- Tell us something about yourself, your background. How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
I guess it all started for me as a young boy around the age of eight or nine, because that is when I can first remember being fascinated with
mechanical things. I was always taking my toys and various things apart just to see what made them tick. My mother told me that I would assemble any toy that she bought for me before she could read the instructions. I realize that toys back then were fairly simple, but I guess my point here is that even at a young age I liked solving problems, and I still do to this day. As I grew older I found myself daydreaming and thinking about different ways that a certain machine or mechanism would function or even if it could be improved, though the daydreaming sometimes got me in trouble, especially in school. It seemed my mind would drift towards this way of thinking more often than not. By the age of 18 I had several ideas that I believed were patent worthy, but at the time I was more focused on rebuilding an old Chevy. The years passed and I found myself in my mid-40s and depressed. Busy with life, I had never done anything with the ideas that I had, and my dreams of getting a patent seemed to be slipping away. Determined to pull myself out of the slump that I was in, I finally started on my goal to create something of my own. I decided to revisit an idea that came to me as a teenager. I remembered pulling out of a trash can an old mirror that my mother had thrown away, and playing around with the mounting hardware. The mounting hardware was actually a scissor assembly that allowed the mirror to be pulled out from the wall and to be repositioned to the user’s preference. It was that scissor assembly that led to my first real invention, Super Reach.
- Let us know what you invented:
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
For an entire year I used my spare time on evenings and weekends to work on the first prototype. I quickly learned that inventing and actually building a model or prototype takes discipline; it can be very challenging, time-consuming, and frustrating, though it can also be
very rewarding. My knowledge of tools and my skills were fairly good from my days of working on cars, but there were many setbacks.
Other than a few gears, shafts, and springs, most of the parts for my new invention had to be made by hand, though I did manage to salvage a few of the parts from old electronics, such as cassette and CD players. I also had to fabricate a few tools and jigs before I could make some of the key components for the prototype. The individual parts were finally completed, my skills were improving, and everything finally came together. I was quite pleased with the outcome of the first prototype, so I set off to get a patent.
I thought I was well on my way to success, but this was just the beginning. It took well over a year to get the first patent, and like most things there is always room for improvement. These improvements lead to a second prototype and more patents, and still more tweaks to the second prototype.
Several years had now passed since the issue of my first patent. During this time I created a demonstration video, and I had also been
searching the internet to seek out any company or manufacturer that I thought would be a good fit for my invention. I even contacted companies that made similar items. My goal now was to obtain a licensing agreement, but my marketing skills were not the best. I did, however, manage to find a good bit of interest for my invention, but no one was willing to pull the trigger. A little discouraged at this point, I ended up striking a deal with one of the interested parties that I had found on the internet. In exchange for this person’s help with securing a licensing agreement, I would have to give up a portion of the royalties. Not exactly what I wanted, but I had to keep moving forward. This fellow was no stranger to the business and he quickly found a couple of big name companies that were very interested in my invention. One company made a video with my prototype to test the market for the product. Unfortunately the test video just missed their mark and the company ended up passing on my invention.
- Where are you now?
A few more years have passed now and I have yet to secure a licensing agreement. You might think that I would be feeling pretty low right now, but it is actually just the opposite. I have gained so much from this experience: skills, confidence, courage, and the satisfaction of taking an idea all the way to a working model, completely on my own. I even did the patent drawings myself. So do not feel bad for me, and never give up or fail to try something for fear of failure; you just might gain something
wonderful along the way.
--End of Interview--
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