In 2007, as part of the Invent Iowa program, then-sixth-graders Sam Hipple and Matt Moran designed the Mega Melter – a salt spreader device created to attach to an Ariens Sno-Thro machine. The product allowed a homeowner to clear snow and spread salt in one pass.
Wisconsin-based Ariens Company learned of the invention through a news article, which included a picture of the Mega Melter attached to its Sno-Thro model. The company contacted the boys concerning the product, and this month signed a letter of intent to enter into an agreement with Hipple and Moran to produce and distribute their invention.
Ariens will assist with the patent process and cover the associated fees. The provisional patent filed in the boys’ names is pending. Hipple and Moran will license the product to Ariens and receive a royalty for each Mega Melter sold. Ariens plans to make the Mega Melter available for the 2009 winter season.
Hipple and Moran are students at Sudlow Intermediate School in Davenport, Iowa. Invent Iowa is sponsored by the Colleges of Engineering at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.