Kids are known for being imaginative, but when it comes to inventors, they're not the first group that comes to mind. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of pint-size inventors—in honor of National Inventors Month, we tip our hats to five young inventors who didn't stop at a great idea—they've taken their inventions and turned them into successful businesses.
Invented by Krysta Morlan when she was a sophomore in high school, the CastCooler is a portable device that pumps air into a cast, allowing air to circulate between the cast and the skin it covers. The CastCooler helps remove moisture that causes itching and odor, and is recommended by many orthopedic offices around the US. CastCooler is patented and trademarked by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and is sold through Morlan's website, www.castcooler.com.
In 1994, at the age of ten, Kathryn Gregory invented Wristies, a fingerless glove that could be worn under mittens in the winter to keep the wrists warm. As the idea caught on, people began wearing Wristies while practicing guitar or piano, typing, or even for sending text messages in colder weather. Gregory, with the help of her family, started manufacturing her product and in 1997, began selling Wristies on QVC, where she was the youngest person ever to sell merchandise on the television network dedicated to shopping. Sold at stores throughout the US, Wristies are also available at: www.wristies.com.
In 1999, sixth-grader Christen Wooley needed to find a solution to a science project she'd been given in school. The answer she came up with was a wearable book bag that she designed, using scraps of fabric and replacing the straps on a backpack with a close- fitting vest that she dubbed a Vest Pack. According to her website, www.vestpakz.com, “The Vestpakz wearable book bag, with its advanced, ergonomic design is more comfortable than ordinary backpacks. Special features such as hidden side pockets add convenient storage and easy access.” Today, Wooley is vice president and co-founder of Vestpakz LLC, a company she co-founded to market, develop, and produce her invention, which was patented on June 4, 2002, as Vestpakz.
4. Glow Glass
In 1999, California teenager Daniel McKay first brainstormed his invention: a pink, plastic champagne glass that lights up during a blackout. McKay's invention was inspired by chance (as most inventions are!) when he placed a keychain flashlight under a glass and lit up the entire glass. McKay spent more than six months perfecting his lighted drinking glass, which was manufactured and sold locally and in Longs Drug Stores and on www.glowglass.com.au. McKay's dedication to perfecting his glowing glass started at home. His dad, Chris McKay, owned a novelty products business called Direct Hits Products in Carmel, California, and the younger McKay often “test-drove” new products for his dad.
5. Battie Caddy
Invented by Austin Meggitt when he was just nine years old, the Battie Caddy attaches to a bike and makes it easy to carry a baseball, glove, and bat while riding to and from practice. In 2008, 19-year-old Meggitt struck a deal with Base4 of Dallas, Texas to license the Battie Caddy and turn it into a “commercially available product,” according to a press release from By Kids For Kids Company, which represents Meggitt. The Battie Caddy name is protected by trademark, and Meggitt received a patent for his invention in 2002. Meggitt was inducted into the Young Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999.
These inventive kids are proof that a great idea and a little hard work can turn into great business. So what are you waiting for? Patent that invention and get started!
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