When you spread peanut butter on your toast in the morning or put on your underwear, did you know that you are honouring Montréal inventions? In fact, peanut butter and Wonderbra push-up bras are among the many inventions by Montrealers. Let’s take a peek at the history of some of the most famous.
First, peanut butter. It has, of course, been around for hundreds of years. The Aztecs, in particular, produced it and the word “cacahuète” in French comes from their language. Europeans discovered this mixture during the great explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries. Peanut butter as we know it today was first patented by a Montrealer named Marcellus Gilmore Edson. Originally, it was used as a base for candies, to which sugar was added.
As for Wonderbra bras, we can thank Moses Madler who founded The Canadian Lady Corset Company in 1939, then marketed the Wonderbra underwear brand. In the 1960s, stylist Louise Poirier designed the push-up model. Alas, it was not an instant success as the fashions of the day leaned toward smaller chests. However, in the 1980s, this model took off and its popularity has not abated since.
Montrealers’ creativity has been behind other hugely popular innovations too. After peanut butter and the push-up bra, the world was introduced to the board game Trivial Pursuit. In fact, it was Chris Haney, a picture editor at The Gazette and Scott Abbott, a sports journalist at The Canadian Press, who brought us this board game favourite. One December night in 1979, while they were playing Scrabble and drinking beer, they came up with the idea for their own game. Never did they dream at the time that it would make them millionaires.
BIXI, North America’s very first bike-sharing system, has been a more recent example. A true symbol of Montréal innovation, BIXI was considered one of the 50 best inventions by Times Magazine when it was launched in 2009. Altogether, these inventions point to a very bright future for innovation in Montréal!
Crédit couverture: Bixi Montréal
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