Invention by York woman hot property

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2005

She’d admit she’s still got a ways to go before she catches Thomas Edison, but that doesn’t mean one York woman hasn’t recently earned the right to call herself an inventor.

Thanks in part to a couple of irresponsible teenage boys, long-time York resident Eunice M. Washington has invented the product “Plastic Lids For Cereal,” a system for parents and others to keep their cereal fresh even when some members of the household don’t want to make the effort.

“The invention’s unique design guarantees that cereal boxes can be effectively covered, no matter what condition the tops are in,” reads a press release for Plastic Lids for Cereal from Invention Technologies, the Coral Gables, FL firm that is assisting Washington with the marketing of the Plastic Lids design. “It helps eliminate the frustration and waste of having cereal go prematurely stale.”

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“We do feel very confident that this product can sell,” said Shontae Everett, a public relations executive with Invention Technologies. “We would not have chosen to work with the product if we didn’t.”

Like so many parents, Washington had to be creative in dealing with the problems of kids in the house, and that proved to be the inspiration she needed to create Plastic Lids for Cereal.

“I had two teenage boys,” Washington recalled in an interview Friday afternoon, “and they would always either leave the box open or just tear the top right off, so you couldn’t even close it if you wanted to. That’s when I started thinking about it.”

Washington said the problem–and the money it cost her in uneaten, wasted cereal–bugged her for years.

“I would always wish I had something,” she said. “I even tried covering the boxes with aluminum foil! Eventually I got an idea about what I could do.”

After working full-time at the University of West Alabama for a number of years,

Washington eventually had to scale back to a part-time job driving a school bus to care for her ailing mother. Between the extra time spent at home and the need to help her mother keep the household’s cereal boxes airtight, Washington went to work on her idea.

“I don’t remember the exact date,” she said,

“but in was in 2003. So I guess I’ve been working on it about two years.”

And now, it seems all that work is about to come to fruition.

“Oh, they work,” she said, “[Invention Technologies] said it was a very original idea. There’s a lot of products out there for cereal, but they said this one was unique…they were excited about it.”

That’s the story as well from Invention Technologies, who said that they are hard at work trying to get Plastic Lids for Cereal into production, and onto shelves.

“The original idea is now being made available for licensing to manufacturers interested I new product development, especially in the food industry,” read a press release from Invention Technologies.

“We’re taking the idea to manufacturers, representing the idea at trade shows,” said Everett. “We’ll try one angle and then we’ll try a different angle. We want to get it in as many hands as possible.”

Everett declined to name companies that might be interested in Plastic Lids for Cereal, or offer too many details of the design, in order to protect the concept from piracy.

“We don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize the sale of the idea,” she said.

For Washington, even the notion that her product could be on the shelves of Wal-Mart someday is exhilarating.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m just hoping and praying it pays off.”