Okay, we admit, ‘the rotary snowplow’ doesn’t sound all that sexy as invention. Who cares if it came from Toronto, right? WRONG. Gaze upon the beast and tremble beneath it’s awesome power! Looking like something out of a futuristic post-apocalypse thriller, this monster is actually just a giant snowblower, but still! Take a look at this thing and try not to feel miniscule and puny!
It’s the Rotary Snowplow, and by George, It Came From Toronto!
Westward expansion in the mid-1800′s meant boom times for so many people and industries. A problem with that expansion presented itself in the form of The Canadian Winter – insofar as a mighty dump of snow made train travel impossible more often than not. Toronto dentist J.W. Elliot came up with the brilliant idea to use a fan like structure on the front of a locomotive to shoosh away the snow.
No one liked the idea and it went nowhere until years later when other people expanded on the idea and made it workable. Not so much with the the shooshing they said; a more aggressive kind of action was needed. And they got it when another Canadian named – yes, this is his real name – Orange Jull improved the design with a screw action that propelled snow clear of the tracks.
Today, the Rotary Snowplow is still in use, although it’s the old-fashioned wedge style plow that really gets our blood pumping. There’s something sublime about seeing those thousands of tonnes of steel come barreling down the track with a huge wave of snow flying in every direction in front. Terrifying.
So yes, it was the forethought of a Toronto dentist that let the great push West keep on pushing through the mighty Canadian winter.
The Rotary Snowplow. It Came From Toronto.