I've often had to shovel snow off my driveway and tried to do it the way snowplows work but with no success. The snow falls off the back or piles up on the sides and generally I revert to bending, scooping and throwing the snow until I hurt my back. Then I send my sons out to do it.
This man has invented a way to do it properly. Check out the Shove it shovel.
With two hands you get the ability to push and angle the snow away from you, just the way a snow-plow would do it.
He invented it while watching his son move big piles of snow using a conventional snowplow blade on the front of a truck. Meanwhile, Burke was clearing a walkway with the classic, straight-edge snow shovel — scooping, lifting, turning and throwing.
"Just looking at that snowplow, I thought, 'Why not make one of these that looks like a snowplow?' " Burke recalled. "Just to avoid coming home crooked at night from all the twisting."
So he began tinkering. What he came up with puts the shovel blade on a pivot and gives the user two handles — one to push, one to steer. With one of the handles and the pivot, the user can turn the blade to the side at any angle desired, just like a snowplow, then use the other handle to push snow down the walk and to the side, keeping the blade on the ground.
Check out the video:
"I was actually kind of surprised that no one had come up with it before," Burke said.
The second part of this story is the struggle he went through to get a patent on his idea. Read an excerpt from the Denver Post article describing his travails:
Burke figured he ought to at least seek prot ection for his idea, just in case there was a way to make some money from it.
He contacted a patent attorney who estimated it would take 18 months to get a decision. His application had barely been looked at as that time frame passed. When he finally heard from the patent office, it wanted more information.
The process won't change under the newly enacted legislation — but it all should happen faster. In a thoroughly novel concept for the federal government, the patent office will get to keep the fees it charges, so it can hire more people and process more applications more quickly. It also is designed to reduce the litigation inherent in the invention business by changing the U.S. from a hard-to-quantify "first to invent" system to "first to file."
Already, the number of backlogged applications has been dropping steadily, from 721,831 in December 2010 to 662,457 at the end of last year, when Burke finally received a patent for the "Shove It Shovel."
So far, Burke has sold about 100 of them at between $35 and $45 apiece. He has a handful of stores in Colorado Springs and Englewood carrying his product, along with an Internet sales service.
He is now feeling optimistic about recouping his $5,000 patent investment and is even a little worried about whether publicity after a big snowfall will spark a run on the Shove It, making it hard for him to keep up with demand.
He may want to look into Kickstarter to get a leg up on sales for mass-producing the items.