Since the late 1850s, when Edison General Electric Company (now known as General Electric) and America Cereal Company (now known as Quaker Oats) came to Peterborough because of the creation and early implementation of hydro-electrical power, Peterborough, Ontario has been known as the Electric City.
The Electric City also saw massive industrial growth beyond these two major international companies, as one of the first places in the country to begin generating hydro-electrical power (even before the plants at Niagara Falls) Ontario.
Peterborough & the Kawarthas has an impressive track record of unique engineering creations that have gone on to impact the world.
So, in honour of National Engineering Month, here are some of the unique products that were engineered (or conceptualized) in Peterborough:
- Standard Time and Canada’s First Postage Stamp
Sandford Fleming is the inventor of Standard Time and designed Canada’s first postage stamp in 1845. He moved to Peterborough to live with Dr. John Hutchison and his family, staying until 1847.
- Peterborough Lift Lock
What many around the world know Peterborough for. For many decades, the lift lock’s two lifts were the highest hydraulic boat lifts on the planet, raising boats 65 ft (20 m) in the air. This kind of engineering was a considerable accomplishment in the early 20th century (as when most conventional locks usually only had a 7 ft (2.1 m) rise).
The Peterborough Lift Lock had many engineering firsts: It was the first lift lock to be built out of concrete and was the largest structure ever built with unreinforced concrete, in the world.
In 1979, The Peterborough Lift Lock was designated a National Historic Site, and in 1987, was named a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
- Electric Car
Bet you didn’t know that one of the first-ever electric vehicles was created in Peterborough in 1899. The Canadian General Electric company produced an electric car, for the year 1899 only. Car historians say the car was very similar to the Woods Electric.
- Nuclear Power Generator
Canada’s first nuclear power generator was designed and built by Canadian General Electric.
- Rolled Oats
Quaker Oats invented rolled oats at its Peterborough headquarters.
- Monopoly Pieces
For many years, Fisher Gauge Limited (now DynaCast Ltd.) created the playing pieces to Milton-Bradley’s game Monopoly.
- Hydro-Electrical Power
Peterborough was one of the first places in Canada to begin generating hydro electrical power (even before the plants at Niagara Falls). Companies like GE and Quaker Oats opened to take advantage of this new cheap resource.
- Canadian Tire, Walmart Checkouts
Pan-Oston designs and fabricates the customer-cashier checkout counters for major retailers like Canadian Tire, Walmart, Koodo, and more.
- Fuel Rod Handling System
BWXT designs and manufactures fuel handling and reactor inspection and maintenance tooling systems for the nuclear industry, here in Peterborough.
- Mission Bay Handling System
Rolls Royce’s world-leading Mission Bay Handling system has been designed to launch and recover naval vehicles and move containerized packages without the aid of a dockside crane for naval ships from its expanded facility in Peterborough.
- Siemens Milltronics
Siemens Milltronics products are known for their quality and reliability. More than 90% of the products produced in Peterborough are exported to countries around the world. Products designed and manufactured are used in the oil and gas, environmental, chemical, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, mining and aggregate industries.
- Aclarus Ozone
Aclarus Ozone created a proprietary ozone system to treat water and wastewater, without the use of chemicals. Over 900 of the Peterborough built systems are in place around the world from parks to First Nation, food plants, breweries, condominiums, mining, greenhouse and municipalities. Aclarus was also the 2020 Water’s Next Award winners in the Technology, Water Resources Category.
Viren D’Souza, was named one of Canada’s Top 50 in Agriculture for 2021 (he was one of 10 winners recognized for his contribution to farm innovation). D’Souza, is the current president of the Peterborough Agricultural Society. After graduating from college as an electrical technician, D’Souza started his own business installing and servicing dairy automation and later was the first to bring a baler-compactor to Canada.
If you want to learn more about some other Engineering Feats from Peterborough & the Kawarthas, you can read this information blog.