Why didn’t we think of it?
That’s how Ariens Co. engineers reacted when they first saw the snow-thrower accessory invented by sixth-grade students Matt Moran and Sam Hipple.
The students from Davenport, Iowa, built a rock salt dispenser that mounts under the handlebars of an Ariens snow thrower and spreads salt along the machine’s path, allowing the user to clear snow and melt ice in one pass.
The invention is made from a garden fertilizer spreader and some bicycle parts. Called the Mega Melter, it will be developed and sold by Ariens.
Matt and Sam will receive a cash royalty for each of the salt spreaders that Ariens sells through stores such as Home Depot and smaller equipment dealerships.
Matt and Sam got their idea when they entered an invention competition sponsored by the engineering colleges at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The boys, now in seventh grade, also were looking for an easier way to remove snow and ice from their sidewalk and driveway last winter.
The competition was part of a program called Invent Iowa, which encourages students in grades K-12 to seek and solve problems. In the annual event, hundreds of students come up with inventions ranging from toilet paper protectors to extendable handles for baby strollers.
Ariens Co. is keeping the boys informed of the product’s development. The company plans to sell the salt spreader as an accessory for new and existing snow throwers.
How cool is this! I wish I had known about thing like this when I was a kid. Congrats to the youngsters. I expect good things from them in the future as engineers/inventors/entrepreneurs.
Hey where is Invent Wisconsin or Invent Milwaukee? There is something here for my “Fixing Milwaukee” series.