There's a national day for everything. Bet you didn't know there's a whole
week devoted to hardware. Yes, the hardware industry observes International
Hardware Week, including the National Hardware Show, held this year in
Chicago. It's an exclusive coming out party where retailers and marketers
can glimpse new products before they hit the shelves. But now consumers and
tool fanatics can see the same stuff. Here's a sampling of the shape of
things to come.
Hand tools are getting fancier and sprouting multiple sockets and slots.
These are not your ordinary open-ended wrenches. A tool marketed outside the
U.S., the Pop Prow WratchetWrench, is now headed for tool benches here for
the first time. It's got two jaw slots at each end instead of one. The
package of three wrenches will go for about $25. Stride Tool has developed
the Roto Wrench, a device with eight box wrenches in one ranging in size from
five-16ths to three-quarters of an inch. It should cost about $14.99 and will
be sold at Sears and other stores soon. Yet another combination-type tool
is the Socketstik from the Wilton Tool Co. It combines a ratchet wrench and
socket set into one unit, with seven sockets all neatly nestled in the
handle. Selling for about $19.99, the tool lets you check a nut or bolt's
size without fishing through sockets. Want a tool holster to carry your new
stuff? Check out the Tool Slinger, also from Wilton. See who's quicker on
the draw around the auto shop, when you slip more than 30 items into your two
Velcro holsters hanging around the hips.
The ordinary household rake is sprouting two heads and clog-free teeth. If
you're headed out to the garden for your annual leaf raking ritual, make a
stop at the hardware store first. The Clog-Free Rake's claim to fame is
eliminating those annoying leaves that get stuck to the teeth, reducing the
efficiency of raking or requiring frequent stops to clear clogs. But don't
expect to see this product more widely until next year. Rapid Rake is a
spring-loaded, two-headed job. What one rake misses, the other picks up. Or
that's the idea. Clog-Free Rake and Rapid Rake will both sell for
approximately $19.99. Speaking of raking, are you annoyed by loud geese
leaving a mess around your pool or pond? Try the Gator Guard by Bird-X, a
replica of an alligator head that floats in the water. It's supposed to work
like a scarecrow and frighten away birds, says the inventor.
On the safety side, the Protekdoor is a device that attaches over the
doorknob at one end with a strap anchored to the stud work behind the door
frame at the other. Xstreamline Products claims that it works better than
conventional doorknob and dead-bolt style locks, because it will absorb the
shock by flexing when a burglar or intruder tries to kick in the door. On
the lighter side, you can savor the effects of The Perfect Sommelier, a
device that creates a magnetic field around a wine bottle, realigning the
molecules for maximum flavor, says the manufacturer.
Prices listed here are tentative. To view more, see www.nationalhardwareshow.com.
Sources used to create this article include American Hardware Association,
David Mack and the Chicago Sun-Times.