Ahoy-hoy Ottawa

9 November 1877

Even though one hundred and forty years have passed since Alexander Graham Bell was awarded a patent for the telephone, there is still bitter disagreement over whether he was truly the inventor of the device. Many others were working simultaneously in the field, including Antonio Meucci, Elisha Gray and Johann Reis. All have claims on being the telephone’s “father.” Even if priority of claim is accorded to Bell, the telephone is hardly an all-Canadian invention as many Canadians believe. According to Bell himself, the telephone was conceived in Brantford but developed at his workshop in Boston. Moreover, three countries can consider Bell to be one of their own as he was born in Scotland, moved to Canada in 1870, but subsequently became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Later, he divided his time between Canada and the United States, dying at his country retreat near Baddeck, Nova Scotia in 1922.

In 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution (No. 269) drafted by Congressman Vito Fossella that in essence gave priority of claim to Antonio Meucci, an Italian inventor who had immigrated to New York in the nineteenth century, based on a patent caveat (a notice of an intention to file a patent) for a “sound telegraph” filed with the U.S. Patent Office in 1871. Worse still, the Congressional resolution insinuated that Bell had stolen Meucci’s invention.

Alexander Graham Bell Moffett Studio LAC C-017335

Alexander Graham Bell, late in life, Moffett Studio, Library and Archives Canada, C-017335.

Appalled by this slight on Canadian history and Bell’s integrity, the Canadian House of Commons responded ten days later by passing a parliamentary motion affirming Bell as the inventor of the telephone. While there is no evidence that Bell stole Meucci’s ideas, it’s true that Meucci had been working on developing a similar instrument for some years. However, his patent caveat application did not describe an ability to transmit voices. Unable to afford the small fee to maintain his position, Meucci let his patent caveat lapse.

On the same day that Bell’s lawyer filed a patent application at the U.S. Patent Office in Washington D.C. in February 1876, Elisha Gray submitted a patent caveat for his telephone. The two submissions were remarkably similar. While many accounts say Bell’s submission beat Gray’s by two hours, it’s not clear which got to the Patent Office first. A contrary view has Gray getting his application in ahead of Bell only for it to end up at the bottom of an “In” basket. Regardless, under the law at the time who got to the Patent Office first mattered less than who could demonstrate that he came up with the idea first. Bell successfully made his case to the patent examiner, and was awarded U.S. patent #174,465 in March 1876 for “The method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically…by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound.” His case was strengthened by the fact that Gray withdrew his patent caveat and did not immediately challenge Bell’s claim.

Three days after receiving his patent, Bell produced a functioning telephone. While tinkering with a device at his Boston workshop, Bell’s famous words “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.” were heard by his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was working in a separate room down the hall. For that particular experiment, Bell had used a water-based transmitter similar to the one proposed by Gray in his patent caveat—providing Bell naysayers “proof” that he had lifted Gray’s idea. However, Bell never used this type of transmitter in public demonstrations, working instead on the electromagnetic telephone that he demonstrated at the Centennial Exposition in June 1876 in Philadelphia. As an aside, Bell recommended that people answering the phone should say “Ahoy-hoy” rather than “Hello.” This suggestion never caught on, though it did gain a following after its use by “Mr Burns” on the popular television cartoon series The Simpsons.

Needless to say, with the similarities between the Bell and Gray submissions, legal suits began to fly, especially after Gray re-submitted his patent application in 1877. But after two years of litigation, Bell was credited with the invention. This did not stop the legal challenges. Over the next decade, as it became increasingly apparent that there were huge profits to be had in the telephone industry and as new advances in telephone technology were made, the Bell Telephone Company, which was established in 1876 by Bell, his father-in-law, and a Boston financier, was embroiled in hundreds of patent challenges. Some of these law suits went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. A U.S. Congressional study into the telephone was also undertaken in 1886. Despite all the hearings and all the law suits, the Bell Telephone Company emerged triumphant, its patent rights confirmed.

North of the U.S. border, Alexander Graham Bell received Canadian patent #7,789 for his telephone in August 1877. Canadians did not appear to be greatly impressed by the new technology. In early 1878, The Globe newspaper ran an article posing the question Is the telephone a failure? While saying that the invention was “awe-striking” and that it “had faced little popular or scientific hostility,” the newspaper opined that the telephone had serious operational problems, in, particular interference from other lines and “leakage” that led to “the force of the voice to be lost.” Just as we have concerns today about internet security, the newspaper also fretted about telephone security; telephone lines could be easily tapped.

Alexander Melville Bell, the inventor’s father, wrote a blistering riposte, saying that he regretted “that it should be necessary to defend the merits of so original an invention against the pretensions of pottering envy and wise-after-the-event detraction.” Bell senior called the telephone “a triumphant success,” and that they were “learning and improving,” noting that the problem with interference with other wires had already been remedied.

Notwithstanding this stout defence of his son’s invention, there were no Canadian buyers for Bell’s Canadian patent rights when they came on the market. In 1879, Bell senior, to whom his inventor son had earlier given his Canadian patent rights, could not find a Canadian buyer willing to pay his $100,000 asking price. (This is equivalent to about $2.5 million today.) Instead, he sold them to the National Bell Telephone Company of Boston that was later to be become the American Bell Telephone Company. The American company in turn established the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, based in Montreal, under a federal charter at the end of April 1880.

Ottawa’s introduction to the new communications technology occurred in the fall of 1877. After a demonstration of the telephone at the Ottawa Agricultural Exposition in September of that year by William Pettigrew, a friend of Bell senior, the first telephone line was installed on 9 November 1877, linking the office of Alexander Mackenzie, the Premier of the Dominion of Canada, in his capacity as the Minister of Public Works to the office of Lord Dufferin, Canada’s Governor General, at Rideau Hall. It was a private line. Telephone exchanges that would allow multiple people to be connected to each other through an operator were still in the future.

The contract between Bell senior and the Premier called for the installation of two wooden hand telephones #18 and #19 and two wooden box telephones, #25 and #26, at a fee of $42.50 per annum, payable in advance, due annually on 21 September each year. While the lease was executed on 9 November, the lease was backdated to 21 September so that the honour of Canada’s first telephone lease could go to the government. In actuality, the first Canadian commercial telephone lease was signed by Hugh Cosset Baker, an entrepreneur in Hamilton, Ontario, with the District Telegraph Company in October 1877. The telephone line linked Baker’s office to that of a colleague.

Dave Allston, in his Ottawa blog titled The Kichissippi Museum, recounts a delightful story of the first telephone test call between Rideau Hall and Mackenzie’s office. It seems that Mackenzie’s private secretary, William Buckingham, who was stationed at Rideau Hall for the test, was so rattled by hearing the Premier’s voice coming out of a wooden box, that he flubbed reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Admonished by the Premier, he was forced to repeat himself. Following that embarrassing introduction, the Premier and the Governor General spoke to each other for the first official telephone call.

Mackenzie was not terribly impressed with the new-fangled communications instrument owing to its unreliability. It must also have been awkward to use; the same hole was employed for both listening and talking. But when the Premier asked for the telephone to be removed, he was overruled by the Governor General. Apparently, Lady Dufferin, the Governor General’s formidable consort, was much taken with the telephone. According to a 1961 Citizen article she would sing and play the piano into the phone to people at the Premier’s office. Captain Gourdeau of the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards would sing back to her.

With the invention of the telephone exchange—the first exchange in Canada (and, indeed, the first in the British Empire) was installed in 1878 in Hamilton, Ontario—a telephone service similar to what we know today was made possible. In the major Canadian cities, service was initially provided by two competing companies—the Dominion Telegraph Company that marketed Bell equipment and the Montreal Telegraph Company that marketed Edison equipment. This competitive struggle between the two companies paralleled the patent war underway at that time in the United States between the Bell Telephone Company that naturally used Bell equipment and the Western Union Telegraph Company that used Edison equipment. Inconveniently to telephone users, subscribers of one service could not make or receive telephone calls from the other service. The Dominion Telegraph Company opened its Ottawa telephone exchange managed by Warren Soper in January 1880. Its first telephone directory consisted of two pages with less than 80 subscribers. The Montreal Telegraph Company followed suit a month later with its Ottawa office managed by Thomas Ahearn.

Almost immediately after it was established in April 1880, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada purchased the Dominion Telegraph Company. Later that same year, it also acquired the Montreal Telegraph Company, thereby uniting the two large Canadian providers of phone services under one company, and in the process stopping the ruinous war between the two companies that brought them to the point of bankruptcy. In Ottawa, the new Bell Telephone Company was managed by Thomas Ahearn who later went on to fame and fortune as Ottawa’s electricity baron when he joined forces with Warren Soper to create the electrical firm called Ahearn and Soper.

Through the 1880s, the Bell Telephone Company successfully saw off other challengers in the Ottawa market through acquisitions and legal threats. Mid-decade, the company issued a public notice that it would prosecute anyone using the “Wallace” Telephone, or any other telephone provider that infringed on patents originally granted to Bell, Edison, Berliner, and others,” that were still in force and were owned by the Bell Telephone Company of Canada. Instead, the company advertised “instruments under the protection of company patents and are entirely free of risks of litigation.” Would-be buyers of competing equipment were also reminded that such telephones “will not be allowed to connect…into the Company’s lines or exchanges.” The announcement was signed by Thomas Ahearn, Bell’s agent in Ottawa.

By early 1886, Bell Telephone had roughly 400 telephone subscribers in Ottawa, and was growing rapidly. (There were 1,400 subscribers in Montreal.) In October the following year, direct long distance service between Ottawa and Montreal was inaugurated. Previously, callers were routed through Brockville and Prescott. Within weeks, a rapid increase in traffic led to plans for additional long distance lines. In 1888, new telephone poles were erected on Rideau Street and Sussex Avenue to replace old ones that were too short to carry the increasing number of wires. The Ottawa Journal complained that “a telephone company has been stringing wires all over the streets at its own sweet will, without the slightest reference to any civic authority.”  In April 1900, Ottawa was the first Canadian city to do away with the old hand-cranked telephones. With batteries installed in a central office instead of in a customer’s telephone, a person could now reach an operator by simply picking up the receiver. The familiar, table-top telephone that would dominate the telephone scene for the next century had arrived.

Sources:

Allston Dave, 2015. “When the telephone arrived in Kitchissippi,” The Kitchissippi Museum, http://kitchissippimuseum.blogspot.ca/2015/10/when-telephone-arrived-in-kitchissippi.html.

Bell Homestead: National Historic Site, City of Brantford, 2016. Telephone History, http://www.bellhomestead.ca/history/Pages/TelephoneHistory.aspx.

BCE, 2016. History: From Alexander Graham Bell Until Today, http://www.bce.ca/aboutbce/history.

CBC Digital Archives, 2016. Canada Says Hello: The First Century of the Telephone, http://www.cbc.ca/archives/topic/canada-says-hello-the-first-century-of-the-telephone.

Canadian Parliamentary Motion on Alexander Graham Bell, 2016. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Parliamentary_Motion_on_Alexander_Graham_Bell.

Casson, Herbert N. 1910. The History of the Telephone, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/819/819-h/819-h.htm.

Globe (The), 1878. “Is The Telephone A Failure,” 4 January.

———, 1878. “The Telephone,” 12 January.

———, 1883. “Discovery of the Telephone: Interview with Pref. Bell,” 1 September.

Globeandmail.com. 2016, Bell Canada: The History of One of Canada’s Oldest Companies, http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/v5/content/features/BellIncomeTrust/bell_incometrust.html.

Mccord Museum, Operator. May I help you?: Bell Canada’s 125 years, http://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca.

Motherboard, 2012, No-one remembers who invented the telephone,” 17 July, http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/alexander-graham-bell-did-not-invent-the-telephone.

Ogle. E. B. 1979. Long Distance Please: The Story of the Trans-Canada Telephone System, Toronto: Collings Publishers.

Ottawa Citizen (The), 1961. “Line Veterans Revive Old Days,” 28 October.

Ottawa Journal (The), 1886. “Public Notice,” 1 February.

—————-, 1886. “Ottawa to Montreal,” 21 April.

—————-, 1886. “Montreal and Ottawa,” 22 July.

—————-, 1887. “Another Telephone Line,” 22 November.

—————-, 1888. “The Overhead Network Growing,” 5 June.

—————-, 1888. “Civic Notes,” 25 June.

Stritof, Bob and Sheri, 2006. “Who Really Invented The Telephone,” Telephone Tribute, http://www.telephonetribute.com/telephone_inventors.html.

Uren, Janet, 2006. “The man who lit up Ottawa,” Ottawa, http://wordimage.ca/files/Ahearn.pdf.

U.S.Patent Office, 1876. Improvements in telegraphy, Patent #174465, 7 March.

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The Aeronauts Come To Ottawa

11 September 1911

Like today, the dawn of the twentieth century was a time of fast-paced, technological change that was dramatically transforming people’s lives. Within a lifetime, people went from oil lamps to electricity, from the pony express to the telephone, and from the horse and buggy to the automobile. In December 1903, on a beach a few miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, mankind took the next transformative, technological leap. Two brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, made the first, heavier-than-air, powered flight. That first flight, with Orville at the controls, lasted but a few seconds, and it only covered some 120 feet at an altitude of roughly 10 feet over the wind-swept, sand dunes. But it was a stunning achievement. Two years later, the brothers developed their first practical flying machine called the Flyer III that could stay aloft half an hour and travel a distance of more than 20 miles.

Within a few years of the Wrights’ initial flight, aviation literally took off, notwithstanding countless crashes that claimed the lives of many early flight pioneers.  In 1906, the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont made the first powered flight in Europe, wowing Parisians in his Oiseau de proie (bird of prey). John McCurdy made the first Canadian powered, heavier-than-air flight in February 1909 near Baddeck, Nova Scotia. His airplane, the Silver Dart, was developed by the Aerial Experiment Association organized by Alexander Graham Bell and financed by his wife Mabel who was an aviation enthusiast. In July 1909, Louis Blériot of France, flying his Type XI monoplane, became an instant celebrity when he made the first successful flight across the English Channel. The following month, Charles Willard flew his Curtis biplane, the Golden Flyer, over the Scarborough beaches to the delight of Toronto residents. Unfortunately, Willard was forced to ditch into Lake Ontario. Flying in the late afternoon, he blamed approaching darkness for the crash but he had only taken one flying lesson, and had been flying for just two weeks.

Air shows, where aviation enthusiasts could meet, share notes, and compete also became popular, attracting thousands of fans. The first was held in Paris in September 1909. The first North American show, held in Los Angeles in January 1910, drew more than a quarter million spectators.  Canada hosted its first aviation meet outside of Montreal in July that same year. Many of the great aviation pioneers attended including Count Jacques de Lesseps flying a Blériot monoplane, four members of the newly established Wright Brothers exhibition team in their Wright Model A airplanes, as well as John McCurdy flying a Baddeck machine.  To great excitement, De Lesseps flew over downtown Montreal on a 50-minute round trip from the Lakeside (now Pointe-Claire) field where the meet was held.

In Ottawa, interest was high in this new technological marvel. In September 1910, Professor McKergow of McGill University gave a lecture to the Royal Society at the Normal School (now part of Ottawa City Hall) at the corner of Elgin and Lisgar Streets. Despite the great advances that had been made in aviation, the good professor opined that “the aeroplane will never be used for anything but sport or war.” He did concede, however, that if we could come to understand air currents, the problem of transatlantic air travel might be solved. By taking advantage of the trade winds, he believed an airplane might be able to travel from France to someplace in the southern United States in 50-60 hours.

Ottawa residents had to wait until September 1911 for their first glimpse of the magnificent men in their flying machines. In the spring of that year, a spokesman for the Central Canada Exhibition said that they were looking to hire an aviator for $1,500 (roughly $32,000 in today’s money) to make ten flights, two per day, of not less than five miles in distance. The flights were to be the highlight of the 1911 Exhibition. The Ottawa Evening Journal reported that the Belgian aviator and dare-devil Charles Morok had signed a contract to give demonstrations in his Curtis biplane. Morok was famous for the aerial stunt called the “Dip of Death.” The newspaper also claimed that his airplane would race an automobile—a favourite event at aviation shows and fairgrounds at that time. It was not to be. Either the newspaper was misinformed, or the aviator got a better offer. That September, Morok performed at the Sandusky Fairgrounds in Fremont, Ohio.

In early September, virtually on the eve of the opening of the Exhibition, it still wasn’t clear which aviator would have the honour of being the first to fly over Ottawa. One press report claimed that Charles Willard, who had made the inaugural Toronto flight, had been engaged on the same terms as offered to Morok. However, Willard was out of the running as he had been injured a couple of weeks earlier at a fair in St Louis. John McCurdy’s name was also mentioned, but he too was a no-show. Speculation was that he had commitments elsewhere.  With everything “up in the air,” so to speak, advertisements for the Ex only promised an un-named “Famous Aviator” would perform two flights per day.

In the event, two competing companies of aviators showed up, each claiming to have a contract to perform at the Exhibition. Jean Wilmer, a French-American pilot, along with Georges Mestich of Belgium and Gressier of France arrived in Ottawa with their Morane monoplane. Virtually simultaneously, another troupe, led by Captain Thomas Baldwin, also arrived ready to perform in one of Baldwin’s “Red Devils,” a Curtiss “pusher-type” biplane. Apparently, both companies had been engaged by a booking office in New York City.

To settle matters, the organizers of the Exhibition suggested that both troupes provide demonstrations. Instead, the two competing companies agreed between themselves that Baldwin’s troupe would fly. Twenty-one year old Lee Hammond, “the noted and daring aeronaut,” who worked for Capt. Baldwin got the nod.

Hammond arrived in Ottawa with his airplane by train at noon on 11 September, 1911. He had just enough time to get to Lansdowne Park in time to make his first demonstration flight. Indicative of how dangerous flying was at that time, Hammond was still shaking off the effects of two airplane crashes, both into water. Three weeks earlier, he had broken an ankle after his aircraft stalled and fell into Lake Michigan. He was fished out by a U.S. Revenue Cutter. Just the day prior to his arrival in Ottawa, he had had a second watery crash while performing with Tom Sopwith, later of Sopwith Camel fame, at Coney Island, New York. Fortunately, he sustained only minor cuts and bruises.

To the delight of thousands in Exhibition attendees, Hammond’s first Ottawa flight went off without mishap sometime after 1pm. Although a makeshift runway, fifty feet wide and five hundred feet long, had been laid out in front of the grandstand at Lansdowne Park, he took off from Slattery’s Field located across the Rideau Canal from the Exhibition grounds. Slattery’s Field, which today encompasses the Riverdale Avenue and Main Street area, was at the time used for pasturing cows. Captain Baldwin explained that the Exhibition grounds were too congested for Hammond to safely take off and land. In a short, five-minute flight, Hammond circled the Exhibition grounds several times before returning to land back at Slattery’s Field. He performed his second show of the day at roughly 4pm.

Lee Hammond at Cass Fair, 19-9-11

Lee Hammond (left) with Captain Thomas Baldwin with Hammond’s “Red Devil” airplane at the Cassopolis Fair, Michigan, Septmeber 1911. Hammond performed at the “Cass Co.” Fair immediately after his Ottawa shows.

 

Problems seemed to dog Hammond. On the second day of the Exhibition, a storm collapsed the tent that sheltered his biplane, breaking the propeller. Later in the week, his engine conked out when he encountered dense fog at 1,000 feet. He landed heavily near the Rideau Canal, only missing another watery crash by a few feet. Undeterred by the experience, Hammond made his second flight of the day. That flight too ended badly, with Hammond crash-landing on Slattery’s Field, scattering the cows and damaging the tail of his biplane.

Despite his problems, Hammond’s aerial displays were the talk of the Exhibition. The Journal waxed lyrically about the flights saying that Hammond was “at times almost touching the blue and mottled sky, circling like a big bird in front of the grand stand, then darting off as if he was heading to fly over the entire city. Then soaring upwards, now swooping gracefully towards the earth.”

Described by the newspaper as handsome, blue-eyed and square-chinned, with an attractive personality, the daring, young aeronaut was also a big hit with the ladies. The Journal called him the “blue ribboned” boy” of the Exhibition. “Any man who would go up in an aeroplane the height he did yesterday when there was a thirty to forty mile and hour zephyr, shimmering around fifteen hundred feet up, can make himself a lion in the eyes of the ladies.”

On the last day of the Exhibition, before he left for Cassopolis, Michigan, the next stop on his exhibition tour, Hammond was thanked warmly by Earl Grey, the Governor General for his aerial displays.

A plaque commemorating Lee Hammond’s flights from Slattery’s Field, Ottawa’s first impromptu airfield, is mounted on the wall of the Hydro Ottawa substation located at 39 Riverdale Avenue. Lee Hammond died in 1932. Also commemorated on the substation wall is the landing of the first flight from Montreal to Ottawa made by William Robinson on 8 October 1913. Robinson was forced to use Slattery’s Field when, owing to his late arrival into Ottawa, the sports field at Lansdowne Park was being used by the Ottawa Rough Riders for football practice. Robinson delivered copies of the Montreal Daily Mail to senior federal and municipal leaders, including Prime Minister Borden and Ottawa Mayor Ellis as a publicity stunt to advertise the new newspaper.

 

Sources:

Citizen (The), 1911. “Ottawa May See First Aviator,” 11 September.

—————-, 1911. “Opening Day Of Exhibition Broke Records Of All Years,” 12 September.

—————-, 1911. “Ottawa Saw Real Aeroplanes,” 12 September.

Ellis, Frank H., 1954. Canada’s Flying Heritage, University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Ficke, George, 2005, “Lee Hammond,” The Early Birds Of Aviation, http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?object=nasm_A19500094000.

Fortier, R. 2009, “Canada’s First Aviation Meet – 1910,” Wings, https://www.wingsmagazine.com/, 26 June.

Globe, (The), 1910. “Count de Lesseps’ Flight Feature At Montreal,” 27 June.

Orléans Star, 2011. “Slattery’s Field Street marks 100 years of aviation in Ottawa,” 9 November, http://www.orleansstar.ca/News/Local/2011-11-09/article-2800460/Slatterys-Field-Street-marks-100-years-of-aviation-in-Ottawa/1.

Ottawa Evening Journal (The), 1910. “Prof. McKergow On Aviation,” 29 September.

————————————-, 1911. “Have An Aeroplane,” 10 April.

————————————-, 1911. “Ten Flights Cost $1,500,” 12 April.

————————————-, 1911. “Big Ottawa Celebration Opens On Monday For Annual Ottawa Fair,” 9 September.

————————————-, 1911. “Central Canada Fair Opens In Ideal Weather,” 11 September.

————————————-, 1911. “Daring Aviator Arrives,” 11 September.

————————————-, 1911. “Airship Mishap May Prevent Flight Today,” 12 September.

————————————-, 1911, “Lee Hammond: Daring Aviator Ready For flight At Exhibition Grounds,” 13 September.

————————————–, 1911. “Wold Fly Over Ottawa And Hull In Monplane, 15 September.

————————————–, 1911. “Thirty-Six Thousand At Fair Yesterday, 15 September.

————————————–, 1911. “Exhibition Figures Now Show Decrease,” 16 September.

————————————–, 1913. “Delivers Papers With Aeroplane,” 9 October.

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, 2016. “Baldwin Red Devil,” http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?object=nasm_A19500094000.

Von Baeyer, C. & Krywicki, K. 2013. “Slattery’s Field In Old Ottawa South–Ottawa’s First Accidental Airfield,” Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA), 2011, http://www.oldottawasouth.ca/oos/history-project/history-project/555-slatterys-field-in-old-ottawa-south-ottawas-first-accidental-airfield.

Image: Lee Hammond and Thomas Baldwin at the Cass. Co. Fair, September 1911, JAC-382, http://www.postcardgallery.com/page14%20avaition.htm.

Ottawa Enters the Automobile Age

11 September 1899

At the end of the nineteenth century, the world stood at the cusp of the automobile age. For decades, inventors, tinkerers, and entrepreneurs in Europe and North America had been working hard on developing a vehicle that could be driven on streets and highways without the aid of horses or other draught animals. In 1875, l’Obéissante, a steam-driven vehicle invented by Amédée-Ernest Bollée of France, which could carry twelve passengers, travelled from Le Mans to Paris in eighteen hours. Ten years later, Karl Benz invented the Motorwagen, the first automobile with a gasoline-powered engine. The first International Motor Show was held in Berlin in 1897. Also that year, battery-powered, electric automobiles, nicknamed “hummingbirds,” were introduced as taxis in London. According to the Annuaire Generale de l’Automobile, there were about 10,000 vehicles in Europe in 1899, of which roughly two-thirds were in France.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the American Duryea Brothers built their first internal combustion car in 1893. Three years later, Henry Ford and Ransom Eli Olds started production of gasoline-driven automobiles. In June 1899, there were only 72 automobiles in New York City, most of which were electric hansom cabs. In 1900, total U.S. vehicle production topped 4,000, with some 8,000 automobiles on American roads. By 1910, U.S. car production, led by the Ford and Buick companies, had ramped up to almost 130,000 units.

Canadians too were busy. Henry Seth Taylor, born in Stanstead, Quebec in 1833, is credited with building the first car in Canada, a four-wheeled steam buggy that he demonstrated at the Stanstead Fair in 1867. Sadly, it was not successful, and Taylor turned his attention to other inventions. In 1893, William Still and Frederick Featherstonehaugh built an electric automobile in Toronto that had a top speed of 15 miles per hour, and was showcased at the Toronto Industrial Exhibition of that year. Three years later, George Foot Foss of Sherbrooke, Quebec built a four-horsepower, one-cylinder, gasoline-powered vehicle, later dubbed the “Fossmobile.”

Warren Y. Soper, the partner of Thomas Ahearn in Ottawa’s electricity business that owned the Ottawa Electric Company and Ottawa’s tram system among other things, was an early automobile investor. He was one of a group that bought out Canada’s leading bicycle companies in 1899 to create the Canadian Cycle and Motor Company (CCM) that operated out of Toronto. While primarily a bicycle company, the new firm under President Walter Massey also began to produce automobiles, including the electric Ivanhoe from 1901-1904 and the Russell, an electric, two-passenger runabout produced from 1903 to 1916 by a CCM subsidiary, the Russell Motor Car Company. The Russell is considered Canada’s first, successful, production automobile.

At the turn of the century, the automobile was still a rich man’s toy. Cars were custom-made in very small workshops, and could easily cost $2,000-2,500, many times the average worker’s annual income. Assembly-line production, which was to lower the price of an automobile to within the grasp of the middle class, was still a decade or more in the future. But for the wealthy seeking a mode of transportation, an automobile was competitive with a traditional two-horse carriage. It also had the allure of a status symbol. In 1899, the Ottawa Journal noted that to own and operate a two-horse carriage in New York would cost $120 per month or more, excluding the cost of purchasing a “flash carriage.” This monthly bill, included $30 for the upkeep of each horse plus an additional $5-15 for shoeing and veterinarian bills, and a further $40 to pay the wages of a full-time coachman. By comparison, one could lease an automobile, complete with driver, for $180 per month, including the cost of repairs. In fine aristocratic style, the chauffeur could wear private livery while the lessee’s crest or monogram could be painted on the doors of the vehicle. Automobiles were also more spacious that horse-drawn carriages, and could go for longer distances.

When Ottawa got its first glimpse of the horseless carriage is a bit murky. A 1912 Ottawa Evening Journal article stated that first first automobile to grace Ottawa’s streets was a De Dion in 1898, driven by Harry Ketchum, the owner of an Ottawa bicycle company, who had imported it from France. The  one-cylinder vehicle, which had four spoke wheels, was described as a cross between a bicycle and an automobile, with something like a bicycle seat for the driver and a passenger seat “located dangerously near the front wheels.” However, there was no mention of the vehicle in the 1898 press. Moreover, the following year, when Thomas Ahearn drove down Sparks Street on 11 September 1899 in an electric automobile, the Journal described the car as Ottawa’s first.

Ahearn had imported the electric vehicle from Chicago. Earlier that year, he and W.W. Wylie, the manager and chief mechanic of the Ottawa Car Company, another firm owned by Ahearn and Soper that manufactured electric streetcars on Slater Street, had gone to an automobile show at Madison Square Gardens in New York. The two men were captivated by what they saw. The automobile they ordered was a two-seater, electric buggy with pneumatic tires that could run at five speeds, ranging from 2 to 15 miles per hour. It had a range of 50 miles on a single charge. The make of the vehicle was not reported.

The Journal said that the vehicle looked like an ordinary carriage except for the fact that there was a steering lever in front of the seat, and a brake rising through the floor in front of the dashboard. The storage battery was hidden within the body of the vehicle, with a meter in front of the driver showing the amount of charge available. Two buttons under the seat allowed the driver to turn on and off the current “at will.” The vehicle was also key-controlled to prevent it from being operated if left unattended. The keyhole was located under the seat. The automobile’s gearing, covered and dust-proof, was attached to the bottom of the carriage at the real axle. The vehicle weighed 1,000 pounds, and cost $1,600.

On that Monday morning, Thomas Ahearn drove down Sparks Street in front of hundreds of people who admired the passage of the swift and silent automobile. Seated beside Ahearn was Alexander Burritt, Ottawa’s City Registrar, who Ahearn chauffeured to his office—Ottawa’s first commute by car. Later that day, Ahearn and his son Franklin took a spin out to Britannia to witness work on the streetcar line that was under construction.  Afterwards, the vehicle was put on display at the 1899 Central Canada Exhibition.

Automobile 12-5-04

Automobile Advertisment, Wilson & Co., Ottawa, 12 May, 1904, The Ottawa Journal

While it may be uncertain whether it was Harry Ketchum or Thomas Ahearn who drove the first car on Ottawa’s streets, it appears that Ketchum sold the first car in Ottawa in 1902 to Dr Mark  McElhinney, later secretary of the Ottawa Valley Motor Car Association,  for $900. The make of the automobile is unknown. Ketchum also opened one of the first car dealerships in Ottawa. In early 1903, Ketchum & Company, which sold are repaired bicycles out of their premises in the Grant Building on the north-west corner of Bank and Sparks Streets, offered for sale the “pick of the American market,” including the “celebrated Winton Touring Car, the Stanhope, and a full line of Ramblers.” At roughly the same time, Wilson & Company marketed the Pierce Motorette, a single cylinder, gas powered vehicle made by the Pierce Arrow Automobile Company of Buffalo, New York, out of its offices at 142-146 Bank Street. It later added to its range the Pierce Stanhope and the top of the line Pierce Grand Arrow, as well as a Ford touring car, an Olds runabout, an Oriental Buckboard and the “made in Canada” electric Ivanhoe.

Despite eye-popping prices that started at roughly $600, orders for automobiles came pouring in. By August 1903, there were fourteen cars on Ottawa streets, eighty by mid-1905. Colonel Hurdman was the talk of the town when he purchase a $3,000 Pierce Arrow from Wilson & Company in May 1904. The two-cylinder, 18-horsepower vehicle was the first of its kind in Ottawa. It could carry five passengers comfortably, two in front and three in the “tonneau.”  The automobile was furnished with two burnished headlamps, and was painted blue and gold. It could travel 150 miles on one tank of gas.

Complaints about reckless drivers scaring horses and pedestrians alike also started to pour in. Recall that during these early years of motoring, people didn’t need to pass a government driving test in get behind a steering wheel. In August 1903, the Ontario government passed legislation restricting the speed of automobiles on any public highway within a town or city to 10 miles per hour. Racing was also forbidden, and when approaching a horse, the driver of an automobile had to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent frightening the animal. The fine for the first offence was $25; subsequent offences could lead to one month in prison.

Motoring bodies also provided guidance to new drivers who were instructed to obey the rules of the road, keep to the right and pass only on the left, and to respect the 10 miles per hour speed limit. Motorists were also cautioned that vehicles did not have right-of-way at street crossings (this was before street lights), and not to drink and drive. Apparently, nine-tenths of automobile accidents at that time involved intoxicated drivers.

Byward Market William James Topley  Library and Archives Canada  PA-009842

Byward Market, Upper photo taken circa 1895, William James Topley/Library Canada, C-005647. Lower photo taken circa 1920, Library & Archives Canda, C-006254. In roughly twenty-five years, horses all but vanished.

Byward Market, c.1920-30, LAC, C-006254

Of course accidents happened. The first automobile accident on Ottawa streets occurred at 10.30pm on 9 November 1903 when Joseph O’Grady of Britannia was run down by a car driven by Harry Ketchum at the corner of Maria Street (now Laurier Avenue) and Bank Street. After receiving immediate care from Allen’s Drugstore located at that corner, O’Grady was taken to the Water (Bruyère) Street Hospital to be treated for a broken leg. Ketchum said he was going “fairly slowly” when O’Grady, who had been waiting for a tram, walked onto the street in front of his automobile after failing to hear his horn. O’Grady did not blame Ketchum for the accident.

Needless to say, Harry Ketchum also received the first speeding ticket issued in Ottawa. In early June 1905, Constable Ethier charged him and Mr E.G. Shepherd with speeding and racing on Wellington Street. At their trial, the officer estimated that the two men were driving their vehicles in excess of 25 miles per hour, taking only seconds to traverse the distance between Kent and Bay Streets. Ketchum argued that the two cars could not have possibly been going faster than 10 miles per hour since Shepherd’s car was in poor condition. He brought in a professional chauffeur, Joseph Gentile, who had driven Shepherd’s car that same day to testify that the vehicle could not have exceeded the speed limit. Ketchum also testified that the two men had only pretended to have been racing. The judge, unable to arrive at any idea of the speed of the automobiles, dismissed the case.

While the introduction of the automobile and the demise of the horse and buggy had their drawbacks, including accidents, smells, and loud noises that disturbed the serenity of town and countryside, there were many positives, in addition, of course, to greater ease of travel and communication. Prior to the automobile, vast tracks of arable land were devoted solely to the production of fodder and grain to feed horses and other draught animals. It’s also often forgotten that animal waste posed serious pollution and disposal problems for cities. The spread of disease was another issue. As early as 1900, the Ottawa Journal reported the hope of the medical profession that “when automobiles glide through Ottawa streets and the horse is only used for pleasure,” that tetanus will almost completely disappear. The same article also hope that the arrival of the automobile would reduce the number of traffic accidents. It noted that in Paris where the automobile was already widely used, the proportion of accidents causing death involving automobiles was significantly lower than those involving horse-drawn vehicles.

Regardless of the pros and cons of the automobile, its allure proved irresistible. Within a few short years, the face of Ottawa was irrevocably changed. In 2011, there were 515,784 registered vehicles in Ottawa and 653,324 licensed drivers. Sadly that same year 3,690 people were injured in collisions with 25 fatalities.

Sources:

Bonikowsky, Laura, 2006, “Automobile,” Historica Canada, 2 February, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/automobile/.

Canada Science and Technology Museum, 2016, In Search of the Canadian Car, http://www.canadiancar.technomuses.ca/eng/frise_chronologique-timeline/1800/.

Farfan, Matthew, 2014, “Henry Seth Taylor (1833-1887) And Canada’s First Car,” Townships Heritage Web Magazine, http://townshipsheritage.com/article/henry-seth-taylor-1833-1887-and-canadas-first-car.

General Motors Heritage Center, Olds, Ranson Eli, https://history.gmheritagecenter.com/wiki/index.php/Olds,_Ransom_Eli.

German National Tourist Board, 2016. Home of the Car, Milestones in the German automotive industry, http://www.germany.travel/en/specials/home-of-the-car/history/history.html.

History, 1991. “Automobiles,” http://www.history.com/topics/automobiles.

Kichissippi Times, 2014. “This 101-year old company began with one great idea,” http://kitchissippi.com/2014/09/18/history-of-ketchum-manufacturing-westboro/.

McGenty, George, 2014, “CCM – The Best Bikes In Town,” Presentation, 25 October 2013, Historical Society of Ottawa, January 2014, http://hsottawa.ncf.ca/Dnlds/HSONewsJan14.pdf.

Ottawa Citizen (The), 1899. “Sunday at the Fair,” 18 September.

Ottawa, City of, 2015. 2011 Ottawa Road Safety Report, http://ottawa.ca/en/2011-ottawa-road-safety-report.

Ottawa Journal (The), 1899. “Cost Of An Automobile,” 10 June.

————————–, 1899. “A $6,000,000 Company,” 22 August.

————————–, 1899. “The First Automobile,” 7 September.

————————–, 1899. “A Trip In An Automobile,” 11 September 1899.

————————–, 1899. “Annuaire Generale de l’Automobile,” 23 November.

————————–, 1903. “Lockjaw And Automobiles,” 25 January.

————————–, 1903. “Local Automobilists Say Objecting Cabmen Are Jealous,” 18 August.

————————–, 1903. “First Automobile Accident,” 10 November.

————————–, 1904. “A New Automobile Store For Ottawa,” 26 April.

————————–, 1904. “Col. Hurdman Buys $3,000 Pierce Arrow,” 10 May.

————————–, 1905. “Automobile Road Rules,” 17 March.

————————–, 1905. “Dangerous Automobiles,” 8 June.

————————–, 1905, “Fast Ride In Automobile,” 15 June.

————————–, 1912. “Change In Motor Cars.” 10 February.

The Early Electric Car Site, 2016. Car Companies, http://www.earlyelectric.com/carcompanies.html.

The Old Motor, 2014. The Pierce-Arrow — the Pride of Buffalo, New York, 7 March, http://theoldmotor.com/?p=116215.

An Electric Banquet

29 August 1892

During the late nineteenth century, electricity was the cutting-edge, new technology, and Ottawa was Canada’s high-tech capital, thanks to two factors—the inventive skills of Thomas Ahearn, the Ottawa-born technological genius and entrepreneur, and the power-generating ability of the Chaudière Falls. Ahearn and his partner, Warren Soper, were responsible for lighting Ottawa’s streets with electric lights years ahead of other Canadian cities, and for providing Canada’s Parliament with indoor, electric lighting long before the U.S. Congress could boast such amenities. Ahearn and Soper also built and operated Ottawa’s electrified urban transit system, the Ottawa Electric Street Railway, whose carriages were electrically heated using one of Ahearn’s patented devices. Confounding the “experts,” Ottawa’s electric trams operated through the winter owing to yet another Ahearn invention, an electric snow plough. Ottawa was a great testing ground for electrical devices due to its proximity to the Chaudière Falls, the source of relatively inexpensive hydro power which was exploited by another Ahearn and Soper company, the Chaudière Electric Light and Power Company.

Oven

A pictorial description of Thomas Ahearn’s electric oven. Canadian Patent Office, 1892.

In August 1892, the Canadian Patent Office issued three patents to Thomas Ahearn. Sandwiched between his electric water bottle and his electric flat iron, was patent no. 39,916 for the electric oven. It was described as “An oven having in its hearth inclosed (sic) pits in which electric heaters are placed.” Just like modern ovens, the interior of Ahearn’s oven was lit by incandescent lamps that allowed a person to monitor whatever was being cooked through a glass window.

While some accounts suggest that the Carpenter Electric Heating Company of Philadelphia had invented the electric oven a year before Ahearn was granted his patent in Canada, there is no doubt that the first dinner entirely cooked using electricity took place in Ottawa on 29 August 1892 at the Windsor House hotel. According to a bemused Ottawa Journal journalist, “a complete repast, comprising a number of courses” was cooked “by the agency of chained lightning.” The hotel proudly proclaimed on its menu that “Every item … has been cooked by the electric heating appliance invented and patented by Mr T. Ahearn of Ahearn & Soper of this city and is the first instance in the history of the world of an entire meal being cooked by electricity.” Even the soup, sauces, and after-dinner coffee and tea were prepared using Ahearn’s electric heaters.

The dinner, or more accurately the feast of some thirty different items, consisted of:

Soup

Consommé Royal

Fish

Saginaw Trout with Potatoes, Croquettes, Sauce Tartar

Boiled

Sugar-Cured Ham, Champagne Sauce,

Spring Chickens with Parsley Sauce

Beef Tongue, Sauce Piquant

Roasts

Sirloin of Beef and Horse Radish

Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

Stuffed Loin of Veal, Lemon Sauce

Entrées

Larded Sweetbreads with Mushrooms

Lamb Cutlets with Green Peas, and Strawberry Puffs

Vegetables

Potatoes, Plain and Mashed

Green Corn, Escalloped Tomatoes

Vegetable Marrow

Pudding and Pastry

Apple Soufflés, Wine Sauce

Apple Pie, Black Current Tarts, Chocolate Cake

Coconut Drops, Vanilla Ice Cream, Maraschino Jelly

Fruits

Apples, Raisins, English Walnuts,

Almonds, Watermelon, Grapes

Black Tea, Green Tea, Coffee

Cheese, Biscuits

One hundred guests were invited by the hotel’s proprietor, Mr Daniels, to enjoy the banquet. The guest list included Ottawa’s Mayor Olivier Durocher, Warren Soper, as well as the presidents of the Ottawa Electric Railway and the Chaudière Electric Light and Power Companies. Also in attendance were numerous newspaper reporters that ensured widespread publicity. The meal was prepared at the electric tram sheds owned by Ahearn and Soper, and rushed by a special carriage to the hotel located several blocks away. The meal included a twenty-one pound roast of beef, a thirteen pound roast of veal, and three big turkeys that were cooked simultaneously in the cavernous Ahearn oven; apparently, the oven could accommodate twice that amount.

After the meal, which was acclaimed as a huge success, with everything “cooked to perfection,” the guests boarded another special tram and taken to view the oven at the tram sheds. There, Thomas Ahearn, who had stayed back to supervise his oven’s operation, provided an explanatory lecture. The arched brick oven was six feet wide with two Ahearn electric heaters installed in the bottom, powered by electricity generated by the Chaudière Electric Light and Power Company. The “current consumed by the two [heaters] was 43 amperes at 50 volts.”  The inside of the oven measured four feet by four feet. Peepholes, covered with heavy plate glass, permitted the chefs to observe the progress of the cooking without having to open the door. A major selling feature was the even cooking of the oven—“no scorching in one part and half-done-ness in another part” said the Evening Journal. As a vote of confidence in the new electric oven, Mr Daniels, the owner of the Windsor House hotel, ordered one of Ahearn’s newly patented ovens to be installed in the hotel’s kitchen.

Oven Ahearn

Thomas Ahearn’s Oven In Operation At the Central Canada Exhibition, Ottawa, October 1892.

A few weeks later, there was another, even larger scale, demonstration of Ahearn’s Electric Cooking Oven at the Central Canada Exhibition held in Ottawa. As part of a display of Ahearn electrical products, including electric home heaters, coffee boilers, and special restaurant heaters, a local baker, Mr R.E. Jamieson, used the oven to bake buns, twelve pans at a time, that he sold to the crowds at twenty-five cents each. This was an extraordinary price. A multi-course meal at the Café Parisien on Metcalfe Street could be had for only forty cents. The Electrical Engineer, a New York-based electrical trade journal, quipped that  the expression “‘Went off like hot cakes’ now reads in Ottawa ‘went off like electric cakes.’”

The Ahearn oven that the baker used was slightly different from the one used for the Windsor House banquet, having three heating elements instead of two. The extra element was needed to provide additional heat to offset heat loss through the frequent opening of the door in the cooking of multiple rounds of buns. The oven was also equipped with a pyrometer, turn-off switches, interior lights, and a clock. The oven was the hit of the Fair. Thomas Ahearn was awarded a special gold medal for his display of electrical devices.

While Thomas Ahearn and Warren Soper were successful entrepreneurs, making fortunes from their electrically-based, business empire, the Ahearn electric oven proved to be a dud. It was too bulky to be easily used as a household appliance. As well, few homes or businesses were wired for electricity. Even where electricity was available, electric ovens, being energy gluttons, were expensive to operate, and were not initially competitive with the more familiar wood, coal, or gas ovens. It wasn’t until the 1930s that electric ovens became widely accepted.

 

Sources:

Canadian Patent Office Record and Registrar of Copyrights and Trade Marks, 1893. No, 39,916, Electric Oven, Four Électrique. Vol. 20, Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau.

Daily (The) Citizen, 1892. “Café Parisien,” 8 October.

Electricity, 1893. An Electric Banquet, 14 September, 1892, Volume 3, July 20, 1892 to January 11, 1893.

Electrical (The) Engineer, 1892. Electric Cooking At Ottawa, Can., Volume 14, July-December.

Electrical Review, 1893. A Course Dinner Cooked By Electricity, Volume 21-23, August 27, 1892 to February 18, 1893.

Evening (The) Journal, 1892. “An Electric Banquet,” 30 August.

Innovateus, 2013. Electric Stove, http://www.innovateus.net/content/electric-stove.

Library and Archives Canada, 2006. Made in Canada, Patents of Invention and the Story of Canadian Innovation, Thomas Ahearn, https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/innovations/023020-3010-e.html.

Mayer, Roy. 1997. Inventing Canada: One Hundred Years of Innovation, Vancouver: Raincoast Books.

National Academy of Engineering, 2015. Great Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century, http://www.greatachievements.org/.

Images:

Patent No. 39,916, Ahearn Electric Oven, The Canadian Patent Office Record And Registrar of Copyrights and Trade Marks, Vol. 20, Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1893.

Thomas Ahearn’s Oven in Operation, Canada Central Fair, Ottawa, October 1892, The Electrical Engineer, “Electric Cooking at Ottawa, Can.,” Volume 14, July-December, author unknown.

The NABU Network

26 October 1983

By the early 1980s, Ottawa was a hot-bed of high tech activity. Surrounding established companies, such as Bell Northern Research and Mitel, a cluster of small, ambitious telecommunications and computer-related firms with exotic names had emerged. These included Gandalf Data, Norpak, Xicom, and Orcatech, to name but a few. Many fizzed for a while, only to quickly disappear due to competition, rapidly changing technology, weak consumer demand, and inadequate funding. One that for a time stood out from the pack was NABU. Named for the Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, NABU was an acronym for “Natural Access to Bidirectional Utilities.” In its initial incarnation, the start-up was formally known as NABU Manufacturing Corporation. It was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in December 1982, raising $26 million in its initial public offering. The Ottawa-area company was itself the product of a number of mergers and acquisitions, including Bruce Instruments of Almonte, a manufacturer of remote television converters, Computer Innovations, a seller of computer hardware and software, Mobius Software, Andicon Technical Products of Toronto, a producer of small business computers, Volker-Craig of Kitchener, a manufacturer of video-display terminals, and Consolidated Computer Inc.(CCI), a relatively large, but troubled, government-owned, Canadian computer manufacturer and distributor. NABU bought CCI for one dollar from the federal government after the company had burned through $118 million of taxpayers’ money.

With close to 900 employees, half of whom were based in the Ottawa area, NABU had a multi-faceted business strategy. First, it planned to take on the business market, selling desk-top computers for word processing and data management. Initially producing the NABU 1100 in its Almonte plant, it released the 16-bit NABU 1600 in 1983. The 1600 version had 256 kilobytes of random-access memory (RAM), expandable to 512K, and a 10-megabyte hard drive, and used Intel’s 8086 processor. (Today’s laptop computers have eight to sixteen gigabytes of RAM, with up to 4 terabytes of hard drive, though with cloud computing, the sky is the limit for data storage.) It also came with a high density mini-floppy disk drive with storage for 800K of formatted data. Three people could use the NABU computer simultaneously doing different tasks. The price for the NABU 1600 was a breathtaking $9,800, equivalent to more than $21,000 in today’s money.

Second, NABU aimed to produce the first Canadian microcomputer for home use, taking on the likes of Commodore, IBM, Xerox, and a fledgling company that had gone public in December 1980 called Apple Computer. Third, the company envisaged selling on-line services to households. After buying or renting a NABU home microcomputer, and using its television as a monitor, a familiy could access programmes and data stored in NABU’s central server (a DEC mainframe) through a cable company’s broadband network. As the transmission of television signals only used a portion of the information-carrying capacity of cable networks, there was ample space for the transmission of other data-carrying services without degrading the television signals. The speed that the data could be transmitted on the coaxial cables employed by the cable companies (6.5 megabits per second) was also hundreds of times faster than what could be achieved over telephone lines.

NABU Ad

Canadian magician Doug Henning was enlisted to help publicize the NABU Network, 1984.

By joining what was advertised as the NABU Network, cable company subscribers who bought the NABU package of services would have access to a wide range of educational and financial programmes, video games, news, weather, sports, and financial data including stock market quotations. In addition to consulting the Ottawa Citizen’s “Dining Out” guide, subscribers could read their daily horoscope, learn to type, balance household budgets, and improve their maths skills. A number of video games were also developed specifically for NABU with the help of another talented Ottawa firm, Atkinson Film Arts, featuring the comic strip characters, the Wizard of Id and B.C. In one game, called The Spook, billed to be superior to the popular arcade game Pac-Man, a player could guide a character through the dungeons of the kingdom of Id to freedom. Subscribers also had access to the space games Demotrons and Astrolander, a tennis game, and a downhill skiing game.

An even more outstanding feature of the NABU Network was two-way communication made possible by Telidon, a videotext/teletext service developed by the Canadian Communications Research Centre. NABU envisaged subscribers doing their banking and shopping from the comfort of their home. Also possible were electronic mail and remote data storage—an early form of cloud computing. In essence, NABU had foreshadowed today’s wired world, a decade before the launch of the Internet.

After rolling out their home computers at the end of May 1983, NABU launched its Network services in Ottawa on 26 October 1983. Initially, the service was only available to Ottawa Cablevision subscribers, i.e. people who resided west of Bank Street. One could purchase the NABU home computer for $950, or rent the unit for $19.95 per month, plus an addition $9.95 for NABU’s “lifestyle software.” For this price, one received the NABU 80K personal computer, a cable adaptor, a keyboard, a games controller, and thirty lifestyle games and programmes; the inventory of games and programmes later rose to roughly one hundred. For an extra $4.95 per month, subscribers had access to LOGO, an educational-based programming language, and LOGO-based programmes. NABU executives hoped to receive orders from at least five per cent of Ottawa Cablevision’s 90,000 customers within six months. In early 1984, the service was made available to subscribers of Skyline Cablevision, i.e. people who resided east of Bank Street. The plan was to introduce the NABU Network to forty cities across North American by the end of 1985. NABU’s first foray into the U.S. market took place in Alexandria, Virginia, close to Washington D.C., in the spring of 1984. To lead the U.S. charge, NABU hired Thomas Wheeler, former president of the US National Cable Television Association.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. When NABU’s line of business computers failed to meet expectations, the company hunkered down to focus on its more promising NABU Network. A corporate restructuring at the end of October 1983 led to the NABU Manufacturing Corporation being split into two companies, the NABU Network Corporation and Computer Innovations. The latter company quickly disappeared into oblivion. NABU Network struggled on for a time. By late 1984, it had about 1,500 customers in the Ottawa region, and a further 700 in Alexandria. This was not enough to make the enterprise viable. With the home computer market seen as being too competitive, the company de-emphasized its proprietary hardware to focus on the delivery of its software. In in a last ditch effort to attract subscribers, adaptors were offered so that owners of Commodore and other home computers could access the NABU Network.

It was not enough. In November 1984, the Campeau Corporation, NABU’s principal shareholder and largest creditor, pulled the plug on the failing enterprise. Having already invested more than $25 million, and, with little indication that NABU could attract sufficient subscribers to break even, let alone turn a profit, Campeau was unwilling to pour more money into the venture. NABU’s remaining 200 employees were laid off. John Kelly resigned as CEO and chairman of the NABU Network Corporation. Trading in NABU Network shares were suspended, with the company delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange in January 1985. When it finally provided financial statements as of September 1984, the company had assets of only $4 million, with liabilities of $30 million. NABU shares, which were sold for $12.75 each at the company’s IPO two years earlier, were worthless.

Still confident about the concept of linking home computers to a central server using cable networks, Kelly formed a new, private company called the NABU Network (1984) to continue providing programmes and video games under licence to NABU subscribers in Ottawa; the U.S. service in Alexandria was discontinued. The new successor company hired back roughly 30 of the staff previously laid off. Subscriptions were sold door-to-door by Amway. Forever the optimist, Kelly hoped to have 6,000-8,000 subscribers by the summer of 1986. It was not to be. Limping along for eighteen months, the company ceased operations at the end of August 1986. The NABU Network dream was no more.

Why did NABU Network fail? In 1986, Kelly attributed its failure to the network concept being “ahead of its time,” and a slump in the home computer industry that killed the NABU personal computer. Part of the problem was that home computers themselves were not widely accepted; relatively few homes had them in the mid-80s. Many saw them as expensive toys rather than an indispensable part of everyday life. Content on the NABU Network was also an issue. Thomas Wheeler, who headed the company’s U.S. operations, and who is currently the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States, attributed the company’s failure to its dependence on cable company operators for its subscribers. In contrast, America Online (AOL) in the United States, which launched a similar, but far inferior, dial-up service in 1989, was wildly successful, at least for a time. Wheeler credits AOL’s success to it being available to anyone with a telephone and a modem. Ironically, cable companies later became important internet service providers.

In 2005, the York University Computer Museum began a programme to reconstruct the NABU Network, and develop an on-line collection documenting the NABU technology. It called the NABU Network “a technologically and culturally significant achievement.” Four years later, the Museum’s version of the NABU network was officially demonstrated. There for the event was John Kelly, NABU’s president and chief executive officer.

Sources:

IEEE Canada, 200? (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), The Internet Before Its Time: NABU Network in the Nation’s Capital, http://www.ieee.ca/millennium/telidon/telidon_nabu.html.

McCracken, Harry, 2010. “A History of AOL, as Told in its Own Old Press Releases,” Technologizer, 24 May, http://www.technologizer.com/2010/05/24/aol-anniversary/.

Montreal Gazette (The), 1983. “Nabu banking on its ‘network.’” 18 November.

———————–, 1985. “Amway to sell Nabu software,” 29 January.

———————–, 1985. “Nabu files statement,” 1 March.

Ottawa Citizen (The), 1982. “Nabu goal: To make first Canadian microcomputers,” 23 March.

——————-, 1982. “Nabu adds videogames to service, 31 May.

——————-, 1982. “Nabu teaches computer ‘albatross” how to fly again,” 8 December.

——————-, 1983. “Nabu 1600 hits market across U.S., 27 May.

——————-, 1983. “Nabu 16-Bit Micro Features Intel 8086, 8087 Co-Processors,” 26 October.

——————-, 1983. “World’s first cable-TV computer on line,” 26 October.

——————-, 1983. “The Magic of The Nabu Network, 28 October.

——————-, 1984. “Skyline cable custmoers to get Nabu Network,” 25 April.

——————-, 1984. “Nabu Network reports $2.5 million loss,” 29 May.

——————-, 1984. “Role of Nabu’s own computer played down,” 19 June.

——————-, 1984. “Nabu proving technology before any expansion,” 19 June.

——————-, 1984. “Nabu chief forms new company,” 23 November.

——————-, 1985. “Trading stopped on Nabu shares by Ontario Securities Commission,” 24 January.

——————-, 1986. “Plug finally pulled on failing Nabu Network,” 19 July.

Reyes, Julian, 2014. “How Tom Wheeler Almost Invested The Internet,” Fusion, 27 May, http://fusion.net/story/5748/how-tom-wheeler-almost-invented-the-internet/.

Wheeler, Tom, 2015, “This is how we will ensure net neutrality,” Wired, 4 February, http://www.wired.com/2015/02/fcc-chairman-wheeler-net-neutrality/.

York University, 2009. NABU Network Reconstruction Project at YUCoM, (York University Computer Museum), http://www.cse.yorku.ca/museum/research/NABU.htm.

The Arrival of the R-100

10 August 1930

When we think  of airships what typically comes to mind are German Zeppelins, and the tragic crash of the Hindenburg. That disaster, which occurred in Lakeport, New Jersey in May 1937 and claimed the lives of 36 people, was seared into our collective consciousness by the dramatic newsreel footage of the crash, as well as the heart-rending radio broadcast of Herbert Morrison who reported on the accident as it happened. The tragedy put an end to the pre-war dream of a lighter-than-air, transatlantic, passenger service that could rival the fastest ocean liners.

Much less well-known is the British airship scheme. It was the brainchild of Sir Dennis (Dennistoun) Burney who dreamed of building an imperial airship service that would link the far-flung British Empire. Winning the support of the Labour Government of Ramsay MacDonald, Burney’s plan was put into action in 1924. The government decided to fund two competing teams, one from the private sector and the other from the public sector. Each would build an airship to the same specifications. The R-100, referred to as the “capitalist” ship, was designed and constructed under a fixed contract by the Airship Guarantee Company, a subsidiary of Vickers Ltd, a large British armaments firm. Burney became the managing director of the airship subsidiary. The R-100’s chief designer was Barnes Wallis. The R-101, the “socialist” ship, was built by the Royal Airship Works owned by the Air Ministry. The two teams were extremely hostile to each other. There was virtually no communication between the two groups while the two airships were under development.

It took five years to design and built the airships. Without electronic calculators or computers, all the calculations to determine the forces and stresses on each airship part had to be done by hand, or by slide rule, a process that took months to complete, check and double check. The novelist Nevil Shute, who was the Chief Calculator on the R-100 design team, and later the Deputy Chief Engineer, said that he filled “perhaps fifty foolscap sheets of closely pencilled figures.”

At 706 feet in length with a diameter of 130 feet, and a volume of more than 5 million cubic feet, the R-100 was as big as an ocean liner. But when its fourteen gas bags were filled, it was as light as a feather. The slightest breeze could move it. The easily-torn, fabric gas bags were made of linen lined with “gold-beater’s skin,” a thin, transparent membrane with a high tensile strength. Hydrogen was used for lift since it was far cheaper to manufacture than helium. People were aware of the fire danger of using hydrogen, but it was expected that any escaping gas, being lighter than air, would simply float upward out of harm’s way. The “tare” weight of the airship was roughly 102 tons. With a “gross” weight of 156 tons, it had a lifting capacity of about 54 tons. Powered by six Condor, petrol airplane engines, the R-100 had a top speed of 81 miles per hour, and cruised at 70 miles per hour.

The contract for the R-100 called for a demonstration flight to India. However, with the decision to use petrol engines, the destination was changed to Canada on the erroneous belief that the use of petrol engines in the tropics would be unsafe. Instead, the Air Ministry decided to send the R-101, which was powered by diesel engines, to Karachi, then part of British India, on its demonstration flight.

After seven short testing flights during early 1930, the R-100 left RAF Cardington airfield in Bedfordshire north of London at 3.50am on 29 July 1930 bound for Montreal. There was a lot riding on a successful trip. The Great Depression was underway. It was evident to all that the government would be unable to indefinitely fund two separate airship teams. A choice would have to be made that would send the losing team to the dole line.

His Majesty's Airship R-100 at its mooring pier, St Hubert, Quebec

His Majesty’s Airship R-100, St Hubert, Quebec, August 1930

According to Nevil Shute, the R-100’s flight across the Atlantic was very comfortable though there were a number of minor problems. Some large tears in the gas bags had to be repaired en route. While the riggers were equipped with safety belts, “which they could sometimes hitch [] to a wire,” they had to tight-walk their way out to the holes with nothing beneath them but the St Lawrence River, 1,000 feet below. The R-100 arrived at its mooring at the St Hubert airfield east of Montreal on 1 August after a flight of 78 hours, having journeyed 3,300 miles at an average ground speed of 42 miles per hour.

The airship received a rapturous welcome. During its stay in Montreal, hundreds of thousands of people visited the airfield to get a close-up look at the great air vessel. Posters of its picture were plastered across the city. Even a song was written about it. On 10 August, the R-100 took a 24-hour local flight over Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara Falls, before returning to Montreal. On board were a number of prominent Canadian military figures. It was hoped that if the Canadian government was impressed, it would contribute funds that would help make Burney’s dream of a trans-Empire airship service a reality.

The R-100 was scheduled to arrive over Ottawa from St Hubert at about 8pm on Sunday, 10 August. But the airship was delayed by roughly two hours due to a late departure owing to rain squalls. Bulletins giving its position and estimated time of arrival were released by the long-range wireless station of the Royal Canadian Signals Corps that maintained communications with the airship. If anything, the delay magnified the excitement of the crowds that occupied every open field, roof top, and driveway. It was estimated that 35,000 waited on Parliament Hill and Nepean Point for the arrival of the airship.

The R-100’s two vertical nose lights were first spotted coming from the southeast at about 9.35pm. Several minutes later, searchlights began to pick out the huge dark bulk in the night sky that blotted out the stars. Finally, with its engines roaring, it flew at an altitude of about 1,500 feet northward above O’Connor Street to hover over Parliament Hill. Illuminated by the city’s lights, one could easily read its name “R-100” on its side, and its smaller registration markings “G-FAAV.” The Ottawa Evening Journal found the experience both moving and disturbing, saying that sight of the airship “combined the creepy thrills of war-time air raids by stealthy Zeppelins with the delicious illusion of dreamland phantasy.” With the airship over Parliament Hill, the parliamentary carillon played “Rule Britannia” and other patriotic songs. The R-100 then dipped its nose up and down towards the Peace Tower in salute of the soldiers who died in the Great War while the carillon played “God Save The King.”

The silver airship made three great circles over the Ottawa-Hull area before heading towards Carleton Place and onward to Kingston, Toronto, and Niagara Falls. During its time above the national capital, two-way telephone communication was established connecting Commander Booth of the R-100 with Prime Minister R.B. Bennett and Ottawa Mayor Frank Plant. The telephone conversations were carried live over Ottawa’s CBC radio station CNRO. The prime minister and the mayor welcomed the R-100 to Ottawa and congratulated its officers, crew and the airship’s design team. Mayor Plant, described the R-100 as a “worthy successor to the stout ships of British oak which ruled the waves.”

After its tour over southern Ontario, the R-100 returned to the St Hubert airfield to ready itself for its return trip to Britain. It left Montreal on 13 August, 1930, arriving back at RAF Cardington 57 1/2 hours later. On board were eleven Canadians, mostly journalists. It was the last flight of His Majesty’s Airship R-100.

Six weeks later, on 4 October 1930, its sister ship, the R-101, left for India on its long-distance demonstration flight. On board was Lord Thomson of Cardington, the Secretary of State for Air who had overall responsibility within government for the airship programme. Roughly seven hours after its launch, the airship crashed in bad weather near Beauvais, France, north of Paris. Of the 54 persons on board, only 6 survived. Lord Thomson was among the fatalities.

According to Nevil Shute, the successful return flight of the R-100 between Britain and Canada was in part responsible for the crash as it put undue pressure on the R-101 team to match the R-100’s success even though the R-101 was unready. He pointed the finger at a number of serious known problems, which included weaknesses in the outer cover, chafing gas bags, and leaking gas valves, all of which he claimed were minimized in order to get the ship aloft. Bad weather, including high winds over France, were also ignored despite the fact that one of the airship’s engines wasn’t working. The source of the pressure was apparently Lord Thomson who was eager to demonstrate the capabilities of the R-101 before the 1930 Imperial Conference convened in London on 20 October. At the conference, the Imperial Airship programme was scheduled to be discussed. The responsible engineers, faced with the choice of scrubbing the flight and earning Lord Thomson’s wrath, or taking a chance, decided to go ahead. They lost the gamble, and their lives.

With the crash of the R-101, the British airship scheme also died. Despite its successful trans-Atlantic flight, the R-100 was deflated by the Air Ministry, and was sold for scrap in 1931 for £600.

Today, more than eighty years after the R-101 disaster, there is renewed interest in lighter-than-air vessels. At the Cardington airfield, the same airfield from which the R-100 and the R-101 set off on their fateful long-distance trips, work is progressing on a twenty-first century version of the airship—the Airlander 10. Much smaller than the old R-100 and R-101, it has a high-tech. polymer outer covering, and is filled with non-flammable helium. Investors in the Airlander, which include the British government, hope that there is a market for a greener alternative to trucks or airplanes, especially for deliveries of goods and people to places that are off the beaten track.

Sources:

Ars Technica, 2015. “Airlander 10: World’s largest aircraft slowly drifts toward commercial use,” 8 April, http://arstechnica.com/cars/2015/04/airlander-10-worlds-largest-aircraft-slowly-drifts-towards-commercial-use/.

Shute, Nevil. 2009. Slide Rule, Vintage Books: London.

The Evening Citizen. 1930. “Ottawa Thrilled As Great Air Liner Appears,” 11 August.

The Ottawa Evening Journal, 1930. “R-100 Expected Over Ottawa After 8pm Sunday,” 9 August.

———————————–, 1930, “R-100 Thrills May Thousand Over Ontario, 11 August.

———————————–, 1930. “Thousands See R-100 In Flight Over The Capital, 11 August.

———————————–, 1930. “Bennett and Plant Talk Over Radio to R-100 Officers,” 11 August.

Image: R.100, 9 August 1930, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R100.

Television Arrives In Ottawa

2 June 1953

By the late 1930s, commercial television broadcasting was ready for “prime time” after years of experimentation, first with mechanical systems and later with electronic systems. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is credited with the first “high-definition” television broadcast when it began regularly scheduled transmissions in late 1936 from its studios at the Alexandra Palace in London using Marconi-EMI’s fully electronic system. “High definition” in this context should not to be confused with today’s high-definition television.  The BBC was broadcasting with just 405 lines of resolution, much less than the 720-1,080 lines considered to be high definition today. Its broadcast resolution was, however, far superior to that of earlier broadcasting systems that had resolutions ranging from roughly 30 to 204 lines. The BBC station’s range was officially only forty kilometres, though unofficially it could reach much farther depending on atmospheric conditions. BBC television quickly became a big hit; the hot, new gift in London during the 1937 Christmas season was the television set. Some 10,000 receivers were sold. But progress came to a halt at the outbreak of World War II when the BBC suspended its broadcasts owing to fears that German bombers could use its signal to home in onto London. BBC technicians were also needed elsewhere to support the war effort.

In North America, experimentation also went into high gear during the 1930s. The Canadian experimental station VE9EC, owned by La Presse and CKAC radio in Montreal, broadcasted during the early years of the decade using mechanical systems with 60-150 lines of resolution. In the United States, a number of competing broadcasting systems were also being tested and perfected. The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) began regular experimental television broadcasts in New York City in the spring of 1939, transmitting monochrome (i.e., black and white) programmes from the top of the Empire State Building. RCA’s television subsidiary became the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). That same year, RCA began to ramp up its production of television receivers for sale to the general public. RCA also demonstrated the television at the 1939 Canadian National Exposition in Toronto, marketing it as “science’s most modern miracle,” that will soon feature in every home. In 1940, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) began regular black-and-white television broadcasting in the United States. In the spring of the following year, U.S. regulators adopted the 525-line resolution as the standard for the American television industry, allowing commercial television to move out of its experimental phase. However, like in Britain, the United States’ entry into the war delayed a wider roll-out of commercial television as vacuum tubes used in television sets were required for defence purposes.

With the war’s end in 1945, television took off in the United States. While initially confined to the major urban centres, the number of stations rose from 16 in 1948 to 354 by 1954. In 1947, 179,000 television sets were produced in the United States. By 1953, annual production was more than 7.2 million. This compares with only 2,000 receivers in use at the end of 1939.

Notwithstanding its success south of the border, television was slow to come to Canada. In 1947, senior Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) officials declared that “the time had not yet come for the general development of television on a sound basis in Canada.” Not surprisingly, given the burgeoning growth of U.S. television, there was criticism that CBC was dragging its feet. There were also fears that Canada was falling behind the United States and other competitors in the technology race. Two related and highly political issues were delaying television’s Canadian debut—ownership and funding. The big question was whether Canada should have a national, state-owned television network, similar to publicly-owned networks in Europe, which would promote Canadian values and culture, or allow private television networks, as in the United States, that might be foreign owned, and broadcast foreign shows. There was also considerable controversy about the cost of building a Canada-wide television network. The initial funding for CBC television was placed at $4.5 million (roughly $46 million today). Later, material shortages were also cited as delaying the building of stations, with expansion beyond Toronto and Montreal dependent on the defence production programme associated with the Korean War.

In part, the government’s hand was forced by US border stations whose signals could be picked up by Canadians living close to the U.S. border. In Ottawa, the signal from the NBC affiliate WSYR-TV from Syracuse, New York could be picked up from early September 1951. The Evening Citizen reported that a Mr Kitchen of 350 Chapel Street managed to receive a good video signal with his home-made antenna and three home-made boosters. Canadian television was finally born on 6 September 1952 when CBC’s Montreal station CBFT began regular programme broadcasts. Its Toronto station, CBLT, commenced broadcasting two days later.

First programme listing for Ottawa channel CBOT, 30 May 1953, Ottawa Evening Citizen

First programme listing for CBOT, The Ottawa Evening Citizen, 30 May 1953

Canadian television officially arrived in Ottawa at 2pm on 2 June 1953 when CBOT, the CBC’s third station, began regular broadcasting. Using equipment supplied by Marconi’s Wireless and Telegraph Company of Montreal, the station initially had a range of only 15 miles (24 kilometres). Its signal was later boosted to have a range of 40 miles (65 kilometres). Found on channel 4 on the television dial, CBOT actually started testing its equipment roughly two weeks earlier when a microwave relay tower built on the top of the Bell Telephone Building on O’Connor Street became operational. The microwave system, which could simultaneously carry both telephone and television signals, linked Ottawa to Toronto and Montreal. After test programmes were transmitted with “astonishing clarity” over the long May weekend, the station felt confident enough to list its programming schedule for Saturday, 30 May in the newspaper, albeit with a warning that it was still operating on an experimental basis. The station, which broadcasted for less than four hours that day, started at 6.45pm with Uncle Chichimus, the much beloved Toronto-based production starring John Conway and his two puppets, Uncle Chichimus and Hollyhock. The evening’s entertainment ended with an hour of wrestling starting at 9.30pm. During these early days of television, CBOT, like the Montreal station CBFT, offered programs in both English and French, a practice that continued until Radio Canada had its own stations.  That first night’s French-language program was called Télescope.

The official launch of CBOT on 2 June 1953 was timed to coincide with an event guaranteed to attract the largest audience possible—the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Not only were celebratory events on Parliament Hill in Ottawa televised on the three CBC stations, but the entire Coronation ceremony from London with a delay of only four hours. In “Operation Pony Express,” three RAF Canberra bombers flew film footage across the Atlantic from North Weald Airport outside of London to Goose Bay, Newfoundland, with the first plane carrying the first two hours of film coverage, with the other two planes following with later hours of coverage. In Goose Bay, the film canisters were transferred onto RCAF CF-100 fighters for the flight to the St Hubert Airport outside of Montreal. A truck then took the film to the Radio Canada building in downtown Montreal for broadcasting, with simultaneous viewing in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. Coverage of the Coronation from London started at 4.30pm, after a broadcast of the ceremonies on Parliament Hill, and the Queen’s Coronation message. Prior to the start of its Coronation coverage, CBC broadcasted a test pattern and music. Regular updates on the status of the Canberra flights were also provided. The Coronation broadcast was in black and white; colour programming would not be launched in Canada until 1966, thirteen years after colour was introduced in the United States. If people wanted to see the Coronation in colour, they had to go to the cinema when the film became available a few days later.

RCA Victor advertisement, The Ottawa Evening Citizen, 28 May 1953

RCA Victor advertisement, The Ottawa Evening Citizen, 28 May 1953

With the day declared a national holiday, people scrambled to find a television to watch the historic event. In Ottawa, the Radio and Television Manufacturers Association of Canada installed televisions in every school without charge to allow all students to watch the Coronation. An abridged French-language version was also televised. Naturally, parents were invited to watch as well–a good marketing ploy. Stores also offered special Coronation deals so that families could watch the events on their own sets. One enterprising store invited those uncertain about television, or were unable to afford a receiver (the price for the monochrome receiver started at $249.99, equivalent to $2,200 today), to come in and watch the Coronation on its sets for free.

From that day on, there was no looking back. Television quickly became, as RCA had predicted in 1939, an indispensable part of every Canadian household. In 1948, there were only 325 TV sets in Canada. In 1951, roughly one percent of Canadian households, mostly located in southern Ontario in range of American TV signals, had purchased a TV set. Ten years later, 83 per cent of Canadian households had a television, a higher percentage than that of homes with indoor plumbing.

Sources: Canadian Communications Foundation, 2013. Television Station History, Ontario, Eastern Canada, CBOT-DT (CBC Nework), Ottawa, http://www.broadcasting-history.ca.

CBC-Radio Canada, 2015. Our History, http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/en/explore/our-history/.

CBC, 2015, “A TV Renaissance, TV In Canada, A History,” Doc Zone with Ann-Marie MacDonald, http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/features/tv-in-canada-a-history.

Freemeth, Howard, 2010, “Television,” Historica Canada, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/television/.

Hammond Museum of Radio, 2004, “Some Dates From Canadian Broadcasting,” http://www.hammondmuseumofradio.org/dates.html.

TV History, 2013. Television History—The First 75 Years, Television Facts and Statistics—1939 to 2000, http://www.tvhistory.tv/facts-stats.htm.

The Evening Citizen, 1951. “Ottawans Get Good Video Reception,” 11 September.

————————, 1953. “Fly TV ‘Take’ To CBC: See Coronation Same Day Here,” 6 May.

————————, 1953. “Ottawa Microwave Radio Relay Tower In Operation on May 14th,” 6 May.

————————, 1953. “TV Sets To Be Installed In Schools For June 2,” 26 May.

————————, 1953. “Station CBOT Now On The Air Each Night,” 26 May.

————————, 1953. “Television,” 30 May 1953. The Globe and Mail, 1937. “Television Is London’s Newest Christmas Gift Idea,” 13 December.

————————, 1938. “10,000 Sets Made And Sold In United Kingdom,” 13 January.

————————, 1941. “Commercial Television Is Delayed By Defense,” 3 July.

————————, 1947. Television—Canada Not Ready, Says Frigon,” 28 June.

————————, 1949. “Ottawa Studies Loan in Millions for CBC Video,” 2 March.

————————, 1949. “Claims TV Delay Due To Ottawa Pre-Election Fears,” 3 May.

————————, 1951, “Hints Windsor, Ottawa, Quebec Next In Line For Canadian Television,” 16 November.

———————-, 1953. “Temporary Television Hookup To Let Ottawa See Coronation,” 13 March.

———————-, 1953. “Jets Bring Coronation Films For TV Viewers on Tuesday,” 30 May.

———————-, 2014. “Ferris-Wheel highs and nauseating lows from 135 years of the Ex,” 13 August.