Local inventor Loren Barker has invented a better way to put on compression socks.
Necessity is the mother of invention and for one Pratt man, necessity has led to a new business opportunity.
Loren Barker was having trouble putting on the compression hose Dr. Steve Donnenwerth had prescribed for him. He had back surgery eight years ago and it made bending over hard to do.
The hose are tight and it was difficult for Barker, who is 83-years-old, to get the hose over his toes. He tried other products on the market that were advertised to help get socks on but they were made of plastic but just didn't work for him.
So Barker decided he was going take matters into his own hands and designed a metal sock aid then his granddaughters husband Nick Fox welded the prototype and made it a reality. Barker's daughters Gail Brown and Peggy Ellison put the pieces together and it was ready for testing.
When the project was done, Barker tested his invention and it worked better than he had anticipated. His design included a locking system that kept the sock open and stable allowing him to easily put his foot in the sock then pull it the rest of the way on without a problem.
"It worked well. I could get my socks on myself," Barker said. "It's a problem solver, that's what it is."
The design worked so well that Barker decided to get it patented and put it on the market. He knew of many people that had problems getting compression hose on their feet because they are very tight.
Barker talked with his daughters and they agreed if Barker would get the patent, the daughters would run the company.
Doctors prescribe compression hose for variety of reasons. Barker said he know of people that just couldn't get the hose on because they were too tight and weren't able to use them like they were prescribed for them, Barker said.
Barker researched existing products and found that none had the same design he had with a locking mechanism. He applied for and received a patent for his invention on June 20.
With assistance from his daughters, they formed a company, Dad & Daughters, LLC, developed a marketing strategy while Keith Ray of Striker Welding was busy producing 50 units for people to try.
The response was immediate and very positive. Everyone that used Compression Sockaid said they were able to get the socks on without problem and were very pleased with the product, Barker said.
Donnenwerth got to see Compression Sockaid in action and was so impressed, he appeared in a video endorsing the product.
He is anxious to get the product on the market but there was one thing that needed to happen. While Brown and Ellison could put a few of the units together, the anticipated demand would mean many units would be needed so the family began looking around and found the answer to their assembly issue. They contacted Arrowhead West and they agreed their clients would assemble the units, said Richard Hawley, Arrowhead West Division Manager.
There are 15 units out in the public to get a sense of approval and the response has been very positive. Everyone that has a Sockaid is very impressed. Some have shown it to other relatives and friends and they have been impressed as well.
Now they are ready to see how this invention will do on the market. The family is out presenting the product and hopeful the product will take off. The family expects that most of their sales will be on the Internet
Barker felt very strongly that the product had to be made in the USA and is proud that not only is it an American product but its a Pratt product as well.
To find out more about Compression Sockaid, go to mysockaid.com