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The Tale of the Scale
Solly Angel

The Tale of the Scale book cover picture

Do you have what it takes to succeed as an inventor? Solly Angel does and he documents it convincingly in this tale of his journey from idea to final sell out . . . and beyond. Like many inventors he really didn't start out to be an inventor. But one day he had an idea and instead of doing the usual, forgetting it completely in 5 minutes or less, he thought about how to accomplish his vision. Then he built a prototype and tested it. Unfortunately, as with many a first prototype before it, it didn't work! Even more unfortunately Solly decided he was not going to be stopped by such an initial failure. And therein started the journey that would take him on numerous international trips, bury him in endless hours of research and testing, require the careful (and occasionally not so careful) selection of assistants and strategic partners, and make him a bona fide expert in a field he hadn't even heard of before he started.

Solly had the idea of a portable bathroom scale--only it would be a quarter-inch thick and weigh less than one pound. There was, of course, just one little problem. He didn't have any idea how to do that. Sixteen years later in this book he reflects: "I must have contemplated that scale on the teak floor with a rather immature frame of mind, entirely oblivious to any risk that lay ahead. The possibility that I could fail or that I was not the right man for the job never occurred to me. I did not feel humbled by my total ignorance, nor did I feel like an outsider. 'If I put my mind to it, it will eventually succumb.' I told myself, without giving much thought to my limitations, which were many."

Persistence pays though. Or at least it eventually, sometimes, brings positive results. He discovered, after a number of failed prototypes, some discussion with engineers, and some library research, that what he really needed was something called a "load cell." There were just two little problems: 1) a load cell such as he needed didn't exist and 2) if it had existed the final scale's price would have had to be well over $2,000 to recover the costs. That was a little beyond the acceptable price for either a bathroom "necessity" or a travel desire. Undaunted, Solly realized that the solution was simplicity itself--invent a load cell that cost essentially pennies to make.

Nine years, with at least seven patents in several countries later, with considerable threading through the minefield of the prior art, numerous failed and successful experiments, and an occasional lucky break, negotiations were entered into for a licensing deal. . . Will the final commercializable design be completed? Will a patent be infringed? Will there be a lawsuit? Will the dream of seeing the scale on the market be realized? Will the long hoped for million dollar payoff come? Is the story even over yet? . . .

This book is a great read even for non-inventors. And for inventors it tells the tale of an exceptional journey both typical of the ups and downs of inventing and atypical of the scope of the effort completed. Do you have what it takes to be a successful inventor?

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