Plumbers and home handymen face a common problem related to toilet installations. Bathroom flooring is installed around waste pipes in a manner that makes it very difficult to connect the toilet to the waste line because the flooring interferes with the installation of the pipe flange connection. Plumbers must often cut away flooring to enlarge the space around the waste line in order for a traditional over-the-pipe flange to be installed.
What are the chances that a carpenter has the foresight to cut a wide enough gap in the floor around the waste pipe? “Don’t bet on it,” jokes Greg Sesser. Once, in a single day, Sesser and his partner, Mike Johnson, installed 15 toilet flanges, enlarging the floor-hole for each and every one with an electric saw.
Exhausted from a long day, the two couldn’t help feeling there had to be a better way. Since there wasn’t anything currently on the market that could help them, they invented an improved flange; one with fewer components that installed inside the waste pipe rather than over it, solving their floor problems once and for all.
They came up with a concept for a flange that would go inside the pipe and seal to it with a tapered thread inside a threaded expansion gasket. They surmised that the simple process of attaching inside rather than outside the pipe could save plumbers thousands of labor hours each year. The device could be used in new construction and also as a replacement for broken flanges for cast iron waste pipes set in concrete. They called their invention the E-Z Set Herkle Ring.
Sesser and Johnson purchased InventHelp’s submission services. InventHelp also referred the inventors to a licensed patent attorney who obtained a patent on their behalf.
One of the companies InventHelp submitted their invention to was Oatey Company, a leading manufacturer of plumbing fittings and supplies. InventHelp sent the E-Z Set Herkle Ring submission brochure to Oatey Company for confidential review.
Raun Kopp, Oatey’s Vice President of Product Development and Quality Assurance, expressed substantial interest in the E-Z Set Herkle Ring. Intromark, InventHelp’s sister licensing company, followed up on the interest expressed and sent Oatey Company a rough prototype of the flange for review. Oatey had many concerns, including competition, usefulness, available patent protection and whether or not the invention would actually work.
Oatey Company Project Manager, Susan Geary, conducted an extensive review of the potential market, costs and functionality of the device. The company then committed to creating and testing 10 production quality prototypes. The results from both the lab and field test were favorable. Having passed rigorous internal scrutiny, Oatey decided to attempt to commercialize the E-Z Set Herkle Ring and began seeking exclusive rights to the concept. Thereafter Intromark successfully negotiated a license agreement. Later, at their own expense, Oatey Company created the first production molds at a cost of approximately $50 thousand, and field tested the initial runs with good results.
The E-Z Set Herkle Ring was then renamed the Twist-N-Set by Oatey and introduced to the marketplace. Since that time the Twist-N-Set has been a part of Oatey Company’s product line and is available in retail and wholesale distribution centers nationwide including Home Depot and Ace Hardware stores. Twist-N-Set has found consumer acceptance and several handy-man blogs recommend the Twist-N-Set as an easy way to raise a toilet flange when the installation of new flooring creates a space between the existing flange and the toilet.
Through its long history, the Twist-N-Set has generated more than $25 million in retail sales.
We are pleased to report that InventHelp’s services have resulted in a financial gain for Mr. Sesser and Mr. Johnson.