The Quest for a Perfect Water Gun
In response to TDmonthly Magazine’s call to new companies to share their unique stories in our upcoming documentary, Toy Frenzy!, Brett Diffley tells about the journey he took to turn his idea into Frolicking Floaters:
| “These are going to be the best water toys on the planet!” — Brett Diffley, Frolicking Floaters
I'm a water person and came up with the idea about 12 years ago. The first prototype was an upside-down planter that was duct-taped to a small inner tube. I cut out an open area in the planter to be able to see and covered the hole by gluing a piece of landscape cloth over the hole. That way, it protected the eyes from water and you could see through it.
Next, I was to trying to figure out a way to shoot water. So I grabbed my scuba snorkel and cut and glued it to fit ... and, yes, more duct tape. The snorkel filled with water and the user blew the water at whatever target they wanted.
I took this out to our big hot tub and asked the kids (mine and the neighbors) to give it a go. Soon they were fighting over it and I was asked to make more.
FROM PATENT TO MODEL
And so it began ...
I spent the next year working on the patent and trademark. This process alone was more like two years.
When the idea was secure, I started contacting different manufacturers around the world by going to the library or on the Internet. Through "much patience" and diligence I finally found three inflatable toy manufacturers and got some quotes.
Now I still needed to come up with a squirting apparatus. The scuba snorkel just wasn't cutting it. I contacted all sorts of manufacturers and tried all different kinds of products (including existing squirt guns and pressure water containers that you pump up) to squirt water, but it always came down to one thing — refilling the apparatus. Who wants to stop playing every time to fill up? So it became apparent I would have to have my own special squirt gun made for my toy.
I contacted, I swear, every squirt gun manufacturer on the planet. This was getting me nowhere. So I started contacting engineers. By sheer luck and chance I was talking to someone who said there is an outfit right here in Washington that will engineer peoples’ ideas. Turns out they were one hour away in Everett. I contacted them and six months later was able to hold a "shell" of a squirt gun in my hand. Now I had the schematics of the gun on a computer disc and could start the process of finding a mold maker. To have a mold made in the United States was way overpriced. Finding a company I could trust took me over two years.
THE END … AND BEGINNING … OF THE ROAD
Being diligent and having a little luck, I finally found a great company when a friend recommended a mold maker just 90 minutes away. One year later, I had a molded, functional squirt gun specially designed to fit into the water toys ... and the best part ... self-siphoning squirt guns (you never have to fill them). They squirt from whatever water source you put them in. They also molded the sleeves that go into the toy for the guns (each toy has two mounted guns) and the pumps that are in the guns.
It's now 12 years later. The process has been long and expensive but here we are going to Toy Fair. These are going to be the best water toys on the planet!
MSRP: $25.95Age Range: 10 and upSKU or Item #: 0 94922 77797 3Launch Date: January 2008Gender: Boys And Girls
The inflatable toy floats on water, with an open head cavity for swimmers to place their head. There are two handles under the toy for gripping the two squirt guns. Other available varieties include turtle, killer whale, helmet and more. Launch date: January 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16036 (added 11/7/2007)
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