The SqueezeDriver™ Lives Again
Twenty years after the last SqueezeDriver™ was assembled in Chatsworth California, nearly a decade after the patents expired, SqueezeDriver™ lives again. This time there's a licensing deal with Arrow instead of a new company. But original inventor Joel Marks is still involved and there is even a new patent (pending).
The aha moment came in 1981 when Joel was working in a tight spot in the engine compartment of his 1967 MGB (a car he continues to drive daily). Frustrated by turning fasteners just one click at a time he conceived a squeeze-powered rotary screwdriver and ratchet. For three years, from 1982 to 1985, while employed full time at TRW designing solar arrays for satellites, Joel invested over 2,000 hours to achieve a final design. In 1985 Mike Marks, Joel's brother, and Brad Golstein, Mike's college friend, joined Joel to found WorkTools, Inc. The trio raised $100,000 from family and friends and began assembly operations in the Marks family garage, using mechanisms from Taiwan and housings and handles from USA. Born in the pre-Internet era, WorkTools found sources for the mechanism in Taiwan by using information found at libraries, the Taiwan Ministry of Trade and fax machines.
SqueezeDriver™ was introduced by WorkTools in 1988 and won immediate acclaim. The tool enjoyed initial success with Brookstone, Sears catalog, QVC and in 2 minute and 30 minute infomercials. It appeared in Kmart and Target and was sold in over 50 countries around the world. This success inspired numerous illegal knockoffs. One of the knockoffs, made in China, was so faithful to to the original that "WorkTools, Los Angeles" was engraved in the housing in the same type font as on the WT made tools!
Unfortunately, 1988 was also the year that the battery powered cordless screwdriver made its hyperbolic debut. Overshadowed by the cordless screwdriver, SqueezeDriver™ ultimately failed to find fame and fortune.
WorkTools persevered. In 1992 Joel invented a revolutionary new staple gun. The first crude prototype received enthusiastic approval in user surveys. The new product was licensed to Black & Decker and became the PowerShot® Forward-Action® stapler - now licensed to Arrow!
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