NEW KID ON THE BLOCK:
~ By Maryellen Dever
At 86 years young, Ray Walker of Hingham is a kid at heart. He’s always inventing, searching for something new, better, or different. The AQUATOTE.com ® is the latest of Ray’s many inventions!
Walker says he doesn’t sleep much at night, not because of insomnia, though. He says he always seems to have a new idea pop into his head just as he is trying to get to sleep!
The AQUATOTE.com ® is a deceptively simple device he invented to help lift heavy or bulky items. It’s a 54”L by 1”W nylon web strap with rubber backing and heavy duty hardware, similar at first glance to a dog leash. Look closer and you’ll see two hand-hold loops on either side of a steel buckle. The idea is to wrap the strap around a heavy or bulky item, and two people can then grab the handles to lift the item without injury or stress to back muscles. The strap has high quality double box stitching and has been tested to hold over 200 pounds.
Walker owned his own insurance agency in Braintree until he retired in 1992. He said he got the idea for the AquaTote® one day when he saw a woman at his office try to change the water cooler bottle. As she tried to lift the 42lb bottle, she spilled some water, slipped, and broke her arm. Right then and there, he came up with the original idea so that two people of any size or strength could lift those water bottles in the office without further injuries.
After he retired, he had more time to devote to his inventions, and he did extensive research on the AquaTote® concept and product design. He found that there are 60 million people in this country who regularly drink bottled water, mainly because 37 of the 50 United States no longer have potable water in the ground. Many would find it economical to buy their water in these large bottles. The device is being sold online only at www.aquatote.com for $19.95 each plus shipping and handling. Walker will soon be adding PayPal to his payment options.
AQUATOTE.com ® has endless other applications. For instance, it can be used to carry firewood, packages, carpet, and laundry baskets. Ray Walker says when people see the device, they invariably say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s a great tool especially for the elderly to help with carrying things around the house.
He holds three patents, including one for the AquaTote®. He received that patent in 2008, 8 months after he applied, and said his attorney told him at the time that it was the fastest he had ever seen a patent granted. He would like to sell all three of his patents, because that would free him up to work on more inventions.
An avid sailor and long-time member of the Hingham Yacht Club, his first two patents were awarded for his popular DockCatcher invention, which helps boaters dock safely in all types of weather without the aid of dock hands. He expanded the line to include the LineCatcher and MooringCatcher also. He sold the company a few years ago, but still owns the patents.
A native of Quincy, Ray enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17 during World War II, and went through the Marine Officers Training Program at Dartmouth College. After college, he shipped out to the Pacific, first to Hawaii, and then to Guam. He served as a radar and electronics specialist on an aircraft carrier supplying US forces in the Western Pacific. Like many of his generation, he is a proud disabled veteran.
Given his success with inventions, one would think Walker went on to become an engineer or something similar after the war. Think again. Ray would have a successful career in the property and casualty insurance business, running his own company for 20 years.
Given his success in insurance sales, one would think Walker would enjoy the sales and marketing end of inventing. Think again. The fun for him has always been in the creation.
“I’ve always been creative. I’d been thinking about things for years for boats, golf clubs, but there was never enough time while I was working. I look at things every day and think, there’s got to be a better way of doing it, or an easier way to do it.” He says he has a few new ideas in the works now, but, of course, isn’t saying much more just yet.
A lover of animals of all kinds, Ray Walker is a passionate supporter of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton. He and his wife Maude bred and raised English Springer Spaniels for 15 years. His latest Springer, the loyal and supportive Oscar, watches while Ray tinkers with another invention prototype.
Given his love for animals, one would think Ray would invent something to help man’s best friend. Think again…no, wait – here comes another sleepless night filled with creative ideas!
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