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Inventor offers even seating

July 11, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Denny Long is hoping to turn on the television someday and see his Ridge Chair advertised on a commercial. He said he wouldn't even mind if it included a pasta maker or a miracle knife as a free gift.

"Media Corp. will put the chair on television if we can find a manufacturer," Long said. "They could make between 15,000 and 20,000 chairs a month, it's been estimated."

A lifelong hunter and fisherman, Long said he invented the chair because of close calls he has had in the past with regular chairs while outdoors.

"I've tilted forward or wobbled when I was shooting, and the recoil can throw you if you aren't careful," Long said.

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About two years ago, Long, 48, of Clear Spring, decided to build a camp chair that would be portable, as well as adjustable for uneven terrain.

"I'm handy with tools, so I made a prototype at the house," Long said.

Long then made a film of his invention and sent it off to a patent lawyer in Colorado, who checked to see if there was anything like it on the market.

"He investigated and then contacted me and said it was a go," Long said.

After paying for a provisional patent, Long sought out a manufacturer who could make another prototype.

That was about a year ago, and since then, things have gone slowly.

But Long hopes that having his chair exhibited at a June inventors' show in Pittsburgh - INPEX- will help his project pick up speed.

"We got one offer, but we're waiting to hear from Rapid Pro to begin mass production," Long said.

Long's wife, Linda, said the process has been a little stressful, but she is confident that eventually, the chair will be a success.

"I hunt and fish, too," she said. "Denny wants it so bad. I hope it works out."

Long developed the Ridge Chair based on a personal need.

"I usually hunt in the mountains, where the ground is rocky and uneven," he said. "My chair would always be crooked, rocking and uncomfortable. I wanted to eliminate this problem so I could sit up straight."

Some business representatives have told the Longs that the chair could be manufactured more cheaply in China, but Linda Long said they are hoping to go with an American firm.

Lightweight and compact, the chair and case weigh 8 to 10 pounds, Long said. Once out of the case, it opens with one hand.

The difference is that each of the four legs can be adjusted independently for uneven terrain.

"A friend of mine tested it on steps - two legs on one step and two on another - and he said it was no problem," Long said.

A bonus feature is the add-on gun rest that attaches to the arms once a person is seated, he said.

Consisting of an aluminum frame with a nylon, camouflage seat, the chair would measure 36 inches high and 8 inches wide when collapsed.

"I could see the chair selling for between $20 and $30," Long said. "It is so simple - there is no instruction guide with this."

The trade show featured new products and innovations that are available to business and industry to manufacture, license or distribute. As part of the trade show, there was a series of seminars, presentations and panel discussions to provide information that inventors might find useful in pursuing their ideas.

Employed by the Frederick County (Md.) Water and Sewer Department and Cedar Ridge Children's Home, Long is a graduate of Clear Spring High School.

He and Linda, who also works at Cedar Ridge, have two children and two grandchildren.

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