Saturday morning December 20, 2003 my wife Marilyn was getting ingredients together for her annual holiday baking. Christmas cookies were first on her agenda. Flour, butter, eggs, milk, powder sugar, salt, vanilla and cream of tartar were among the items needed. Everything was easy to find with exception of the cream of tartar. Since I’m a bit taller, I was instructed to look in the corner wall cupboard for the elusive cream of tartar. After several minutes of rummaging through the disarray of spice containers we came to the conclusion we were all out.
Marilyn then set off to the big city to retrieve the missing ingredient and I came up with the brilliant idea of building a spice rack to eliminate the never-ending mess in our kitchen cupboard. Little did I realize what was about to transpire! At that time I really didn’t set out to build a carousel style spice rack. My goal was to build a flat spice rack to hang on a wall much like a picture frame. It would be made up of open lengths of channels that would feature snap-in/snap-out retention and would hold spice manufacturer’s containers directly off grocery store shelves (the kind of plastic spice containers everyone uses on a regular basis).
Starting out I noted the smaller spice containers measured 1-½ inches outside diameter. I decided my first prototype would be made of PVC plumbing pipe that had an inside diameter of 1½ inches. In my workshop I cut about a dozen 10-inch lengths of pipe and sawed about half of them length-wise on my table saw. I then scooped them up and headed to the kitchen island, pulled up a stool, snapped some spice containers into the freshly cut open-sided pipes (channels) and begin shuffling them around like checkers. To my surprise I soon realized that 6 of the channels fit perfectly around an un-cut pipe, a carousel? Bingo!
By the time Marilyn arrived back home I had my first prototype assembled ready for her inspection. Her reaction was “where did you ever come up with that crazy idea?” But then, I could see it intrigued her and I was hooked for sure.
Within several more hours and amid the smell of baking cookies, my all-new concept of spice storage was born! I quickly came to the conclusion that this new carousel could accomplish things no other spice rack currently on the market could. It could be utilized on a counter-top, mounted on a wall vertically & horizontally or installed under a kitchen wall cabinet and even be used on an ordinary kitchen paper towel holder.
I knew on that wintry December day in 2003 this idea was so fresh, unique and original it deserved a patent, so I filed for my first ever US Utility Patent. The official certificate from the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is now framed and hangs proudly above our office computer desk.
Over the next couple years I tinkered and developed the different designs of my invention to the point that I thought it best to file for another US Patent (Utility) for the vast improvements, concept refinements and model changes. That second patent has now been published and should take its place next to the first above the desk before long.
As my wandering mind never stops, I have now developed a third concept in which homemakers can use the ever precious space on the inside of their cabinet doors to install individual spice container holders. As we have introduced this product to consumers at the largest craft shows all across Iowa and into Nebraska and Illinois the response has been un-expectantly fantastic, along with the booming sales of this unit, has me now filing for a third US Patent, ‘Design’ this time around.
In addition, Marilyn and I have developed a working relationship with Huisman Global Ventures of Orange City, Iowa, bringing with them valuable manufacturing experience and marketing contacts.
Most recently we’ve been joined by my sister Marjorie & husband Mike Majors of Webster City, Iowa in what promises to be an enjoyable and rewarding partnership.