One hot summer of dealing with the task of connecting his old 330 John Deere hay baler’s driveshaft to the PTO of his John Deere 6230 was quite enough for 80-year-old Roy Noel.
As Noel was working on his rolling-hill farm in Pike County, he came up with a solution for this painstaking chore.
“The first year I had that tractor, I could hardly turn the power take off shaft and the driveshaft on that baler is really heavy. It was all I could do to hold it up when I was connecting it,” Noel said. “By the time I tried to hold that driveshaft up, in line, and turn the tractor’s shaft to put it together, 20 minutes would go by.”
“I had a prototype of this tool I designed made at a shop in Waverly,” Noel said, as he showed off his “Y”-shaped, wrench type instrument with a thumb screw on one tip. “I used it all of that summer on my baler, bush hog and mower conditioner and it worked just fine.”
Noel knew he had something that could make a difference on many other farms, like it did for his, so he called up a lawyer in Cincinnati. After 3 years, Noel’s ingenuity and hard work was recognized in the form of a U.S. patent. Patent number 9,009,943, to be exact, means Noel is the only one that can manufacture this particular design.
“Research was done about this idea of mine all the way back to the 1800’s, and I found out that PTOs on tractors didn’t start until the 1920’s,” Noel said. “So I figured I had something unique, which surprised me because the concept is so simple.”
The prototype still sits on Noel’s kitchen table, alongside one of 31 tools that have been manufactured for sale. Right now he is all sold out.
This isn’t the first time that Noel, a retired machinist, has come up with an idea on his farm that has made the job more productive. Years ago, he designed a guard on a small bush hog to keep the weeds from wrapping around the shaft, but the idea of patenting that concept never came to mind and he says he wouldn’t mess with another patent now.
As for the patent he did get, he doesn’t plan to keep it too much longer.
“I’m not sure what it’s worth, but the plan is to sell this patent,” Noel said. “I’m dealing with a company in Arizona that specializes in selling patents like this and they will deal on the price with a company that wants to buy it. They’ll get a small percentage for selling it and I’ll get the rest.”
While Noel waits for that little piece of paper to come in the mail, he is getting plenty of big items sent to him, including commendations from the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives.
“Between the patent letter and those two recognitions from Columbus, we have plenty of new frames to hang,” Noel said, as he looked along the walls lined with his prized deer heads. “But I guess we’ll have to move some of these first.”
Trophies from a good day in the woods will soon be replaced by trophies from a lifetime of a job well done in the field.