Marcellus inventor's device keeps signs up, even in stiff winds...
by Rick Moriarty / The Post-Standard Monday July 27, 2009, 9:55 PM
Dennis Nett / The Post-Standard Jack Titus, of Marcellus, holds the "Windflex," his invention that helps keep banners and signs from toppling over in the wind. "I've had it in 50-mile-an-hour winds," he said. "It's foolproof."
A Marcellus man thinks he has come up with a solution to a problem that plagues portable, outdoor signs -- getting blown down by wind. Jack Titus has invented hardware that he says will keep signs and banners up even in high winds He's selling the system direct to the public through his Web site, and to distributors who supply hardware to sign shops. His "Windflex" system consists of aluminum poles and a round plastic base equipped with heavy-duty springs. Mesh or vinyl signs can be attached to the poles, which fit into the sturdy plastic bases. Steel lag bolts, which can easily be pounded into grass or dirt, are used to keep the bases themselves from tipping over. The springs in the bases keep the poles straight up no matter which direction the wind is blowing,
Titus said."I've had it in 50-mile-an-hour winds," he said. "It's foolproof. It would take a hurricane to blow it over, and I'm not even sure that would do it."Prices for the bases range from $30 to $210, depending on size and features. Complete systems, which consist of the bases and sign frames, range from $240 to $880.The bases are manufactured in Rochester, and the poles are made in Canada.
Titus is looking for local companies to do the manufacturing.Titus, 57, a sales representative for companies that make specialty apparel, said he came up with the idea for the product after noticing how portable signs used by many businesses to promote special sales often blow down or are damaged by wind within a day or two. He teamed up with his son-in-law, Shannon Ahern, of Jordan, to design the Windflex.
Titus sees a big market for his product -- stores and fast-food restaurants that frequently place portable signs out front to draw attention to a sale or product. He said such signs often are placed on stakes that blow over easily.He also thinks real estate agents are potential buyers because the Windflex system can hold up banners in front of homes for sale. The banners could be printed with pictures of the inside of the house and the price of the home, he said.He also has adapted the product to hold up umbrellas and volleyball nets at the beach. Staff writer Rick Moriarty can be reached at 470-3148 or email@example.com.