Garner Men Capitalizing on a 'Nozzle' Idea
Posted November 11, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
GARNER — Here's an example of how an accident changed a man's life and could change yours too. Two Garner men have invented and manufactured a nozzle that has revolutionized power washing. It's a Capital Idea that cuts your work-time in halfandkeeps you safe.
To hear Mike Baker talk, you'd never know he's been spending most of his life behind a desk doing paperwork.
"This is what they consider... it's a Venturi system, explains Baker. "The soap and the chemicals are going to wrap together and it's going to be a spiral."
Now, his lifeispressure washing because it almost killed him.
"Got up at the very top of the ladder, had my wand ready to spray," explains Baker. "[The person holding the ladder] stepped away, evidently, just for a second. The deck was wet, the ladder went up from underneath me and I fell. I fell a good 20 feet on the deck and it just about killed me. It put me the hospital."
What's kept him going is his invention to prevent such an accident from happening to anyone else.
Baker had the idea for a nozzle which enables someone to shoot water or chemicals 50-feet, eliminating the need for ladders. And it works at low pressure -- not the high pressure of traditional nozzles which can do damage.
"You can see the pressure," Baker point out. "If I were to put my hand in front of there it would cut my hand."
Baker teamed up with retired machinist Terry McClean to make the idea come to life.
"I got together with Mike because he wanted to develop this thing," says McClean. "I thought, why sure, I can make it work, so we did."
McClean makes the nozzles out of stainless steel right in his shop. Baker sells them at his business in Garner. They've sold several thousand in the last couple of years.
The duo has even come up with different fittings to put inside the nozzle so you can mix ratios of chemicals to water, making it useful for a variety of jobs from fighting fires, to spreading fertilizer.
"Not only have we provided, I think, a good product to wash houses, to put out insecticides, pesticides, whatever. We have something that's safe for the homeowner and the contractor," according to baker.
"It's a result of the same old adage that's always been around," says McClean. "'Necessity is the mother of invention.'"
Right now, mostly power washing companies have bought the nozzles at about $160 each.
Terry and Mike hope to find a company to possibly mass market the nozzles to homeowners who want to wash their homes as well.