Archive for the ‘Household Equipment’ Category

Here in the Northeast and in the southern states, stink bugs have taken up residence after being introduced from Asia in the 1990’s.  They can damage your crops, fruits and vegetables and are a real nuisance around the house.  You’ll find them in your food, they crawl up your walls and can be found in every nook and cranny in the house.  Not to mention they really do make your fingers stink when you pick them up.

What can be done about these nasty pests?

An enterprising Pennsylvanian decided that he had enough of these stink bugs so he devoted time and effort into developing a trap.  It is Strube’s Stink Bug Trap.  He designed several different models for different uses.  There is even a very large custom made sting bug trap for orchards.  Visit Strube’s website for more details.  You can purchase the traps on-line.  Strube’s Stink Bug Traps.

Strube bases his operation in Columbia, Pa, which sits on the Susquehanna, half way between York and Lancaster.


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I always appreciate the companies that went into business because “they new they could build a better mouse trap.”  Companies that were started at a kitchen table, in a garage, in a coffeeshop, or a bar.  Such tales are what I think represent the true American spirit of hard work and innovation with a heavy dose of self-confidence.  PDY Systems, the manufacturer of Lift-n-LOK is one of those companies.  The company is based out of Erie, Pa and they make a single product – the Lift-n-LOK tackle box – designed for just about anything that requires toting of small pieces and parts.   This could range from the fisherman, to the carpenter, to the home do-it-yourselfer who likes to keep his or her tools organized.liftnlok

The company was started by 3 partners who truly believed that they could build a better tackle box.  They sourced the manufacturing locally and soon, they brought a innovation tackle system to market.  The Lift-n-LOK is unique in that it automatically locks the drawers tightly together when you lift the tackle box.  The system is so good that nothing will intermix between compartments if you would happen to drop the box or it would be jostled in the back of your pick-up truck.  Imagine – no screws or nails jammed between drawers.  No lead fishing weights bopping around in the lure bin.

Lift-n-LOK can be purchased online for roughly $60. 

Company Website

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Bright Star makes industrial strength flashlights that you will not find in Walmart or even your neighbor’s closet.  At least…not in most of your neighbor’s closests anyway.  Purchasers of Bright Star products expect more out of their flashlights because they are often firefighters, police men and women, miners, or involved in some other serious occupation.  These types of Pennsylvanians rely on their flashlight in situations that we would never dream of encountering.  In fact…I found a police website discussing Bright Star and it’s evident that the quality of their flashlight is a bit of a source of pride.  I suppose if I used a flashlight every day on a night shift – I too would start to become attached to mine as well. 

Bright Star is based out of a 90,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania (Luzerne County).  They werbrightstare established in 1909 as a battery company and introduced a high-impacted, injected molded flashlight in the 1940’s.  The product was aimed at the mining industry which was prominent in Luzerne County.  Their products are distributed by WESCO, but you can find a few for sale on Ebay and other outlets on the internet.

Company Website

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Boyertown, Pa based Pro Tool Industries is the proud manufacturer of The Original Woodman’s Pal – which, by all accounts looks like it could do some damage to Pennsylvania underbrush….snaggle weed and trip grass.  Pick your poison.  This tool is “designed to trim, prune, chop, split, blaze trails, brush out lines, clear campsites, chop firewood, split kindling, build hunting blinds or lean-to-shelters.”   Hmm, it may in fact cook eggs, clean dishes, and go to work on Mondays for you.woodmans

The Woodman’s Pal has been manufactured in Pennsylvania since 1941 and has a long history of impressing its customers.  Field & Stream featured it in an article “20 Best Knives ever made.”  What’s unique about it is that it has enough heft to it to serve as both an axe and a machete – the hook is useful for grabbing and cutting brush or grass – anything that’s not going to yield to the other side of the blade.  If you peruse the testimonials – the theme that resonates is that it’s an extremely useful and well made piece of equipment.  Several of the products have leather handles and the company offers a no-questions-asked guarantee on the product.

You can purchase the Woodman’s Pal on the website of you can browse the long list of dealers that carry the product all over the United States – there are a dozen or so in Pennsylvania.  

Website…Woodman’s Pal

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Art Baker founded Baker Stoves in 1977 in York County, Pa, where the stoves are still manufactured today.  At the time Baker was concerned with our dependence on foreign oil and believed that wood & coals stoves could be significantly more efficient.  Baker invented a brand new stove, for which he held several patents.  The stove is unique in the sense that it uses a baffle system to trap hot air longer in the stove.  The stove is also equipped with a fan system that funnels cool air from your house through the hottest portions of the stove.  These two attributes make the Baker Stove significantly more efficient and a much more enjoyable & sensible heating source.baker2

One of the most significant benefits of burning wood or coal as a heat source is tends to be significantly cheaper than oil and natural gas.  Depending on your local costs of wood or coal and what the market rate for oil is – you can save anywhere between 50% and 70% on your heating bill.  Consider this…it is estimated that a cord of wood is equivalent to 125-175 gallons of fuel oil.  If fuel oil costs $2 per gallon (it was $4 gallon recently) – you will pay $250 to $325 for an equivalent cord of wood (typically costs between $100-$200).  This comparison becomes even more lopsided if cut your own (you can get a permit to cut dead wood on state lands) or can find good deals on wood over craigslist.  Wood also has a lot more price stability – Wall Street, the Middle East, and growing emerging markets are sending oil prices in wild directions.  In all likelihood – with the cut in oil production by OPEC – we will see very high oil prices within the next 2 winters.  Maybe a wood burning stove incentive should have been added into the stimulus package 😉

For the environmentally conscious….I also want to note that wood is a renewable resource – Pennsylvania is one of the most forested states in the country and has more forest coverage that it did in 1900.  The State actively manages the forests – cutting acreage on a 30-80 year harvest cycle. 

In any event – you should check out Baker Stoves – you may be able to replace a stove in your home and receive a return on investment within 2-3 years.

Check out Baker Stoves Online

Also, check out an article in the Washington Post about the recent popularity in Wood/Coal Stoves…

Washington Post Article

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If you’re the type of person that runs into some dirty situations and has called upon your vacuum cleaner to do do some outrageous jobs – then you are most likely a customer of Williamsport, Pa based Shop-Vac. Shop-Vac is the industry leading brand because of its 40 years of experience putting long-lasting, strong suctioning, quality, American made products into the hands of consumers and industry professionals to do ultra dirty work. Shop-Vac is the duct tape of power tools…a product that is so darn useful for so many different and unusual things that everyone should consider owning one.  If you browse some of the product stories on the company’s website, you will get a chuckle out of some of the stories about using Shop Vac vacuums…anything from using the vacuum as a snow blower to using it to remove yellow jackets from a ground nest or even using the vacuum to remove loose dirt when digging post holes.  What a great product for Pennsylvanians…made by Pennsylvanians.

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