Canadian Plastics

60th Anniversary Special Report: Canadian Firsts

A small sampling of new product introductions by Canadian companies and inventors The first plastic cups for coffee and hot drinks came on the scene in the late '50s. A report from Canadian Plastics ...

August 1, 2003   Canadian Plastics



A small sampling of new product introductions by Canadian companies and inventors

The first plastic cups for coffee and hot drinks came on the scene in the late ’50s. A report from Canadian Plastics states that Polychemical Industries of Edmonton, AB, was possibly the first company to use expandable polystyrene for the production of hot drink cups. These foamed cups were called Thermokups. The first injection molded coffee cups followed about two years later, in 1959, made by Impac Containers (Toronto), according to Tom Thomas, then CEO of Canada Cup Ltd. The advent of injection molded cups combined with the popularity of coffee vending machines created a fast growing industry segment.

Prof. R.T. Woodhams of the University of Toronto was granted a patent on the use of mica to reinforce plastics in 1972. Marietta Resources, the company that owned the Quebec mine supplying much of the world’s mica, Fiberglas and DuPont Canada contributed to the commercialization of the reinforcing filler.

Aero Marine (Oakville, ON) was apparently the first company to manufacture surf boards from fibre-reinforced plastic. The boards were 14 ft. long and weighed 42 lb., compared to 115 lb. for a typical wood surf board at the time. The board was the brainchild of Aero Marine owner Hugh Dodds.

The first plastic ice cube tray was molded by Ontario Steel Products. Tests showed it froze cubes faster and released them more easily than steel trays.

Toronto Plastics developed the first all-vinyl window sash, according to an article in the November 1960 issue of Canadian Plastics. The customer was Weather Seal Manufacturing in Scarborough, ON.

Industrial designer Henry Finkle of Montreal designed the first polyethylene anti-freeze container.

The “black box”, the device that encloses an airplanes’ flight data recorder, was invented and built in Canada, according to Dec. 1964 article. The National Research Council designed the crash position indicator and Leigh Instruments Ltd. of Ottawa, ON molded the case out of fibre-reinforced plastic


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