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This site hosts a project that introduces and explores the history of Canada’s precision and scientific instrument industry. Through twenty historical artifacts of national importance dating from 1861 to 1992, it uncovers the stories of their manufacturers and designers.

For the purposes of this project, precision and scientific equipment includes that which either has a scientific purpose, or requires scientific precision to manufacture. This is a huge range of objects with very different purposes—from household clocks to electrical meters, from navigation equipment to computers, and from a balance designed to measure tiny masses to the payload of a rocket with a scientific mission.

Together, the objects here tell a story about the part of Canada’s scientific history connected to industrial and technical development. It is divided into three stages—the period prior to the end of World War One, where colonially-driven surveying and exploring dominated; the interwar period, which saw an expanding to electrical and military technologies; and the period following 1945, where manufacturers sought out niches in advanced physics, computing and environmental metrology.

This project was funded by Ingenium, Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation.