Not your regular museum tour: A Vernon inventor and his scientific creations
Garry Garbutt wears many hats. He is an inventor, electronics expert, machinist, welder and a steam engineer.
Garbutt became interested in electricity and physics at the age of 12 when he took apart his parents’ mantle radio.
Since then, Garbutt has dedicated his life to learning all about the science of physics. Not only has he built his own inventions, he inherited many creations from his Kelowna mentor, Bill Allen.
For many years the quirky inventor held public workshops at the Science Centre and Museum in Vernon. He found that many of his creations were getting damaged during transport. To combat this issue, Garbutt invited the public to visit his private workshop instead.
The tours began in 2017 in partnership with the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives.
The event series was such a hit that the Vernon museum won an award for the Field School Series.
Children are not the only participants in the summer workshop tours. Garbutt says adults enjoy the event as much as children, especially those interested in becoming inventors.
Garbutt clarifies his inventions are a labour of love.
“The trouble with inventing something is it’s a tremendous amount of work and cost to get a patent,” he said. “I worked on a motor and a generator in Kelowna. Got it up to one of the highest efficiencies in the world, but they ran out of money and, therefore, no one gets to see it and know about it.”
Some inventions on display in his workshop include a spark-gap transmitter, a Wilmshurst machine, Jacob’s Ladder, Crooke’s Tube and a Tesla coil demo.
Garbutt’s advice for future inventors is simple: just have a passion for it.
For more information on the Inventor Workshop Tours, please visit the Vernon Museum website.
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