Propeller Invention

Sid van der Meer hustles about Beaver Creek’s Visitor Information Centre preparing his

workplace for the 2016 tourism season. With new Yukon tourism commercials airing widely and with the Canadian dollar so low, Sid expects a rise in international tourists travelling through Beaver Creek this summer. I briefly interrupt his set-up routine to discuss a piece in his collection that caught my eye late last summer.

The object that struck me as odd, but not out of place, is a motorized propeller. Curious, I call Grandpa for the story. If there is one thing everyone knows about Sid, it’s that he will always take time for a good story.

“We built the propeller in 1961 or ’62,” Sid recalls. “I was trying to make a motorboat but it didn’t work too good. When we started it the whole back of the boat went straight into the water and the front of the boat went into the air!”

Sid and I laugh while picturing him with his homemade propeller.

“It’s amazing we didn’t lose an arm trying it.”

“Who is we?” I ask him.

“Tom Bradley from White River Lodge, he was my friend. We even had a piece of rope on it to attempt to steer, but it never worked. There was no cover on it, just that screen. Also the motor came from an old lawnmower. It just went straight into the water and the front of the boat went up, we didn’t get anywhere using it.

“I threw it away (in the bush) because it didn’t work, but I found it several years later.”

Sid never tried his invention out again, but instead brought it back to his museum where it is now on display.

“I brought it back to be a conversation piece with visitors.”

And it most certainly is that. Since Sid was a child he has had a knack for mechanics and inventions. The propeller, although an unsuccessful invention, makes for a creative story and a memory of fun times with friends. Join us this summer and visit Bordertown Garage and Museum to see the homemade propeller.

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