Inventors & Their Inventions

Season 1A Inventors

INVENTION: The Arccivo™ Magnetic Scrapbooking Portfolio
INVENTORS: Mary LaValley, Pam Hester and Deborah Mance

Photograph of Mary, Pam and Deborah Fellow scrapbooking best friends Mary LaValley, Pam Hester and Deborah Mance are also the inventors that developed the Arccivo™, the new patent-pending scrapbooking portfolio featured as one of the star inventions in the Everyday Edisons television show.

The women and their scrapbooking invention were discovered at the Charlotte, N.C., casting call on June 18, 2005. These super-busy women, all from Huntersville, N.C., met nearly five years ago through their children. But the common thread that has bonded them together – and also kept them in close contact – is their love for scrapbooking. This hobby has allowed them a guilt-free "escape" from home since scrapbooking involves documenting their family memories for their families.

ArccivoThe three friends developed the concept for the Arccivo after attending a number of weekend scrapbooking conventions. They all realized they could use a way of marking their territory and securing their new layouts when it was time to transition from one project to the next.

To remedy their problems, they created a portfolio-shaped case that opens like a book and provides two work surfaces for crafting layouts.

They brought their rough prototype to the Everyday Edisons casting call, and since then it has been transformed into a must-have tool for scrapbooking wizards and novices alike. Removable magnetic sheets cover and protect unfinished pages, locking loose paper, photos and embellishments in place. Zipping the case shut protects the layout and makes it easy to transport in-progress pages safely and securely. Their invention is an elegant and fashionable solution to both problems that countless scrapbookers all face.

The Arccivo can also be used to protect other types of designs — quilting, jewelry making, card making and other paper-related crafts.

Mary is a wife, mother of three and a pharmacist. Pam is a wife, mother of two and marketing manager for a global professional services firm. Deborah is also a wife, a mother of two and holds a marketing position with a large pharmaceutical company.

INVENTION: The Korbie™ All-In-One Baby Bag
INVENTOR: Maria Pistiolis

Photograph of Maria Maria Pistiolis is a professional seamstress and a delightful grandmother of 10 from Charlotte, N.C.

Maria utilized her expert skills to develop a concept that struck her one day in the airport as she observed her daughter, Voula, struggling to juggle a baby, a purse, a diaper bag and a suitcase through the crowded terminal. Not long after the encounter, Maria awoke in the middle of the night to craft her invention that would help moms everywhere manage outings with their babies. After a week of work on the sewing machine, she presented a combination purse — complete with bassinet, diaper bag and changing table — to her daughter Voula.

Eventually she took her patent-pending prototype to the Everyday Edisons crew, and they helped to carry her concept on to completion as the fashionable, useful bag known today as the Korbie™ all-in-one baby bag.

KorbieNow the Korbie features an elegant saddlebag design which offers plenty of space for diapers, bottles and other baby essentials. And as the baby grows, the removable bassinet can be permanently set aside, allowing the bag to “grow up” with the child. Finally, mothers and fathers alike can enjoy parenthood like the stylish, sophisticated and organized parents they aspire to be.

INVENTION: The SnacDaddy™ Chicken Wing Tray
INVENTORS: Russ Stanziale and Brent Anderson

Photograph of Russ and Brent Best buddies Brent Anderson and Russ Stanziale put their heads together to come up with the idea for the Snacdaddy™, the serving tray featured on Everyday Edisons Season 1.

Brent and Russ have always had ideas for new and improved products, which is why an invention for chicken wings came to them so naturally while eating at their favorite wing restaurant one evening. The wheels began to turn as they observed a "disgusting pile of bones" left over after devouring a plate of the popular dish. They followed through on their creative concept for a new serving platter that would conceal chicken wing debris, and presented their papier-mâché prototype at the Atlanta, Ga., casting call on July 23, 2005.

The Everyday Edisons judges were easily convinced of the invention’s value when they learned that 10.5 billion wings had been sold in 2004 alone. There was certainly a need to be met in the booming chicken wing industry!

SnacdaddyThe finished SnacDaddy is a two-part serving tray with a volcano-shaped top, with an elevated central hole giving way to sloping sides. The wings are served around the ridged base of the tray. As wings are eaten, bones are dropped into the hole where they are hidden out of sight. When finished with the wings, the circular bottom half of the tray is removed and the bones dumped into the trash.

Now these two family guys are "kings of the chicken world" with an invention that will make the “bone problem” go down in history as a food faux pas of the past.

The SnacDaddy can be used to hide other "food debris," such as rib bones, shrimp tails and appetizer toothpicks.

INVENTION: Murtagh By Vicious Tools™ Mortar Mixing Hoe
INVENTOR: Bill Murtagh

Photograph of Bill Furniture engineer Bill Murtagh of Hickory, N.C., has had one of the longest journeys to invention success of all the featured Everyday Edisons inventors.

His late father John Murtagh, a retired master sergeant and Vietnam veteran, actually developed the idea for the improved cement mixing tool.

In December of 2004, however, John lost his battle with cancer before he could see his patented design on store shelves.

Bill took it upon himself to fulfill his father’s dying wish and brought the mortar mixing hoe to the Charlotte, N.C., Everyday Edisons casting call for review.

Murtagh by Vicious ToolsThe judges immediately recognized the invention’s merit as a simple, yet ingenious solution for easing the strenuous job of mortar mixing.

Today, the Murtagh™ is well on its way to revolutionizing the worldwide construction industry.

INVENTION: Merriam-Webster's Befudiom™ Word Game
INVENTOR: Wendy Hampton

Photograph of Wendy Inventor Wendy Hampton of Lawrenceville, Ga., never intended to develop the next best-selling game. This dual full-time credit and collections manager and single mom just wanted to create something educational and fun that she could play with her daughter, Taylor.

When her then-ten-year-old daughter came to her and proclaimed that she was "totally bored," the two sat down on the floor and wound up with an idea for a board game about idioms — those quirky phrases and slang terminology we all use daily, but whose meanings aren't deductible from the makeup of the individual words.

Soon Wendy was staying up late at night — every night — developing content and gathering thousands of idioms, such as "kick the bucket," for the family fun game known today as Merriam Webster’s Befudiom™.

Merriam-Webster's BefudiomThree years later as Hampton was driving to work one morning, she heard an announcement about the Atlanta casting call on the radio and decided to give it a whirl. The cat sure got Wendy’s tongue when the Everyday Edisons judges selected her game as a Season 1 invention!

Befudiom combines America's favorite party games with its favorite idioms to help players of all ages uncover the meanings behind those “befuddling” phrases. Whether it’s acting, drawing, shouting or spelling the idiom, participants get the chance to have fun while taking an educational ride through the world of idioms.

INVENTION: The Pressix™ Trashcan
INVENTOR: Franklin Ramsey

Photograph of Franklin Franklin Ramsey of Charlotte, N.C., considers himself to be an idea man. Franklin will tell you that he comes by it honestly, since years of raising a family constantly put him in the position to brainstorm easier ways of carrying out the menial, time-consuming tasks of life.

Franklin developed the idea for his invention, now known as the Pressix trashcan, while helping his wife, Ann, with her fledgling commercial janitorial business.

Whenever Franklin tried to empty wastebaskets, he could never seem to secure new trash bags properly. Franklin’s knotted bags were all either too loose, too tight or tore in the end!

Pressix Frustrated, Franklin proceeded to his garage workshop and devised a trash can that holds bags securely in place without slipping or ripping at all.

Shortly thereafter, he heard about the Charlotte Everyday Edisons casting call and decided to attend to get some expert advice.

Little did he know that he would wow the judges with his straightforward yet savvy trashcan invention.

INVENTION: The Drywall T-Square
INVENTOR: Stan Gioia

Photograph of Stan When retired New York City firefighter Stan Gioia sets his mind to something, he never quits. This Sumter, S.C., resident became an “Everyday Edison” after experiencing the pain of rejection from every tool company he had petitioned for help in licensing his invention.

Years of experience with scoring and mounting drywall is what led Stan to develop his new spin on an old carpentry tool, the T-Square.

As a firefighter on the job for 48 hours straight, he had lots of spare time during the remainder of the week to hone his handyman skills.

Stan enjoyed carpentry work, but oftentimes became agitated with his inability to score straight lines when attempting to cut drywall. He couldn’t ignore the agitation, and developed an improved tool that’s specifically designed for this difficult task.

Drywall T-SquareEven though several companies turned Stan away, he believed his invention was a valuable tool that the construction industry needed.

Stan’s wife, Valeska, first learned about the August 14, 2005, casting call because of a live news report she just happened to see while channel flipping that Saturday morning. Valeska encouraged him to grab his prototype and rush to the audition in Columbia, S.C.

Stan impressed the Everyday Edisons judges with his patented and improved T-Square, called the “Easy Read Cross Boarder,” which would allow for consistently straight, vertical cuts when scoring and mounting drywall.

Today, Stan not only thanks his relentless drive to succeed, but also his wife, Valeska, for his experience as an Everyday Edisons inventor.

Season 1B Inventors

INVENTION: The Edugrader™ Grading Pen
INVENTOR: Rebecca Byler

Photograph of Rebecca A career teacher who’s taught every age group over the course of 27 years, Rebecca Byler admits that while her passion for teaching hasn't changed, what's being demanded of teachers has. Piles of paperwork have kept this Nashville native – and countless other teachers - from focusing on what's really important in the classroom: teaching!

Tired of the old slide grader that has been used to grade papers for decades, Rebecca came up with the idea for an electronic pen that would keep track of right and wrong answers, as well as calculate the grade. So, taking a generic pen and a Sharpie®, Rebecca was off to an Everyday Edisons casting call.

The Edugrader Grading PenWith the Everyday Edisons design, branding and engineering teams working in unison, Rebecca's rudimentary prototype has been transformed into a high-tech, sleek new tool perfect for time-crunched teachers. Rebecca hopes her grading pen will get high marks from tired teachers looking for a way to lighten the grading load!

Teaching is a substantial part of Rebecca’s life. Not only has she taught for 27 years, but her two older sisters are career teachers and her husband, Jud, is a Special Education teacher, too! Rebecca currently teaches 6th Grade Special Education at Gra Mar Middle School in Metro Nashville Davidson County.

Being camera shy, Rebecca considers her on-air adventure with Everyday Edisons an “out-of-body experience,” which has strengthened her self esteem. She aspires to invent other products and credits her children, Ben Byler and Liz Byler-Shea, as her biggest inspiration and greatest joy.

INVENTION: The Kineta™ Stroller
INVENTORS: Karen Madigan and Lynn McIntyre

Photograph of Karen and Lynn Do-it-all moms Karen Madigan and Lynn McIntyre have been best friends since they can remember. They’ll even tell you that they were “the only altos in Junior High choir.” Through college, marriage, kids and careers, Karen and Lynn have remained close, which led them to collaborate on an invention idea.

Karen couldn’t figure out how to keep her youngest son, Kyle, content in a stroller. After brainstorming dozens of concepts, the dynamic duo had a “eureka moment:” why not combine an activity saucer with a stroller so a child can stand up, spin and explore or sit and rest? Karen and Lynn invested several years, countless hours and thousands of dollars just to have their idea designed before becoming Everyday Edisons inventors.

The Kineta StrollerToday their stroller has been rebranded as “the Kineta,” and it gives children the freedom to wiggle, spin and bounce as long as their boundless energy can sustain them. A unique rotating arm gives the child a 360-degree view and lets them move about to their heart’s delight. With a revolving seat that locks into place, strollerbound children can see the park from a whole new perspective…keeping kids content and parents from pulling their hair out!

Karen and Lynn hope their finished product is just the happy beginning to a long life for the Kineta.

INVENTION: The P.O. Barx™ Shredding Dog
INVENTOR: Chuck Foley

Photograph of Chuck The name Chuck Foley may not ring a bell, but odds are he’s made you smile. Foley is the co-inventor of the iconic American game, Twister™ — or Pretzel, as he called it when he pitched it to Milton-Bradley executives in 1965.

While Twister has gone on to sell tens of millions of units worldwide, Chuck was never able to cash in on the game’s success after walking away from a licensing deal he felt was unfair.

The holder of multiple patents and a lifetime inventor, Chuck has hundreds of ideas tucked away in his hip pocket, one of which he pitched at the first Everyday Edisons casting call in Charlotte, N.C.

The P.O. Barx Shredding DogFoley’s newest invention is a whimsical, child-friendly, child-operated toy shredder that will engage kids in the lost art of writing a simple letter.

Father of 10 and not a big fan of all the recent technological advances that have made communicating with each other “impersonal,” Foley wanted his invention to get kids back into writing mom, dad, Grandma or Grandpa a letter. As an “Everyday Edison,” Foley wasn’t looking for the proverbial “second chance” or big paycheck — he just hoped to be able to make you and your children smile again.

Everyday Edisons’ Industrial Design and Creative teams whittled his broad toy concept down to an interactive toy dog dubbed the “P.O. Barx Shredding Dog.” A militaristic toy geared toward children of men and women serving in the armed forces, P.O. Barx sits atop an army tank donning a combat helmet. Each P.O. Barx Shredding Dog comes with stationery for writing a message, which the child then sends through the toy dog’s mechanical jaws. After “encoding” the message, the child seals the shreds in an envelope and sends it off where mom or dad is stationed. After the letter is delivered, mom or dad must first “decode” its contents by piecing the shreds together before the secret message can be read!

INVENTION: The Workout 180™ Exercise System
INVENTOR: Jennifer Waldroup Holloway

Photograph of Jen Born and raised in rural Georgia, Jennifer Holloway always knew deep-down that she was destined to make it big. The problem was, by her own admission, the only thing "big" about her in her early years was what garnered her the nickname “Wide-Load Waldroup.”

Inspired by others’ taunts, the heavy-set farm girl eventually became Miss Georgia and a popular local television news anchor admired by millions in Central Florida. So what happened to change the course of Jen’s life between adolescence and adulthood? Simple: she got moving! Jen determined to make physical fitness a priority in her life, and the decision paid off. But in her newfound quest to lead an active lifestyle, she quickly noticed that her joints were sore after repeated use of a popular step device – not her muscles. To remedy the problem, Jen simply put three sheets of high-density foam on top of her step — and her life changed! By adding instability to the step, Jen noticed her core muscles now became involved and her joints weren’t hurting anymore.

The Workout 180 Exercise SystemJen has high aspirations for the Workout 180 as it gets hearts pumping and muscles flexing across America!

Jen’s simple idea made her an “Everyday Edison” and now she hopes her revolutionary new exercise invention, the Workout 180, will help other people achieve their own dreams and goals.

The Workout 180 incorporates strength training, stability exercises and cardiovascular workouts in one easy-to-transport piece of equipment. It’s an exercise step, balance board, and push-up bar with a built-in resistance band system. The revolutionary band system allows for seven different levels of resistance on either a stable or unstable surface. By offering multiple intensity and resistance options, this new exercise device puts the “overload principle” into effect – whereby maximum fitness results are reached by consistently increasing the “load” placed on the muscles and varying the type of exercises performed.

INVENTION: HyprRims™ New Wheel Technology

Photograph of Jon Many inventors toil for years with little success to show for their efforts. That’s not the case with Atlanta-native Jon Davis.

After telling his son he wasn’t going to spend a couple thousand dollars on “spinners,” the popular hub-caps that keep spinning after a car comes to a stop, Jon took a close look at his own oscillating printing press. A career screen printer, Davis had looked at his presses thousands of times, but this time he saw something different. He envisioned a hub-cap that not only spins, but oscillates at the same time.

HyprRims New Wheel TechnologySo Jon grabbed one of his oscillating printer cylinders and headed to an Everyday Edisons casting call. Jon’s invention turned out to be one of the biggest engineering challenges for the Everyday Edisons engineering team. The engineer’s needed to be able to ensure the product’s safety on a moving automobile while utilizing the oscillating motion of Jon’s new tire rim design. After developing and testing numerous prototypes, they finally arrived at the “HyprRims” new wheel technology. Watch out spinners! HyprRims are rolling on to the scene.

INVENTION: The Koku™ All-In-One Cutting Board
INVENTOR: Joe Casale

Photograph of Joe Most inventors are new to the game of inventing. Not so Joe Casale, an Industrial Designer who makes a living helping others design their inventive dreams. As Joe was cutting up vegetables on his kitchen counter, it struck him that there has to be a better way to cut, measure and distribute veggies and other food items. He put his pen to the paper and mapped out a blueprint for what he called “The Complete Cutting Board,” an innovative cutting board which would streamline several cooking necessities into one resourceful product.

Today Joe’s cooking gadget has taken shape as the Koku all-in-one cutting board – an integrated cutting board which combines various cooking functions into one compact, sleek design.

The Koku All-In-One Cutting BoardTo help keep vegetable and meat preparation separate and sanitary, the Koku includes two double-sided cutting boards. While one cutting board is in use the other remains hidden, snapped into the tool’s base for storage. Removing the exposed cutting board reveals a built-in coarse and fine grater, vegetable and fruit slicer as well as conversion chart to make recipes easier to follow.

The Koku also features two removable side drawers which contain adjustable compartments to measure and separate ingredients. Chopped food can be whisked into either of the side drawers whose sliding wall catches at appropriate increments.

Looking back on the whole experience, Joe says he has fully enjoyed the luxury of Everyday Edisons developing his entire concept. It was a good change for this industrial designer who’s designed more than 200 products to date, including toys, games and office supply products. “Normally, I have to get in there and take it to the third decimal point,” said Joe. “That takes so much time and engineering. Now I’m just having fun with people.”

INVENTION: The Loopa™ Gyro Bowl
INVENTOR: Brad and Melinda Shepard

Photograph of Brad and MelindaMost parents are closet inventors.

Think about it. Parents are problem solvers. Parents are always trying to figure out ways to make products do more than they were originally designed to do. 

So when Brad and Melinda’s little one spilled Cheerios all over the back seat of the minivan for the umpteenth time, lightning struck. 

Mom Melinda described her “spill-proof bowl” concept to dad Brad, an engineer, and soon the NUO (No Uh-Oh) bowl was born!

The Loopa Gyro BowlOnce in the hands of Everyday Edisons, Brad and Melinda’s “NUO Bowl” evolved into a lime green prototype that looked like something from outer-space! The Creative team rebranded it as “the Loopa Gyro Bowl,” and now Brad and Melinda’s spill-resistant invention swivels, dips and oscillates in all directions to keep snacks where they belong…in the bowl, not in the car, on the floor, or all over you! Its Reactive Balancing System utilizes a weighted inner bowl which rotates 360 degrees, keeping the dry snacks inside - no matter how little ones grab or turn it. Not only does this bowl make snack time a breeze for parents, its galactic design and bright colors are a hit with kids, too.

“Our Everyday Edisons experience – like the bowl – has been out of this world,” laughed Brad Shepard. Now this couple says they have the inspiration they need to pursue their countless other inventive dreams and ideas.

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When to Watch

Everyday Edisons premieres June 19, 2008
Check your local listings.