Ariens Company announced Nov. 9 that it signed a letter of intent to enter into an agreement with two Iowa middle school students to produce and distribute an invention they designed as part of the Invent Iowa program.
Sam Hipple and Matt Moran attend Sudlow Intermediate School in Davenport, Iowa. They designed the “Mega Melter” as part of the 2007 Invent Iowa program, sponsored by the colleges of engineering at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The boys were in sixth grade at the time.
The Mega Melter is a salt spreader device that can be attached to an Ariens Sno-Thro machine, allowing a homeowner to clear snow and spread salt in one pass of the machine.
“Our employees saw the potential and ran with it,” said Dan Ariens, president and CEO of Ariens Company. “We feel privileged to be the company that will work with Matt and Sam to bring their idea to market. But don’t overlook the fact that this is a viable, marketable and useful product idea. It meets a very current need because it will save time for busy homeowners who need to keep their driveways clear of snow and ice.”
The Brillion, Wis.-based company learned of the invention through a news article that included a picture of the invention mounted onto an Ariens Sno-Thro model, according to Dan Ariens. Ariens employees took on the project following one of the company’s core values to “encourage intellectual curiosity.”
When asked how they came up with their invention, Moran said, “Our idea came about last winter when there was so much ice and snow. We worked through a lot of ideas before we came up with this one.”
Hipple added, “Our coaches, teachers and parents told us that if you work hard enough and put your mind to it, anything is possible. They were right. The Ariens Company has given us a great opportunity and has helped us make the invention a reality.”
Ariens Company is assisting with the patent process and covering the associated fees. A provisional patent was filed in the boys’ names and is now pending. In return, the young inventors will license their product to Ariens Company and receive a royalty for each Mega Melter that is sold. The company plans to make the Mega Melter available for the 2009 winter snow season.