The Story of Inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier

On April 16 in the year 1907, one of the most inventive entrepreneurs in North America was born in Quebec, Canada. His name was Joseph-Armand Bombardier, the inventor of snowmobile and the founder of a company that bears his name.

Joseph Bombardier
Joseph Bombardier (Photo Credit:


Joseph-Armand Bombardier was the eldest of eight children of a couple who owned a general store owner and a farm. As a child, he was fascinated with all things mechanical. He invented a miniature locomotive, built a steam engine, and transformed a gun into cannon.

In 1922 at age 15, Joseph-Armand Bombardier built the first prototype of the snowmobile, his most famous invention that had a propeller powered by an engine. Two years after, he quit school and began an apprenticeship at Gosselins’s Garage but his mind was concentrated on how to improve the snowmobile. He left his work and took night classes on English and mechanics.

Sensing that Joseph-Armand Bombardier was determined to build a practical snowmobile, his father lent him money to start his own shop. To keep the shop going, Joseph accepted repair orders on cars, pumps, and other machines. His reputation as a mechanic became known far and wide and his customers grew in numbers and he was able to repay what he owed to his father. Meanwhile, he continued to work on his snowmobile.

In 1935, Joseph-Armand Bombardier built a snowmobile that was practical to use. Two years later, he patented it. In 1942, he founded Bombardier Snowmobile Ltd. He went on to manufacture different models which were bought by the Canadian government. Later, he introduced a miniature model at a reduced price for sale to individuals.

In 1964, Joseph-Armand Bombardier died of cancer at age 56. He had two sons with wife Yvonne. At present, Bombardier is an important manufacturer of aircraft and locomotives.

See also: List of inventors and their inventions


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