The snowmobile is a powered vehicle specifically designed for traveling on snow or ice. They are similar to an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and can be used in any area covered with snow or ice. In most cases they are ridden solo or with a single passenger. Like a motorbike or ATV, they are unenclosed and the rider is open to the elements. Snowmobiles are propelled by an engine that drives a continuous track(s), with skis at the front of the vehicle to provide control. They were originally developed because transport during the winter season was difficult. They are still very important for this task, but are also popular for recreational purposes and racing. Let’s find out who invented this important winter vehicle.
Who invented the snowmobile?
The first designs for a working powered snow vehicle came in the 1900’s. The first patent awarded to a design with a rear track system came in 1916. Roy H. Muscot was the inventor of this particular device, but it didn’t take off. Instead, people used his idea to modify the Ford Model T to replace the undercarriage with tracks and skis. These modified vehicles became popular with mail delivery and were called Snowflyers.
The modern snowmobile was invented by Joseph-Armand Bombardier in 1958. He had previously worked with other vehicles capable of traveling in snow, but wanted to make a faster, lightweight vehicle. His prototype was finished in the same year and he began production and marketing in 1959. This original snowmobile was called the Ski-Doo after a printer mistakenly printed it instead of the correct name Ski-Dog on the prototype. He was awarded the patent for his design in 1960 (Canada) and 1962 (United States). Initial sales were slow, but had increased from 200 to 8,200 in the first 5 years.
Did you know?
Before the snowmobile, Bombardier worked on other half track vehicles, also commonly known as snowmobiles. This included the large B-12 snow bus which was capable of transporting 12 people on ice and snow!