Meet Our Own 'Thomas Edison'
By Jeanne Sager
HORTONVILLE January 19, 2007 “Usually, ideas are just ideas… to most people,” says Jeff Peters.
To Peters, they’re actions.
The Hortonville plumber was debating the best place to put a faucet in a Jacuzzi tub when an idea popped into his head.
“It came to me in the middle of the night really,” he said with a grin.
No more hitting your thigh or banging your head on a long, pointy spout.
Peters said the simple solution was a flush-mounted faucet, made of a smooth material that would minimize injuries if someone were to bump up against it and create a more streamlined look.
It sounded like the solution to his problems every time his family business, Bob Peters Plumbing and Heating, went to put in a Jacuzzi, there was a big debate on where to put the faucet.
“You put it at one end, you hit your head,” he said. “You put it at the other end, you hit your head!”
But when Peters woke up the next morning, he brushed the idea aside.
After all, we all have ideas.
It wasn’t much later that Peters went to visit his pastor, Rich Ienuso, and ran into a rabbi.
The rabbi told Peters the Lord had spoken to him. He’d told this Jewish leader that Peters had an invention in his heart, and he had to do something with it.
Peters went home. That night, he talked everything over with his wife, Jenny, and decided to go for it.
He headed online to the Better Business Bureau to find someone who could help him turn his idea into an honest-to-goodness faucet.
He opted to sign on with the InventSAI Network, a company that actually markets inventors’ products to companies in their field.
First up, they wanted a drawing of the faucet.
“That was the hard part,” Peters said with a laugh. “I don’t know how to draw!”
So he asked around, pitched the idea to people he knew and asked them to draw it.
No one could get it quite right the picture on paper didn’t match the picture in his head.
So he wrote a detailed letter to InventSAI with his own rough sketch enclosed, and their staff, experienced in technical drawing, created a prototype.
Since April, InventSAI has been sending a CD presentation to bath fixture companies across the nation.
A few have expressed interest, but Peters said no one’s been willing to sign on the dotted line.
He remains undaunted.
A father of seven (Brandy, Jeff Jr., Scott and Angelina who are all grown and Elijah, 11, Enoch, 4, and Faith, 3 at home), Peters said he’s convinced this is the safest option for any tub.
The faucet in most tubs is sharp, he said, and it juts out dangerously from the wall.
“They have that rubber spout cover [for a standard faucet], but anyone who has kids knows, they pull them off and play with them!” he said. “That guy made a million, and his product doesn’t work.
“There’s no safety at all.”
Then there are the people who try to use a faucet as a handle or a support when getting in and out of the tub.
Stuck so far out of the wall, the faucet just can’t bear that much weight. They break off, and people get hurt, Peters said.
His design still allows water to flow in a stream for kids to play in. It’s still an option for mounting in the tub or on the wall.
It can be made of any material to match a bathroom from brushed nickel to chrome.
But the streamlined design is simpler, he said, safer.
And as a plumber (he’s worked on and off with his dad since he was a teenager, and been part of the company full time for almost 17 years), Peters said it’s a no-brainer.
His hope is that hotel owners will see the wisdom of installing the spouts to cut down on liability claims (the head of InventSAI itself said his wife was badly cut by a faucet) and parents will be lining up to make the purchase.
If a deal doesn’t close by April, Peters will have to pony up the money himself to purchase the patent on the invention.
He’ll do it if he has to because he has faith but maybe, just maybe, he won’t have to.
For information on Peters’ faucet, call InventSAI at 800-747-3109 or go online to www.InventSAI.com.