Thursday, December 21, 2006
By MARLA K. KUHLMAN
Independent Staff Writer
Mayday Muffler & Auto owner and managing partner for Finger Wrench Tool Co. Larry Risolio, right, has invented the Finger Grip Socket. The socket is worn on the finger and allows a person to get a grip on a bolt in hard-to-reach places. Jim Thibodeau, left, is also a manager partner in the company.
A close-up of the Finger Grip Socket, which is a currently available at Mayday Muffler & Auto, shows how the locally invented tool works.
After spending hours installing car stereos, shocks, brakes and making every other imaginable mechanical repair, Larry Risolio started devising finger tools to solve his everyday problem of dropping nuts.
Thirteen years after he began working on a tool to assist him with his car repair business, Risolio has a utility and design patent for the Finger Grip Socket. A third patent is pending for how the tool is held to the finger.
The finger wrench tool can be strapped over a glove and is adjustable for any finger size, according to Risolio.
"You can trim the strap once you customize it for your finger," he added.
Risolio, of Galena, began trying to problem solve the issue of dropping tool accessories about 13 years ago when he launched Mayday Muffler in Johnstown.
"I stuck with it and went through over 40 manufacturing companies to make the tool come to life," he said. "Everyone was interested but wanted to engineer around it."
Through happenstance, Risolio met Jim Thibodeau, who owns "Practically Impossible LLC" with partner Bill Duelge.
"We find people with good ideas and products," Thibodeau said. "We wanted an outlet for people with inventions. When we look at products, we look to see if it solves someone's problem. Then we look to see if it solves a lot of people's problems."
Thibodeau said his brother-in-law Terry Holter was at Mayday borrowing a screwdriver to replace a car license plate. A nut was dropped, so Risolio decided to show his invention.
Thibodeau and Risolio then met and the two signed a partnership agreement last year.
Thibodeau and Duelge previously worked together at Consolidated Container and Worthington's Liqui-box before launching their Georgia-based company three years ago.
"Since February, we've had five prototypes," Thibodeau said. "We designed the packaging. Everyone seems to know you drop nuts. The cover of the package shows how it used to be done. We got that up front. ... We went into full manufacturing in mid-October."
Anyone can check out the finger tools on a Web site that will soon be online at http://www.fingerwrench.com/
The tools are manufactured in the United States, and Thibodeau expects them to be mass distributed to large stores in the near future.
Risolio said the reality of patenting his invention "brings tears to my eyes ... I had an emotional overload for days," he said.
The finger tool set can be purchased locally at Johnstown's Mayday Muffler.