Housewares: Beyond form meets function

By MARCELLA S. KREITER  |  March 6, 2011 at 9:00 PM
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CHICAGO, March 6 (UPI) -- Candles are romantic and all -- but wouldn't it be nicer to get a brighter glow out of that tea light candle?

Caframo displayed just the thing Sunday at the International Housewares Association annual trade show at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The Canadian company introduced the Joi Igenious Lighting, a lamp with multiple LEDs powered by electricity created by a single tea light candle. Chances are if you're not a young Abe Lincoln, you don't do much reading by candle light.

Caframo spokesman Jeff Bond said the device puts out the equivalent of 25 watts of light for about 3 hours on a single candle. The light can be extended like a desk lamp to cover a wider area or folded up into a miniature house to light a table surface for patio dining.

The unit is made of stainless steel, aluminum and heat safety glass, and will retail for $79.99.

The company also introduced a fan that sits atop a wood stove and pushes heat to a wider area. The fan requires no energy other than the heat that rises to the surface of the stove. Once the surface temperature hits 150 degrees, the blades on the Ecofan begin spinning, pushing the heat beyond the 10-foot radius that usually gets warm and toasty.

Another energy-saver is Idcook's CookUp200, a meter-wide solar barbecue that works summer and winter with any pot, grill, dish or platter -- preferably black.

Yann Quinquis, sales director for the French company, said though the units have been in use elsewhere in the world for five years, they're just being introduced into the United States now.

Tired of dull jewelry and don't like using the chemical solutions available at the store? Jeweler Jacque Egnatic has a solution: the Jeweler in the Dishwasher.

The rectangular basket sits on the top rack of the dishwasher and has three sections inside for rings, necklaces and bracelets.

"I put Cascade in my ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, so I started thinking about an easier way," said Egnatic, who comes from a family of jewelers and has a jewelry story in Kansas City, Kan. "Just don't run it through the dry cycle."

In the "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" department, are Rebecca Rescate and Michael Murphy.

Rescate developed CitiKitty, a potty training seat for cats. The training seat fits atop the regular toilet seat and starts with a smaller tray beneath that holds kitty litter. Gradually the amount of kitty litter is reduced and the hole in the middle gets larger until it's big enough to remove the training seat altogether. The cat balances on the regular toilet seat and does its business.

"The only reason cats bury their waste is to get rid of the smell. Once they realize the water does a better job of covering the smell, they prefer it," said Rescate, who trained her 11-year-old cat.

Murphy came up with the Crumbs Away, a cutlery tray that has a slatted bottom that lifts out so crumbs can be tossed without having to remove all the silverware first.

Murphy, a marketing expert, is giving a portion of the proceeds from the tray to fund juvenile arthritis research, a disease that afflicts one of his daughters.

Then there's Robert Haleluk, who invented the dipr.

"I just got fed up with losing my cookies in my milk," the New Jersey man said. The dipr is a hook-like device that holds your cookie and allows you to dunk away without fear of losing the cookie in milk, tea or coffee.

Michael Roberts had pretty much the same kind of aha moment leading to the Obol, designed to keep cereal separate from milk.

"He really hates soggy cereal," spokesman Yerko Mihaic said. Since the product was unveiled on YouTube, Michaic said they've been getting all kinds of other suggestions for keeping things separate until the moment of ingestion, including cookies and milk and soup and crackers.

John Ardente's mom was always burning the sauce when she was cooking for a big crowd and john was always rushing over to help stir the bubbling pots.

Well, that got really old really fast, so in self-defense, Ardente developed the Gourmet Stirrer. The battery-operated device fits atop any 9- to 14-inch, double-handled pot and slowly stirs the contents to free the cook up for other tasks.

To keep coffee, tea and spices from drying out, Tightvac is showing the Coffeevac and Teavac canister. The containers go one better than the typical counter-top storage canister, creating an air-tight seal to keep anaerobic bacteria from growing and keeping oils from drying out.

How was the canister developed?

"Well we don't really want to talk about that," said Justin Marquis, chief executive officer of the company that has offices in California and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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