Driven to Invention

| April 07, 2005

“Anyplace a window wiper can go, this can do better,” Waters says. “Any application that someone has to clean can use one of these.”

But the patent is only the first step. Waters must now find a manufacturer. He has talked with several manufacturers worldwide, but must generate enough interest for them to consider it a worthwhile endeavor.

“I’ve mailed letters out to mirror manufacturers, GM, Chrysler, World Trade Group,” he says. “All the endorsements I get help out.”

To find out more about the product, call (800) 747-3109.

Safer Tow Hook

Floyd Martin, a retired trucker from East Earl, Penn., and his brother built a tow hook that he says is much safer and easier to use than big rig tow hooks.

“I’m 62 years old; I’ve used the old-fashioned fifth-wheel model too long. It’s too dangerous,” Martin says.

He designed a triangle linkage that is completely hydraulic, he says, and quick and simple to both hitch and unhitch. Through Martin’s design, the weight is directed to the road, which helps maintain normal steering conditions. The tow hook puts pressure on the tractor instead of the trailer. This is much different than standard towing rigs that tend to have a lighter front end while under tow.

The triangle linkage makes turning safer, as well, he says. “It allows you to turn at a 90-degree angle,” Martin says.

Another advantage to this tow hook is that it does not require the removal of lights, bumpers or other parts of the disabled tractor. The device can also be folded up for traveling.

After Martin spent $8,000 on a patent, Pendu Manufacturing Inc. picked up his idea. He has sold 10 of the hooks by demonstrating them to customers, and Pendu has received several inquiries online.

Interlocking Panels

Robert Brand, a retired Navy man and driver from Ladson, S.C., created his invention mainly to keep soda cans from rolling around in the back of his wife’s SUV, but it’s also finding a use in truckers’ cabs. His adjustable interlocking panels are designed to fit together to make cargo organizers. They can also be used as shelving units.

Brand says he had a lot of trouble getting his product on the market. After waiting 25 months for a patent, he says he made some bad business decisions, including an attempt at radio sales where it was difficult for customers to understand his product without seeing it. The price of the panels fluctuated greatly, creating even more problems.

But now Brand has everything under control. He sells his panels through his own company, accessible at For the first time, Brand says he’s making money from his invention.

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