Zoom Zoom Zeep!

18 Aug

I fractured my back a awhile ago, and the only mobility I had for a few years, was a wheelchair.  That gave me the independence to go out and do my own grocery shopping, for instance.  Those years are behind me, but the appreciation for the chair has stayed with me like a dear friend.  When I’m downtown and I see people with an electric wheelchair, I smile inside, and say, “Go for it!” Quite the invention!  So today, I would like to introduce you to George Johann Klein.

George Klein sitting in his electric chair

Klein Drive Chair (sitting) in 1953. National Research Council Canada – From .


Klein was born on August 15, 1904 in Hamilton, Ontario.  He struggled in high school to maintain a consisten grade C (that’s between 50 to 59%).  Still, he did manage to attend University of Toronto, and became an inventor.  Besides his key contributions to create the first  electric wheelchairs for quadriplegics, he also invented  the first microsurgical staple gun, the ZEEP nuclear reactor (Zero Energy Experimental Pile, the first atomic reactor outside the US.),  the international system for classifying ground-cover snow, aircraft skis, the Weasel all-terrain vehicle, the STEM (Storable Tubular Extendible Member) antenna for the space program, and the Canadarm.

He worked for forty years as a mechanical engineer at the National Research Council of Canada laboratories in Ottawa  from 1929 to 1969.

In 1968, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.  He died on November 4, 1992, at the age of 88, in
Ottawa, Ontario.  In 1995, he was inducted to the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame.

If you wanted to read about George Johann Klein, I would suggest the book: George J. Klein: the Great Inventor. For more information on the Internet, I would suggest the Canada Science and Technology Museum.


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35 responses to “Zoom Zoom Zeep!

  1. krnauyeung

    September 7, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Very inspiring. You’re amazing! You’re in my prayers. Keep going 🙂

  2. Linda

    August 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I hope that your back gets better and better. Great post, merci beaucoup. Greetings from Montreal, Quebec.

    • tkmorin

      August 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      De rien! Et merci pour les bon mots! 🙂

  3. Jill Weatherholt

    August 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Wow ~ such an impressive resume! I hope your back is feeling better. I’ve had two back surgeries, so I can relate to your pain.

    • tkmorin

      August 25, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks Jill. I’m still have limited mobility, but not needing the wheelchair anymore is something I am SO thankful for! Two surgeries .. darn! I sincerely hope they have done you some good!

      Have a great week! 🙂

      • Jill Weatherholt

        August 26, 2014 at 7:39 am

        Glad to hear you don’t need the wheelchair, but sorry you have limited mobility.
        Yes, the surgeries have helped. I haven’t had any problems since and my last surgery was in 1997. I exercise a lot and use my head when lifting things. 🙂

  4. Wendy Macdonald

    August 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Interesting post. I wonder if most people who think outside the box tend to score below average grades in school? Yet it’s probably the out of the box thinking that’s needed for inventions to occur.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • tkmorin

      August 24, 2014 at 9:09 am

      I think you are right, Wendy. Wouldn’t it be interesting to read the results if someone did test that theory?

  5. Shelli@howsitgoingeh?

    August 23, 2014 at 10:52 am

    ANOTHER amazing Canadian inventor – I’ve got to tell my husband about this one – he will gloat!

    • tkmorin

      August 23, 2014 at 11:30 am

      LOL I hope he does! 🙂

    • tkmorin

      August 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Did he? 🙂

  6. Turquoise Compass

    August 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Hello Again! Thanks for stopping by Turquoise Compass today (as always). I appreciate the likes and comments and I don’t take them for granted. We are all so busy! I hope you enjoy my travel story!
    Jessica, Turquoise Compass

    • tkmorin

      August 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Your welcome, and oh, I sure do like to read your memories and opinions … very enlightening. Very educational as well. Some days I wish I could travel, but then, since I can’t, I can take trips all over the world through other people’s eyes. And you do have a way of expressing your impressions. 🙂

      • Turquoise Compass

        August 22, 2014 at 8:49 pm

        That’s an amazing way of looking at it. Well do travel on through me. I’m happy you enjoy my memories, opinions, expressions, and of course my own enlighten moments.

  7. L. Marie

    August 22, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Seems like a lot of geniuses had trouble with school. I’m thinking of Einstein in particular. But how marvelous that Klein kept going and invented such wonderful devices to help others.

    • tkmorin

      August 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Did I mention I had an average D in school? LOL Kidding. But you’re right about the people who didn’t do so well in school. And yes, thank goodness for people like Klein! 🙂

  8. Gypsy Bev

    August 20, 2014 at 1:02 am

    What a wonderful man to have such a creative mind. Imagine he was bored with school assignments, and thus his average grades…not uncommon for people who think outside the box.

    • tkmorin

      August 20, 2014 at 8:55 am

      I’m still waiting for my genius to show itself! LOL. You are right, though, more often than not, that’s really what happens. 🙂

  9. Lone Grey Squirrel

    August 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Wow….that one guy did all that? Fantastic. The electric wheelchair is a great invention which has made so many lives better. I have seen them in action when I was in Ottawa some 2 decades ago. We are only just beginning to see them here in Malaysia

    • tkmorin

      August 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Recently? I’m curious, what did people do before? Or are you referring to the electric chair specifically. They indeed have helped people, that’s for sure. A great gift! 🙂

      • Lone Grey Squirrel

        August 20, 2014 at 2:48 am

        Electric motorised wheelchairs are still a rarity in Malaysia

        • tkmorin

          August 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

          Ummm. Thank you. I was curious. 🙂

  10. hairballexpress

    August 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    What a fascinating history lesson! Good to know- since the human has a very good possibility of eventually needing a wheelchair! Thanks fur sharing! 🌹

  11. avwalters

    August 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for that. I was seriously disabled after an auto accident in the nineties–wasn’t able to use my arms for a couple of years. So I dearly appreciate those whose talents help us to make the best of ourselves.

    • tkmorin

      August 19, 2014 at 8:32 am

      It’s one of the reasons I’m glad to go through my/our health problems in this day and age. Can you imagine what we’ve been through in the late 1800s or even early 1900s?

  12. seeker

    August 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Nothing says that you have to ace it at school in order to make one of the greatest contributions to mobility. I must say this is one of the best people mover. I’m glad it was invented and I am so glad that it’s all behind you now, Tk.

    • tkmorin

      August 19, 2014 at 8:28 am

      You and me both! And it just goes to show you that if you have a gift it will shine through no matter the circumstances! 🙂

  13. weggieboy

    August 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Einstein is another poor student who made good…! This was a very interesting post since I didn’t know one thing about this gentleman, yet he clearly lead a very busy and productive life that =benefited many!

    • tkmorin

      August 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. I like to write about lesser-known people and events. Wars and politics are great … events, but it is the power of one that most intrigues me.

      • weggieboy

        August 19, 2014 at 6:32 am

        How true! I always feel like I’ve spent some quality time when I stop by your blogs because I always encounter something interesting and new to me! Part of that is the fact you cover Canadian history and people, but I also pick up a Canadian perspective on things more familiar to me.

  14. purrfectkitties

    August 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    This truly is a great invention! 🙂 And it’s interesting that Klein struggled in high school but still managed to go to university! That’s impressive, isn’t it!? Thanks for sharing this interesting post! 🙂 Have a wonderful week! 🙂 xx Roxy & Tigerlino ❤

    • tkmorin

      August 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      I frequently hear of near geniuses that do bad in school, like Freud as an example. 🙂

      • purrfectkitties

        August 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        So does this means there’s still hope for Tigerlino and me? We’ve never even been to school… so who knows… one day we might become real great kitty geniuses… 😉 MOL 😆 xx Roxy & Tigerlino ❤

        • tkmorin

          August 18, 2014 at 6:15 pm

          Me too! Soonest, I hope!! 🙂


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