Subscriptions to South Dakota Magazine make great gifts!
Subscribe today — 1 year (6 issues) is just $25!
The Doorhickey seems simple. It’s a curved piece of clay with a suction cup that solves the problem of opening and closing a sliding glass door with your hands full. But bringing the Doorhickey to reality has been a long and bumpy road for Brookings inventors Ginger Thomson and her husband and business partner Jay Vanduch.
The idea began 35 years ago. “I liked to entertain and sit out on the patio,” Thomson says. “I was always going in and out with things in my hands. I knew there had to be a better way, but that was 1980. There was no Internet, no Google. I didn’t know anything about developing a product.”
By 1996 Thomson and Vanduch were married. The idea resurfaced as they built their new house. Vanduch thought of utilizing suction cups and used a bath toy to test the concept. They developed several prototypes and eventually secured a patent on the way the bolt within the suction cup is threaded into the handle. When the handle is rotated, it creates a tight vacuum seal.
The Doorhickey created buzz at inventors’ shows, and the couple was investigating two licensing agreements in October 2013 when they discovered their patent had lapsed. Fortunately they secured another, so you could one day see Doorhickeys in national stores. Until then, visit www.doorhickey.com. They sell individually for $14.99 or as a pair for $25.
Editor’s Note: This story is revised from the July/August 2015 issue of South Dakota Magazine. To order a copy or to subscribe, call (800) 456-5117.