Snaps Blades Fast!

Milford-Miami Advertiser

Sharp Idea Coming From Miami

Township Inventor

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Mary Kay Hansen had a great idea four years ago as she was wallpapering a room.

Every time she had to snap off her utility knife blade, once it had dulled, she found herself stumbling.

Whether she snapped the blade off with a pair of pliers or used the end cap of the knife, the whole process frustrated her, especially if she dropped the discarded blade fragment and had to get on her hands and knees to search for it.

"I always wondered why there wasn't an easier way to snap off the blade," she said.

She looked to see if there was an easier tool on the market and found there wasn't, so Hansen created one herself.

The BLADEater is her invention, and it's heading to local stores soon.

It took four years to develop the product. Hansen first did a patent search, then obtained patents for her design and made prototypes and packaging. "I designed every inch of it," she said.

The BLADEater is a plastic holster that snaps on a belt. When people are wallpapering and must discard their dull knife blade, they can slide the end of their knife into a slot of the BLADEater. With one quick, safe movement, the knife blade is snapped off and discarded into the holster's cavity.

The holster also holds new knife blades, and once the new blades are used and the dulled ones fill the cavity, the whole piece can be lifted out of the holster and discarded of safely. Hansen said safety is one important factor of her invention, and might be one key piece to it's success. 

Because the discarded blade pieces are easily snapped off and immediately drop into the cavity well, hands, fingers and eyes are not in danger.

After Hansen used the BLADEater for the first time when she was wallpapering a room, she said she "blew up" with excitement that the product actually worked and worked well.

Inventing the BLADEater has changed her life for the better. She has spent $120,000 in the last few years obtaining patents and making prototypes.

She said she didn't expect to spend that much but knows it will be worth it once the product gets on the market.

She couldn't speculate how much money she would profit from her invention, but did say with a smile that she plans to be completely self-supporting in five years.

The invention will be available in stores in three parts: The holster set (which includes the BLADEater and a knife), a refill pack of holster cartridges, and a utility knife bearing the BLADEater name.

An initial order of the product is bringing 11,500 units to area stores like Walls N' More, Miller Bros. Paint and Decorating and Sherwin-Williams Co. 

Bill Bauer, manager at Sherwin-Williams in Milford, said the BLADEater is a fine concept.

"People who wallpaper or use a utility knife on a regular basis will think this is a great idea," Bauer said.

Published April 18, 2001