You know that nagging fear in the back of your mind whenever you tow a trailer. The constant tussle between your best hopes and worst fears – “I hope this trailer doesn’t unhinge itself … Of course it won’t … But what if it does!” Many trailer woes start out this way and most of them end badly. Not only have I heard countless horror stories of unhinged trailers, I’ve experienced it myself.
My trailer nightmare happened early one Sunday morning in 2007. I was on the N2 on my way to Villiersdorp when the hook of my trailer suddenly slipped off. I braked, chills running down my spine as my eyes darted back and forth, fearing potential collisions. Thankfully the early hour meant that the road was fairly quiet and calamity was averted. It was a close call but one that would haunt me for long after.
Several years later my dad met a farmer who, after some trailer nightmares of his own, decided to take the bull by the horns. He regularly navigated the pass between Barkley East and Elliot with a load of cattle and was forced to come up with his own solution. It was quite the contraption, bulging with loose cables and pins. My dad gave it just one look and decided, there and then, that he might as well be the one that designs something simpler.
True as Bob, that’s exactly what happened. When next I saw my folks, my dad showed me his invention. It was truly brilliant! Simple and effective. Its potential was clear. I would start researching the possibility of a patent while he kept it secret. Among the many patented designs that already existed, none compared to my dad’s. I refined it into what is now the Trailer Cuff and immediately filed for a provisional patent. After the PCT process, which is currently underway, we’ll be able to register the patent internationally.
The South African Innovation Summit in 2015 marks the official launch of Trailer Cuff and it is our fond hope that it will become as widely known as other local inventions like the Kreepy Krawley and Pratley’s Putty.