Some inventions take plenty of time and effort before the final production becomes a reality.
Others may come rather easily, simply by taking one device, using it in a different configuration and making some adaptations.One can decide which of the above is true after looking at the Boonoster, a revolutionary new door being manufactured by Boon Edam Inc. 4050 S. Fifth West.
The "Boon" in Boonoster comes from the name of the family that owns a revolving door manufacturing plant in Edam, Holland. The "oster" is the Dutch word for a device found in grain elevators that transports the grain from one place to another by means of buckets on a vertical conveyor belt.
Tip the elevator device on its side and you have the principle behind the new elongated revolving doors being produced at Boon Edam by Robert J. Bradshaw, president, and Blair Kent, vice president.
The new doors, which are especially useful in airports, hospitals, hotels, grocery stores, department stores or office buildings where there is high traffic volume, are the modern version of the standard revolving door. It's a stretched version.
Bradshaw has 15 years experience in the door business and operated Advanced Door Controls until he started the joint venture with Boon Edam in Holland to produce the doors in the United States.
Actually, it might be appropriate for the doors to be produced in the United States since the original revolving door was invented in Kansas City, Mo., in 1867 by Theophilus Van Kannel. The door was supposed to keep the smell of horses out of the saloons, Bradshaw said.
Eventually, said Bradshaw, the revolving door found its way to Europe and in 1903 Dutch door company Boon Edam began manufacturing them for the European market.
About 14 years ago a Boon Edam salesman was talking to a grocery store owner who said if a revolving door could be elongated he would buy one. The salesman mentioned this to a company engineer and two years later the engineer visited a grain elevator and noticed the oster.
By applying the principle of the oster on its side, the engineer knew he had a new idea that would allow a revolving door to handle several people at once and allow those laden with skis, suitcases, boxes and other large items to pass through safely.
This doesn't include the easy access for wheelchairs or people using walkers who can't use an ordinary revolving door.
In 1983, one of his friends came back from a trip to Holland with stories of the amazing doors he had seen in a hotel entrance. Bradshaw flew to Holland almost immediately.
He tried to convince Boon Edam officials to let him sell the doors in the United States, but they were reluctant because they said the price of energy in America wasn't high enough that people would be interested in installing the doors for energy conservation. (The four doors on the Boonoster are placed so there never is an opening in a building to let out the heat or let in the cold, and therefore the doors are 97 percent efficient in energy retention.)
Bradshaw finally convinced Boon Edam officials that Americans were concerned about energy conservation even though the costs were low in comparison to European energy costs. A Boonoster arrived in Salt Lake City and Bradshaw was so excited he held an open house in May 1985 and invited 140 architects to see the device.
The Boon Edam president and chief engineer flew over from Holland to see the debut of the first Boonoster outside of Europe. The response was underwhelming - only two architects showed up.
Bradshaw's next move was to take the device to Seattle for display in a trade show where more than 600 airport terminal managers could see it. The response was favorable, and next week Bradshaw will ship six doors to the airport in Wichita, Kan., and later five will be shipped to an airport in Dayton, Ohio.
Shortly after Bradshaw returned from the trade show, one of the two engineers who attended his open house called and said he was working on the University Park Hotel in the University of Utah Research Park. He felt the door would provide a good entrance for the hotel and keep energy costs down.
Because the new type of door didn't meet existing building codes, state and local building inspector, fire marshal and electrical inspector permission was required. The architect received permission from state officials to install the door, but Salt Lake City inspectors denied the request.
Bradshaw took the decision to the Utah State Board of Appeals and Examiners and after a lengthy hearing in March 1987, the decision was reversed and the door was installed.
After receiving the orders for some doors in Dayton and Wichita, Bradshaw decided that because of the value of the dollar, lead times and transportation and import problems, it would be better to enter in a joint venture with Boon Edam to manufacture the doors in Salt Lake City.
The company currently has $1 million in orders and recently installed a door at the Intermountain Health Care Logan Regional Medical Center and will be installing a door in the new Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
Most of the parts for the doors, both metal and wood, are fabricated at Bradshaw's plant by his 10 employees. The electronics control boards come from Boon Edam in Holland as does the horsehair that lines the outside of the doors and pushes against the walls. The motors are shipped from Switzerland.
He has applied some American ingenuity to the doors for safety. For example, a sensor will stop the door when a person can't walk fast enough to get out. And in the event of a power failure, such as during a fire, a person can open the doors by hand.
Firemen can open the doors in the opposite direction to get inside a burning building. In good weather, the doors can be locked in an open position.