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Joseph-Armand Bombardier Joseph-Armand Bombardier was born in Valcourt in 1907 He was the eldest of eight children born to Anna Gravel and Alfred Bombardier who was a farmer who turned into a general merchant On August 7 1929 he married Yvonne Labrecque and together they had six children Germain Yvon Janine Claire Huguette and Andr When Bombardier was 15 he built his first snowmobile He took the engine out of an old Model T Ford and mounted it on to the frame of a large farm sleigh He put steering runners at the front and heavier rigid runners at the back He bolted a large hand-whittled propeller to the drive shaft of the engine The snowmobile was a success it climbed over snowdrifts and traveled the ground with ease Unfortunately Bombardiers father was not impressed and made him dismantle the whole thing and put the pieces away Bombardier continued to design snowmobiles By the time he had graduated from high school in Sherbrooke and returned to Valcourt as a garage owner he had developed the plans to make good snowmobiles So he began building and testing them In 1934 one of his sons died of appendicitis because Bombardier could not get the boy to the hospital in timethe snowmobile he was testing then was too small For Bombardier this turned this project into an obsession and for years afterward this lean wiry-framed man seemed never without a wrench in his hand By 1936 he had sold his first commercial snowmobile It had a plywood body and rubber tracks driven by sprockets which together with a spring suspension system gave a smoother ride and increased traction The wooden cabin was completely enclosed and the whole structure was quite large During the next few years he developed a steel body to replace the wooden one and this paved the way for production of snowmobiles in much larger numbers Bombardier really started production during the
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