T. J. (Tim) Irvin is taking his Albert Town-made
''Slammertool'' to a tool contest in Germany in March.
Photo by Mark Price.
The Lake Hawea man who developed the what he branded the
''Slammertool'' is taking it to what he calls the hand tool
equivalent of the Olympics.
T. J. Irvin will attend the 142,000sq m international
hardware fair Eisenwarenmesse in Cologne, Germany, from March
''That No8 wire mentality New Zealand prides itself on -
Eisenwarenmesse is the Olympics of that.''
He told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he would
rather be at the Winter Olympics in Sochi but could not turn
down an invitation to put his multi-purpose Slammertool up
against the world's best new tools - even though the trip
will cost him $44,000.
The fair is described by its organisers as the No1 hardware
event in the world and this year is expected to have 2665
exhibitors from 50 countries and 53,500 visitors from 132
The Slammertool is a multi-purpose tool used for such things
as digging holes, splitting wood and breaking concrete. Mr
Irvin says it creates less stress on the back than other
tools. It sells for $250.
Each month, 500 of Mr Irvin's Slammertools are produced by
Templeton and Sons Engineering of Albert Town, with another
5000 a month made by a factory in Argentina.
Mr Irvin credits the America's Cup in San Francisco last year
for a threefold increase in Slammertool sales in the United
States, because the catamarans were made in New Zealand.
''Whether we won or lost, it was a `go' for New Zealand
''New Zealand's got quite a reputation around the world as
having really simple, good design.''
The Slammertool is one of a handful of exhibits at the fair
nominated for an Eisen award, which was won two years ago by
a torque wrench.
Mr Irvin said his intention during the fair was to find
another manufacturer in Europe to service that market.
He has a stand next to American tool-making giant Snap-on,
but having done the rounds of field days in New Zealand feels
confident he will not be outdone.
''Selling a $250 spade to New Zealand farmers with an
American accent; well, it was never going to be easy, was
it?''Mr Irvin says it took six years and between $400,000 and
$500,000 to obtain patents for the device.
The Slammertool's first public outing was at Wanaka's Upper
Clutha A&P Show in 2009 and while it will be back at this
year's show, on March 7 and 8, Mr Irvin will be on his way to