Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2004

Something’s fish about ex-resident’s invention

February 26, 2004

Former Tonganoxie resident Kevin Folsom didn't start out to invent something.

He merely wanted to fish.

But last summer when struck with a shoulder injury, he couldn't cast his fishing rod.

And so Folsom, who lives in Stover, Mo., just four miles from Lake of the Ozarks, thought of a way to cast his bait without having to raise his shoulder.

He went to work.

And not only was the rod a success, he sold his idea to Invention Technologies Inc. out of Coral Gables, Fla. This spring -- just as the fishing season heats up -- Folsom's patented "Easy Cast Rod" will hit the market.

The rod will allow those who are disabled or handicapped to plunk their bait far from shore. And it will help any fishermen in tight quarters -- such as bank areas where tree limbs are just overhead. The rod is also ideal for children.

Folsom said he's amazed at two things -- that there was no such rod on the market already and that in less than a year his idea has gone from thought to reality.

There's nothing complicated about the Easy Cast, which will sell for $65 to $85, Folsom said.

"The one I made is kind of simple, because I'm a simple kind of guy," Folsom said, grinning.

And he would encourage anyone to work on ideas that come to them.

"People have got to pursue their crazy ideas," Folsom said. "That's how things get built -- by crazy ideas."

Most ideas take a little work.

For instance, Folsom's rod went back to the drawing board more than once.

"The first one wasn't very good," Folsom said. "The second one was better and I had better ideas on the third one -- I made modifications on it to make it work better."

The details of the rod, such as how it works and how it's made, for now, are secret, Folsom said.

But he did say it just takes the push of a button to cast, and the rods include a light for night fishing.

After perfecting his rod, Folsom said he performed a patent search to learn if there were similar products on the market.

There weren't. A friend suggested he send his idea to Invention Technologies. So he did; and two weeks later the company let him know they were interested.

Folsom's investment in his invention, which is patented, was about $2,000. In turn, he will receive a lump sum payment and royalties, he said. And, it's possible that Folsom will appear on televised commercials promoting the fishing rod.

In the future, Folsom said, he plans to do more traveling. And in April, he's going to start construction on a log home near Stover.

Now that he understands the invention process, Folsom is hooked -- he's got another invention in the works.

"I look at things to see if I can make them easier," Folsom said. "Everything's complicated, but there's always easier ways of doing things. There's inventions out there -- people just got to pursue their ideas."

Folsom, who is 41, graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 1981. He currently works for the Union Pacific railroad. His parents, Carl and Beverly Folsom, live near him in Stover.

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