It must have been difficult to dispute the oddity of Jack Moars
amphibious trailer at its unveiling on the North Saskatchewan River in
1962. Certainly, each of us is familiar with the "mad scientist" or "kooky
inventor" stereotype, but is it true?
Moar created the amphibious trailer to be an easily transportable craft
that would be just as comfortable on land as it was in water. Thirteen
feet long and 12 feet wide, it consisted of a trailer and two pontoons
filled with plastic foam. To function as a watercraft, the trailer was
equipped with a 40-horsepower outboard motor. As a land vehicle, the
trailer was not self-propelled, needing to be hitched to another vehicle.
Moar intended to market the craft to weekend campers, tourists,
prospectors and fishermen. While he built a prototype of the trailer, had
it licensed by the government and travelled across the country displaying
it at various boat shows, he could not obtain the patent for it and thus,
it never went into production.
Although an amphibious vehicle may seem strange, there is a history of
them dating back to the late 19th century. Moars vehicle, in comparison
to those from other periods and countries, is designed to transport and
house people, as opposed to the other designs that were created simply to
move people over different types of terrain. It truly is a Canadian
invention, built to withstand the vast and often isolated landscape.
For those who think the idea of an amphibious vehicle is farfetched, it
has since gone into production in Canada. In 1998, Daniel Beauchesne of
St. Isidore, Ontario invented what is now known as the Lady Duck Amphibus.
In May of 1999, the amphibious craft began to be used for tours in Ottawa,
in which passengers spend 45 minutes driving and 45 minutes on the Ottawa
River. Jack Moar, quite simply, was ahead of his time.
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