June 14, 1999
Rich Owen (left) and Jerry Rosenfield are marketing Rosenfield's invention: the Tailgate Gap Cover.
DUVALL--Jerry Rosenfield vividly remembers the day he got angry with his pickup truck.
"I had construction debris to take to the dump and material kept gravitating into the gap between the tailgate and truck bed and getting stuck," he said. "I had to continually clean it out before I could shut the tailgate."
It was the perfect challenge for the retired Boeing engineer and inventor. Five years later, the Tailgate Gap Cover, a device designed by Rosenfield to fit neatly into the gap between the tailgate and truck bed, is on the market.
Rosenfield, 72, a Seattle native who moved to the Mountain View area of Duvall about five years ago, says he developed his first design drawings for the device in 1994.
"I designed it first as a concept," he said. "Then I spent a year and a half in the UW Engineering library searching to see if something similar had been developed."
Amazingly, there was nothing like it on the books. Rosenfield's first patent took about three and a half years to obtain. Currently, he has American, Canadian, and Japanese patents on his invention.
"It's a brand new way of solving an age-old problem with a pickup truck," he says.
The device not only makes hauling soil, gravel, rock, bark, or debris safer, cleaner, and easier, it also deters tailgate theft. The cover folds down into the gap upon closing the tailgate.
The Tailgate Gap Cover is his 14th invention. Rosenfield also offers his expertise to budding inventors at no charge. As an "inventors consultant," he helps people with the search and invention process.
"We look at whether an invention is marketable or cost-effective, and search and identify what's out there," he says.
He met his business partner, Rich Owen, that way. Owen, a Redmond resident, had an idea for an invention and sought out Rosenfield for help.
His idea didn't work out, but he got together with Rosenfield, and together they began Time Savers Industries, Inc., opening an office in Duvall to market the Tailgate Gap Cover.
The cover is made of specially formulated polypropylene that has been successfully tested at temperatures from 40 degrees below zero to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It is available for most trucks, domestic and imports, full size and compact, dating back an average of 10 years. It works with or without bed liners and with or without spray liners. It is held down by aircraft-quality aluminum straps.
A pickup owner can install the cover in about 30 minutes. Rosenfield and Owen say they expect to expand the business internationally.
Locally, the cover is available at Duvall Auto Parts at a cost of $59.95. For information, call 844-9069 or toll-free at 1-877-844-9069.