DURHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Forget fighting over who is going to clear the table and do the dishes. A Durham County man invented a table that will do the job for you.
Inside his quiet workshop, Harold Dehart is trying to change the way people look at their kitchens.
"I just knew there should be a better way," he said.
Dehart invented a kitchen table with a dishwasher inside it and called it Au Dine.
He said Au Dine is easy to use. You open the placemat cover, put the dishes back in the rack that was made for them, close it up and turn the dial. There is also hot water available on tap.
Visions of the machine danced around in the retired mechanical inspector's head for years. The Au Dine took three years to build. He already claims several discontinued models.
"It took about everything I had in these three years to really come up with the right thing," Dehart said. "I've got four discarded models out there in the woods out there that didn't work, so it took a long time to get what would work, what was practical."
Dehart designed the Au Dine big enough to seat four, but now he is working on the sequel. One model would seat two and would be great for a studio apartment. It also has extra storage space.
"It saves a lot of cabinet space," Dehart said.
Dehart has a patent on the big table and one is pending for the smaller size. Now, he hopes to make a deal.
"We don't have a contract to sign on the line that somebody's going to manufacture at this point, but there's a lot of interest," Dehart said.
Dehart said he has received national media attention for his invention. He envisions the Au Dine working well in assisted living communities, motor homes and the traditional kitchen.