- 1907-1925: Childhood and adolescence
Joseph-Armand Bombardier was born on April 16, 1907, in Valcourt, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. No one in this peaceful farming village could have foreseen the exceptional destiny that lay ahead for the newborn.
- 1926-1938 : first success
Joseph-Armand returns to Valcourt in 1926 to open his own garage. His father lends him money, and his family helps build the garage. He’s only 19, but his remarkable ability to solve any mechanical problem, whether dealing with cars, bench saws, or agricultural pumps, earns him an outstanding reputation throughout the region. His success allows him to pay back his father’s loan by 1929.
A concern through his youth is the isolation of Quebec villages in winter, which prevented motorized travel. Joseph-Armand takes advantage of his seasonal business to put his genius to work seeking a solution to snowbound winters.
- 1939-1945 : the war years
Success of the B7 snowmobile is such that by 1939 the L’Auto-Neige Bombardier is unable to keep up with demand. A more modern plant is built in 1940 with an annual production capacity of 200 vehicles. It will be inaugurated on January 29, 1941 under the name L’Auto-Neige Bombardier.
- 1946-1948 : postwar growth
L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée experiences a boom period beginning in 1946. Demand for civilian snowmobiles returns and increases rapidly. The 1940 plant is no longer able to respond to demand, so in 1947 L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée builds an assembly line plant with a capacity of 1000 vehicles, inspired by Ford factory assembly lines.
- 1949-1958 : industrial vehicles
The future seems certain, but 1948-1949 brings new challenges to L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée. On top of a winter of very light snow, the Quebec government adopts a policy demanding all rural routes be cleared a major blow to the snowmobile market. In one year, sales fall by close to $1 million.
A disaster? Joseph-Armand Bombardier takes it as a challenge. He plans his company’s survival by ending its dependence on snowmobiles and creating new machines for new markets.
Joseph-Armand Bombardier has received countless posthumous testimonies of respect, admiration, and recognition from various associations, institutions or organizations wishing to pay tribute to the ingenuity of the man and his work.
Below is the patent list acquired by J. Armand Bombardier. The titles are written as they appear on the patents.