1967 Flexible Surfboard Fin
I have been inventing since 1967 when I was sitting on my surfboard at Torrance beach thinking about the fins. It occurred to me that if they were flexible they would add to accelerating the board when on a wave if they changed angle under water pressure. Thus the flexible fin was invented. I did not pursue it and did not patent it. One reason is that I went to meet with the famous Hermosa Beach surfboard maker, Hap Jacobs, at his shop. I mentioned my idea to him and he did not make any comment, negative or positive, which made me realize that getting the surfboard industry to take me seriously would take far more work than I wanted to do. See more about Hap here – https://eos.surf/entries/jacobs-dudley-hap/
And if that web site is down, here is the page – EOS is worth subscribing to if you want to see the world of surfing back in time.
1976 Invisible Window Screen
Then life went on, I married Darlene in 1974 and in 1976 we brought Ryan into the world. We moved to a little house in Hawthorne CA that had old sash windows – you know the kind – wood frames that go up and down with screens outside. I was bothered by the screens that made the view out the windows poor. So I invented an invisible screen to hide them. This web site is named for my INVIsible Screen COmpany. INVISCO. I did a patent search in downtown Los Angeles (no internet then) and found the first invisible screen was patented in 1863!
1979 Dune Buggy Parking Shelf and Ramps
Then in 1979 we brought Kimberley into the world. By that time I had I had bought a dune buggy to carry my hangglider to the dunes south of Pismo Beach. I had a 2 car garage and needed to park the buggy in it. I saw the ceiling was high so I imagined the buggy on a shelf over my car. Here is the result – that is Kimberley at my sedan.
1995 WebCam Software SnapNSend
After that I was busy working and helping Darlene with the children. The 80s went by and then the 90s started. I was surfing often and taking Ryan with me. I began thinking about how to get pictures of the surf to me to keep from having to drive to the beach to check out the surf. I called the local security camera company and they said they could install a camera and a video transmitter at the beach, put a repeating antenna on the hill between me and the camera, and a receiver on my house for just $10,000. Of course I declined. Then in 1995 I learned about the internet. I found the Netscape fishcam sending pictures and the USC Tommy Trojan camera sending pictures. I knew I could use that idea for surf.
I called USC and learned that Carl Sutter was one of the IT pros who worked on the Trojan camera system. I talked to Carl and he agreed to write a program that would-
- Take a picture with a digital camera
- Dial up the internet using a dialer.
- Open an FTP program to send the picture to the internet (File Transfer Protocol)
I announced SnapNSend webcam software in January 1996 and called up Sean Collins, the brilliant founder of Surfline surf forecasting. He bought my first system to install in the clock tower overlooking Huntington Beach pier where surf contests are held every year. The result was that he was able to offer the first internet coverage of a surf contest in history! Here is what Surfline.com put on their web site in 1996. It has since been removed.
1999 USPS WebCam Solar Systems
My webcam software brought me to the attention of the United States Postal Service. In 1999 I was contacted and asked if I could provide web cam systems for their new construction sites. The first one was in Philadelphia. They needed solar power for the camera since the pole would be far from electricity. I designed and built a 3 panel solar system and a large mounting plate suitable for a pole. Their second job was in Santa Monica. There they had just a 10 foot square space for the system and they needed a telescoping mast to hold the camera 50 feet up so I designed a trailer that was exactly 10 by 10 feet with a 50 foot mast that was in 3 pcs of tubing nesting inside each other that could be raised and pinned and held tight with cables.
2008 Whole House Fans
In 2008 Darlene and I moved to Temecula CA and I learned about whole house fans – the big propellers in the ceiling that pull cool outside air through windows and the hot inside air up into the attic. I invented an inexpensive one using HVAC blowers and sold 6 in October on EBay. That launched my Thorwaldson Whole House Fan Company.
Below is the latest invention – this is the only whole house fan with infinitely variable speeds.
2012 Australia Whole House Fans
In 2012 I launched a web site for whole house fans in Australia.
2015 Hybrid Rooftop Ventilation by Edmonds
In 2015 I got my first order and looked for parts in Australia. I came across CSR Edmonds near Sydney and called for quotes. The Export Sales Manager, Allan Ramsay, called me to ask what I was doing. When he learned I was a ventilation expert he asked if I would be his United States distributor. I accepted, of course. I opened up a web site for his products and signed up sales reps in 27 states. Here is the site, nearly the same as it was in 2015. https://edmondsusa.com/
How unique? The rain hat is from Australia. The engineers at CSR Edmonds created the best turbine in history – their Hurricane – and it sells all over the world. Here it is
2016 Invisco Industrial Hybrid Rooftop Ventilation
In the process of selling Edmonds fans I realized the design needed improvement. I invented the world’s first high performance hybrid, the Invisco Tornado. James Shwe used my Tornado on a new gymnasium for Studio City in Los Angeles County. See it here – https://inviscoindustrial.com/case-studies/studio-city/
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