Conn. company says 'Don't shovel, Wovel this winter'

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor



The saying used to be "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." Mark Noonan, the designer of the "Wovel," hopes designing a better snow shovel will have the same effect.

Based in New Canaan, Conn., Noonan's firm, Structured Solutions II, manufactures and markets a snow shovel that is designed to throw heavy wet snow where you want it without the risk of back pain. Now in its second sales year, Noonan told Reminder Publications that "consumers who get it, love it."

Looking more like a tool from the 19th Century than the 21st, the Wovel is a snow shovel that is mounted on a 34" diameter wheel. The shovel's handles form an adjustable lever that does the work in moving the snow.

"It's like a seesaw," Noonan said.

He explained that there can be 50 pounds of snow on the blade, but there are 100 pounds of force at the wheel. Made of plastic and steel for strength and light weight, Noonan claimed that the wovel moves snow better than a single-stage snow blower.

"It's a little bit different than shoveling," Noonan said. "It takes time to learn."

And an advantage over the snow blower, he added, is there is no maintenance to worry about. With a price tag of $119.95, there is a considerable price difference as well.

Video footage on the company's website (www.wovel.com) shows people using the wovel. Pushing the shovel forward, they fill the blade and then with a smooth motion they push down on the handles. The snow flies straight out of the blade.

The plastic blade prevents snow from sticking, Noonan said.

He was inspired by his own snow-shoveling back injuries to develop the Wovel. It took him and his firm several years and prototypes to reach the final design.

The company has had the product evaluated by Dr. Steven Weiss, a sports medicine specialist in New York City. Weiss has said, "While it will not remove all risks of strain or injury, it appears to have made shoveling much more efficient, safer, less strenuous, easier thus reducing the risks for either musculosketetal or heart-related injuries."

Made in the United States, the wovel has drawn interest from throughout the world through its website, but so far the new shovel is available only to American customers. Noonan said the wovel is not yet available in stores, but is featured in a number of mail-order catalogs.

For more information, log onto the website or call 1-800-430-0475.

 
 
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