On a hot summer day in 2010, Roy Noel was eager to get his hay put up. However, he had the unenviable task of trying to connect his baling equipment to the PTO shaft on his brand new John Deer tractor. The 15-20 minute chore proved to be to much for the 80-year-old Noel to handle.
“The shaft didn’t work as well as I thought it should have worked on the tractor,” Noel said.
As Noel continued to work on his Piketon farm, day after day, he knew there had to be a solution to his problem — and he was right. The Portsmouth native improvised with the tools he had at his disposal and before long, Noel had a Y-shaped wrench with a set screw in the top to align the splines. His creation drastically shortened the time spent on hard to turn shafts.
“When it’s hot out and you’re already sweating, you just want to get out to the field and get to the hay,” Noel said. “I was spending 15-20 minutes trying to connect the shaft, now I spend 10 seconds.”
After spending the entire summer using his own contraption, Noel realized he had something that could truly make a difference in the lives of so many farmers. So, the next step was patenting his invention.
“It took three years and cost several thousands of dollars,” Noel said. “We went to Cincinnati and they sent the paperwork to Washington, and it kept going back and fourth for about three years.”
The end process was patent number 9,009,943. Noel has been using a manufacturing plant in Waverly, Ohio, and shipping his wrenches all over the country ever since. The cost of a wrench is $25, plus $6.80 for shipping and handling. According to Noel, his two most demanding states have been Texas and Iowa.
So far, four years into the process, Noel hasn’t had any complaints about his product.
“Everyone has found use for it, plus we send directions on how to use it properly,” Noel said. “They are also made of steel, so they’ll last forever.”
Noel has also received some recognition from state representatives for his accomplishment.
“You are a remarkable man, for you have combined concern and dedication with selfless initiative to become a dynamic leader in the local agricultural community … ,” Clifford A. Rosenberger, speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives said in a notarized letter.
In another notarized letter, the President of the Ohio Senate Keith Faber said, “your accomplishment is a justifiable source of pride and excellent reflection not only on you but also on your family and your community, and you are deserving of high praise.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.