Towson inventor fails to win with his new wrinkle on ironing

September 11, 1998|By Judith Forman | Judith Forman,SUN STAFF

Brent Farley of Towson spent yesterday on 57th Street in Manhattan hoping to become a winner.

He had a good feeling about the ironing mitt, his entry in Hammacher Schlemmer's "Search for Invention '98," the catalog company's fifth annual national inventor's competition to declare the best new consumer products of the year."

Everyone was touching Farley's invention, and the media were giving it tons of attention -- it allows "the user to iron with the hand in its relaxed, natural position by placing it into a mitt attached to a flexible iron bottom."

But Farley, a 48-year-old stage hand who was summoned to New York as one of the 14 semifinalists out of 300 entries, didn't make the final cut.

"Once I swallowed the cannonball-size lump in my throat, I was OK," he said.

The grand-prize winner of $5,000 was not nearly as exotic as the mitt: a multi-sensor system capable of detecting smoke, fire and carbon monoxide, by Adam Lynch of Madison, Ind.

The four $1,000 winners:

The Tilt-and-Clean Rain Gutter system, by Kevin Leahy of Wayne, Penn.

The "Liperator," a computerized device that plugs into a telephone and translates voice communication into a sequence of lip movements on a video display, by Robert Slager of Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Hydro Optix Dive Mask, which allows for natural vision underwater, by Jon Kranhouse of Pacific Palisades, Calif.

The Self-Locating Remote Monitoring System, which helps rescue people who have fallen overboard, by Dan Schlager of Mill Valley, Calif.

Pub Date: 9/11/98

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