The English Patent; TOOTHBRUSH BRAINWAVE IS INVENTOR'S LATEST HIT.
From the sponge-backed scouring pads found in every kitchen to bike racks and pong-free trainers, he's never short of a good idea.
And though his products are found in nearly every home, he isn't a household name. In fact, you've probably never heard of Peter Chown.
The 58-year-old grandfather's latest brainwave is a toothbrush with a cartridge of toothpaste in its handle. It will go on sale in six to eight weeks.
The pounds 1.70 Ezee-Clean toothbrush will contain enough paste for about 38 brushings. When it is empty it can be replaced with an 80p refill or topped up.
When the knob at the base of the brush is turned, the paste is pushed out of a nozzle on to the bristles. There's also an aerosol version which squishes out a metered amount of toothpaste.
Peter, from King's Lynn, Norfolk, had the idea while cleaning the bathroom during a stay by four of his seven grandchildren.
"There was toothpaste everywhere," he says. I thought there had to be a more efficient way of dispensing paste.
"It will mean an end to all the family rows about who is to blame for leaving the top off the toothpaste, because every person will have their own.
Peter used to work for engineering firms, inventing factory machinery. Now he works for himself as a full-time inventor and he admits he gets his best ideas from his family.
"Invention is a compulsion," he says. "I see a problem and I have to find a way around it, I often find myself doodling plans at 3am or I do some weeding in the garden to get inspiration."
Here are some of his brainwaves:
CYCLE CARRIER: Peter had the idea after seeing a bike fall off a car roof rack on the M4 in 1985 and nearly cause an accident.
"I went home, thought about it and decided the best way would be carry them on the back of the car," he says.
"I went into my workshop, cut up bits of metal and tried different designs for six months until I got it right."
He couldn't afford to make the carriers, so he sold the idea to an American firm for pounds 125,000.
SPONGE SCOURING PAD: Peter hit on the idea as he struggled to clean a roasting tin with a wire wool scourer in 1988.
"The scourer wouldn't hold the washing-up liquid and kept falling apart," he says. "I put a sponge and scourer together." He was paid pounds 30,000 for the idea.
EZEE-FEET TRAINER: A valve system releases deodorant through microscopic holes into the shoes from a reservoir in the heel as you move.
His wife had noticed a pong around the house and said: "Surely you can invent something to stop trainers smelling."
Peter says: "I tried all sorts of ideas. Then one day I was walking along the garden path when I heard my shoe squelch. I thought: 'That's it!'"
Big trainer manufacturers weren't interested, so he decided to market the shoes himself.
VACUUM CLEANER FILTER AND DEODORISER: "My wife bought a bagless vacuum cleaner and noticed it emitted a smell all the time," says Peter.
Now the air extract can be sucked into a gel that picks up the tiniest dust particles - better for asthma victims, he points out - and releases a pleasant aroma. An air freshener company wants to license his idea.
NON-SPILL BOTTLE TOPS: Peter invented a rotary top for soft- drink bottles after his grandchildren spilled a two-litre bottle of cola everywhere. The top must be pushed down before the drink can be poured, and if dropped it shuts off.
BODY THERAPY UNIT: Road rage could be a thing of the past, thanks to Peter. "I was sitting in traffic on the M25, my neck aching, when I thought how a nice, gentle vibration would help unwind motorists," he says.
He found his solution when he eased a sore wrist by pressing it against a vibrating window on a plane journey. The pounds 47 Body Therapy Unit - on sale in about four months - plugs into the car's cigarette lighter and sends out an electro-magnetic pulse while attached to the seat belt.
It can be applied to any tense area of the body by a driver stuck in a jam.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 8, 1999|
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