Any person who has ever tossed a Frisbee®, rode their belly down a Slip N’ Slide® or shook their hips inside a Hula Hoop®, has experienced a Wham-O toy. This well-known manufacturer of toys and sporting goods has signed an agreement with InventHelp client Bill Schafer to add his invention, the “Splash Wash”, to their product line.
Schafer, an inventor from California, brought the idea for the backyard toy to InventHelp. His idea was for a plastic archway that would connect to a hose and spray out water and bubbles. Kids could ride their big wheels, bikes, trikes or other toy vehicles through the archway to give them a “wash”, or just run through it for some good old-fashioned water fun.
“I was watching my kids ride around in their toy car one summer day when the idea came to me,” Schafer recalls.
Through his InventHelp services, Schafer’s idea was submitted to companies from InventHelp’s Data Bank. One of those companies, toy manufacturer Happiness Express, liked the idea enough to license the invention, though it never wound up being commercialized. But Schafer’s story doesn’t end there.
A few years later, toy-industry veteran Gene Kilroy came to INPEX®, America’s largest invention trade show as a product scout, looking for original toy and game ideas. Kilroy had worked in the toy business for over 30 years, including stints with several major manufacturers, such as Wham-O and Mattel. Kilroy agreed to help InventHelp submit inventions to Wham-O. A number were selected and presented to Wham-O Head of Research and Development, Geoff McKee.
One invention that caught Mckee’s eye was Schafer’s toy car wash idea. He contacted InventHelp expressing interest in licensing it. From there, Intromark Incorporated, a sister company that attempts to license and market inventions from InventHelp clients where substantial interest has been expressed, went to work negotiating an agreement between Schafer and Wham-O. The news that another licensing deal might be in the works, especially one with a company as familiar as Wham-O, came as a bit of a shock to Schafer.
“When I heard that Wham-O was interested in my idea, I was pleasantly surprised.” Schafer explains. “Honestly I thought the idea had sort of run its course.”
A deal was reached giving Wham-O rights to manufacture and market Schafer’s invention. Wham-O, Inc. finished packaging the invention (under the name the “Splash Wash”) and began shipping it to stores. Leading toy retailer Toys-R-Us carried the product before it was discontinued in 2008.
We are pleased to report that InventHelp’s services have resulted in a financial gain for Mr. Schafer.