Build a better mousetrap, they say, and people will beat a path to your door. But what if you build a better water sprinkler?
Jim Mollgaard did just that. And while his unique invention hasn’t brought millions pouring in (he still works at Murdoch’s), he’s not complaining.
For the past 12 years, Jim has been a buyer for Murdoch’s in our home office, located in Bozeman, MT. He reviews new products and buys sporting goods merchandise for our stores; however, there was a time when he selected the water sprinklers that showed up on our aisles. He knows a lot about water sprinklers. A whole lot. So how did he invent a new one?
The idea began as a way to avoid having to purchase a large sprinkler stand when there was already a way to elevate the sprinkler – using a t-post. Seemed like a cost-effective, simple solution, thought Jim. And before long, the T-post Sprinkler was born.
Quite simply, it’s a sprinkler with a base that mounts to the top of any T-post. When you connect it to a hose and put several T-post Sprinklers on posts, you can turn your whole fence into a sprinkler system. How cool is that? Very. And it not only waters the area, it keeps deer away. Even cooler.
“It just seemed like it would work,” Jim says in an aw-shucks way. “But I had trouble finding a vendor who could see the value in it. Finally, at a trade show, I sketched out the idea and showed it to a vendor. He jumped on it. We built a prototype, made some adjustments, and started marketing it.”
As you might guess, Jim-the-inventor sold Jim-the-buyer on the new sprinkler (it wasn’t hard), and Murdoch’s was the first to put it into inventory. Only a few hundred were sold the first year. Last year, there were more than 40,000 units sold in the United States. That blows Jim’s mind, that so many people are using a product he created.
Naturally, like any good idea, there have been knockoffs. But they haven’t flooded the market. Jim doesn’t mind. Rather than getting hosed, he feels sort of flattered. “If a company knocks off my product, at least it’s proof it was a good idea,” he says.
Jim is pondering another new product he hopes to put in motion – a motion sensor sprinkler that kicks on whenever a deer or other animal is detected nearby.
“So far it’s still cost prohibitive,” Jim says. “But we’re working on it.”
Deer, and vendors, take notice.Shop T-Post Sprinklers