzard that lasted for days, Joseph-Armand Bombardier young son fell ill and passed away since there was no way to take him to the hospital before the weather improved.
The first B7 (B for Bombardier and 7 for 7 passengers) snowmobile were sold during winter 1936-37. Faced with a tremendous success, a new plant able to produce over 200 vehicles a year was built in 1940. A new 12 passengers model was made available in 1941, but high demand was halted when Canada entered the Second World War.
Bombardier offered his expertise to the Canadian government and started producing specialized military vehicles for the allies during the war. Business became difficult when the Quebec government decided to shovel the streets in 1948. Bombardier however developed small snowmobiles during the 50's and created a new market aimed towards recreational products for one or two people. A little less than 200 units were sold when the product was launched in 1959, but by the time of his death in 1964 the prototype was a success and more than 8200 units were sold annually.
Around 1937, Autoroute 55 in Quebec was named autoroute Joseph-Armand-Bombardier between Stanstead and Autoroute 20 (autoroute Jean-Lesage) near Drummondville. The Bombardier Glacier in Antarctica is also named after him.
- Lacasse, Roger (1988). Joseph-Armand Bombardier: An Inventor's Dream Come True. Libre expression. ISBN 2-89111-341-1.
- "Hommage à Joseph-Armand Bombardier". gouv.qc.ca. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
- "Joseph-Armand Bombardier: Getting Around in the Winter". Library and Archives Canada.
- The Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame: The Hall, Canada Science and Technology Museum.
- J. Armand Bombardier Museum
- Joseph-Armand Bombardier at The Canadian Encyclopedia
- CBC's Bombardier: The Snowmobile Legacy
- Heritage Minute about Joseph-Armand Bombardier