Every summer and early Fall we are reminded of two famous Nova Scotians whose genius is appreciated throughout Canada and the world. Charles Coll (1907-1982), was born in Stellarton and lived in both Pictou and Colchester Counties. On Oct. 1, 1959, Coll registered the manufacture and sale of Muskol, which he produced in his basement workshop on MacLean Street in New Glasgow. He was affectionately known as Colonel Coll in later life because of his induction into the “Honorary Order of the Kentucky Colonels.” for his many contributions to the global community.
Muskol is an insect repellant containing DEEP, the most effective mosquito protection to this day. One Muskol application (30 per cent DEET concentration) is effective for adults for 6 hours. A proportionately lower concentration is required for children. After Charles’s death, the rights were sold to Schering-Plough Canada Ltd.,but Coll’s product and name live on as household words.
Our annual October tribute is to Howard Dill (1934-2008), the “Pumpkin King" from Hants County. With only Grade 7 education, he taught himself plant genetics and patented the Atlantic Giant Pumpkin in 1986. He had devoted years to the development of the world’s heaviest pumpkin and he won the World Pumpkin Confederation Championship for four successive years (1979-1982) Dill was a TV guest on many occasions; made it to the Guinness Book of World Records; and was recognized in such publications as National Geographic, the Old Farmers Geographic, the Wall Street Journal, Harrowsmith, MacLeans and Country Living.
Today, it is pumpkins from Howard Dill’s seeds that win contests around the world. Dill’s winning pumpkin was 225 kgs. and he lived to see a pumpkin that weighed 725 kgs. Now they are very close to 907 (2000 lbs.). New methods are used, but the lineage is intact and the winning seeds can sell for over $1,000.
As Hon. Scott Brison remarked after Howard Dill’s death, “Howard was an icon who served his community, province and country with distinction.”