Widgets From Gadgets

by Diana Barnum

Gadgets is the brainchild of Bill Page, a supervisor for Duff Quarry. Whenever page discovered a problem with a piece of equipment, he designed a solution – like the Scrren Cleaner.

Need help getting around your quarry operations? How about one of Inspector Gadget’s widgets that opens from the top of your hard hat. A shaft rises into the air several feet, then propeller blades pop out of the shaft and a handheld operating device transports you around your site like a helicopter. Great, but fictional.
However, there are some nifty widgets out there like the Screen Cleaner, the Handy-Chute and Kneeboards from Gadgets Manufacturing (MFG) Company of Russells Point, OH. The Screen Cleaner is an easy to install, self-starting device that continuously unclogs the surface of any screen deck. Results are more material production, less down time and improved product quality. Best results were reported on decks producing sizes sevens, eights and nines.
“The nice thing, from a user’s standpoint is that it’s a universal and will fit any brand or any size screen,” said Bob Brewer, vice-president of sales and marketing for Screen Cleaner distributor Masaba Mining Equipment in Akron, IA. “That’s a real benefit to the end user.” A client of Gadgets MFG in Nebraska recycles crushed brick from old buildings that they knock down. Terrible clogging problems brought them to Masaba where Brewer set them up with the Screen Cleaner.
Another gadget, the Handy-Cute, made of lightweight, flexible, high-impact polyethylene, attaches to any front- or rear-discharge mixer chute. It comes with a heavy-duty seamless vinyl boot, available in assorted lengths and diameters for a variety of functions. A flexible funnel is half the weight of metal competitors, saving labor, time and pour material. How does it work? “A steel bar goes straight through the upper end of the hopper,” said Ray DeWitt, salesman for Handy-Chute distributor A. H. Harris and Sons, Inc. in Newington, CT. “Two chains hook it to the end of a concrete chute. Concrete comes into the hopper, goes straight through the elephant trunk, or 5-foot long poly-hose and drops it into forms or directly into walls, etc.”
DeWitt said they sell Handy-Chutes frequently.
“They’re a very popular item,” said DeWitt. “Anyone who’s a contractor that’s pouring concrete has one.” Another popular gadget is the Kneeboard. Made of lightweight, durable, high-impact plastic, workers discover comfort and control with adjustable foot brackets and kneepads.
“When they (contractors) are finishing concrete, they kneel on the Kneeboard and scoot backwards while working,” explained Simone Page, Bill’s sister-in-law who handles the office works for Gadgets MFG. Competitor versions are more expensive, made of fiberglass or metal.
These inventions are the brainchild of Bill Page, supervisor for Duff’s Quarry, headquartered in Huntsville, OH. Bill Page described how it all started.
“We’d bought a new portable crushing facility from Process Machines with two #6 X 20 large screens. We used Durez materials on the decks. Set up in remote Forest, OH. The stone was damp and sticky. Fines accumulated like glue or plastic, clogging the screens. Stone failed to pass regulations.”
Page wanted to automate the plant, but it kept slowing down and had to be stopped to drag chains over decks to unclog them, a process repeated since “the beginning of time.” Recalling his background in satellite industries, Page designed the Screen Cleaner with satellite electronics to propel adjustable chains back and forth across the decks. Through a control box, the mechanism starts and stops itself. Controls also feature speed, time duration of rotation and a trips over-load safety mechanism. Field tests conducted over a three-year period demonstrated increased tonnage.
A desire to provide jobs for wives in the family lead Bill to set up shop. His wife and sister-in-law run operations while he works at Duff’s Quarry.
“Distributors have been the best deal for me,” said Bill. “They buy 10 to 12 at a time.”
Is Bill Page really like Inspector Gadget from television? “Yes, he is,” said Simone. “He’s endless. He doesn’t finish one gadget and then starts on the next project. He’s always working on something.” Bill said he really did get the title of his company, Gadgets MFG from the old cartoon that he used to watch.
For more information about widgets from Gadgets, contact Gadgets Mfg., Co., P.O. Box 771, Russells Point, OH 43348. Call or fax: (937) 686-5371.