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Hot grip inventor


(cliquer ici pour version francaise)

    I made a discory a few weeks ago while discuting with a collegue of mine at work. We were talking about our week-end; I was talking about my snowmobile week-end, saying how great snowmobiling has become these days with high performance equipment, confortable clothing, hot grips, etc... Then my friend tells me: "My dad invented the heated grip!" - Oh ya!?!. To be sure I ask him if we are talking about the same thing, and he says: "Yep, ma dad invented a heat distribution system that reach the handles - he had it patent." To prouve his revelation, we log on the internet and we find the documentation - Patent 4,022,378 by Gilbert Essiembre.
    At that time they we called "Magic grips".

    See link : Heat distribution system for snowmobiles

    Magic grips


    The story of the invention

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    Beside being a self trained mechanic and owner of a garage, Gilbert Essiembre was a passionate snowmobile enthusiast who became a pionnier in opening the first Ski-doo trails in the sixties in the Two Mountain (Deux Montagnes) area . The trails were maintained with his home made groomer that he pulled with his snowmobile. There after he was member of the Lynx club and travelled with his family the trails in the Laurentians, Montreal area and north of New Brunswick, his home province.

    In those days, snowmobiles were not as powerful as those today, and parts being rare and often defective, you had to use your imagination to make it work.

    While riding he would always have his extremities frozen (feet and hands) - he would keep warm with the warm air coming from the exhaust of the motor head. From there he got the idea of using this warm air. In the beginning, he used two antifreeze containers to cover his hands; the containers would be relayed to the cooling system of the motor by flexible hoses. Thus, the warm air from the cooling system was pulled so the heat would warm hands and feet instead of being rejected to the exterior.


    It only had to be invented. Everywhere he would go, people would ask Gilbert information on his invention and how it work even at 40mph with the wind factor.

    Real Température

    wind factor










    Friends suggested he patent the idea - it was 1974, thus began a long period of patent demands. First in Ottawa, where industrial spies would try to make him talk on his invention. With the help of Invention Quebec, the process of having the patent authentication was started that cost time and money to finally be accepted in the US (no 4022378, 10 may 1977) and in Canada (no. 1061302, 27 august 1979). Then numbers of other ideas and patent pursuits were launched but to much work and investment got to the point that other patents by others were already approved.

    The Hot grip invention was expose during exhibition show at Place Bonaventure and shown on TV (Bon Weekend, Canal 10, Oct ‘75)

    The development of the patent did bring much revenue, since production and marketing were costly for a small merchant. Also the snowmobile manufacturers* seem not interested in the idea...

    Gilbert was not the only one to find a solution in keeping warm, Jack J. Poly of Illinois also developed the "Vehicle Handle Bar Heater" patented in 1972 (3667315 US) without being commercialize at the moment of being accepted. Others followed suite for example: in 1984 - Electrically heated hand grips for vehicle handle bars, 4471209 US; in 1997 - Flexible foot device for snowmobile, 5605642 US; and so on... to prove that the demand was needed by snowmobile enthusiasts.

    Finally the manufacturers to note of the demand and by 1977 heated handles were added to the new models.

    In the end imagination opens new horizons and possibilities. Gilbert Essiembre's three sons are now in the technology exploration: one is chemist, the other industrial machine engineer and the last motorcycles and motors (of all type) mechanic. All influenced by their father's imagination and ingenuity

    *Bombardier, Artic Cat, Polaris, Skiroule, Mercury Marine, Snow Jet, Scorpion, AMF Harley-Davidson, Yamaha Canada, SMT et autres


    Thanks / Merci à Sylvain Essiembre for link and info