Patents and Development History
The original Spiral Wishing Well and Vortx Mini-Wells were invented, and patented by Steve Divnick, President of Divnick International, Inc. in 1985 under patent pending proprietary protection. The first design patent was issued in 1986 with a utility patent issued in 1988.
The first Well was designed as a children's offering device for Divnick's church, and it quickly became an effective fund-raising device at charity events in the Dayton Ohio area. This led to the development of the first fiberglass molds. Marketing began in 1985. The first commercial sale was to the Dayton Air Force Museum where its Well has raised over $1 million so far.
Within a few short months, Wells were being sold to museums, zoos, and all types of stores and restaurants throughout the United States and several other countries. Since that time, thousands of Wells have been sold that have generated over $200 million for charities throughout the world.
It has been our pleasure to be a part of such a tremendous product that has had a lasting impact on society.
Click here to see pictures of past models.
You can review our patents on the following United States patent office links which will open in a new browser window:
The latest patent (7,704,118) covers several engineering improvements over our initial patents, including the launch ramps being mounted OUTSIDE the funnel which results in the coins being able to circle the entire funnel. The older models mounted the ramps inside the rim, so the coins had to launch on a path to miss the ramp on the opposite side, reducing the effective coin-rolling diameter by about 12" per side.
Over the years, several companies have come and gone that have copied our Wells in one way or another. They have all had in common the old style where two ramps are mounted INSIDE the perimeter of the funnel as you can see in our original five-footer (pictured below) made in 1985..
The copies never work as well. The launch ramps are at the incorrect angle and made with inferior materials, so the coins do not launch at the necessary angle, speed, and spin rate. As a result, the coins either run into the rim, or dive toward the bottom which results in oblong spin paths and very short spin times. Click here to see an example of a copy.
The older models and all copies, mounted the ramps on the actual surface of the funnel. So the ramps had to launch the coins so they missed the ramp on the opposite side. This decreased the effective diameter as much as 12 inches.
To help illustrate the significant benefits of this new innovation, notice the "effective diameter" and coin-rolling time of an old 5' diameter Well compared with our new 3' diameter Well. You will notice in the old 5' model that the ramps are mounted "inside" the funnel and the effective rolling surface is no larger than the new 3' model which is less than half the overall size and cost...both very important factors. You will also notice on the new 3' model that the coins use the entire surface with the first revolutions all the way around the perimeter. The coins roll as long in the new 3' as in the old 5'. Of course, our Seven-Footer is even more spectacular. with 8 launch ramps, 8 people can play at a time which attracts a lot more money, and the coins use the entire funnel surface for a lot bigger show with more revolutions. All this, and the floor space foot-print is no larger than the old model five-footers.
How is that possible? Because the ramp-mounting surfaces are in the "corners" of the Seven-Footer, they do not increase the side-to-side width of the Well. Said another way, when we place the funnel into a box, the ramp-mounting surfaces occupy the otherwise unused "corners" which means they do not increase the foot print floor size, or the dimensional shipping rates!
Since the ramps are molded as part of the funnel, we refer to it as a "Seven-Footer" using a diagonal measurement. The actual diameter of the funnel is a little larger than five feet, but the total diameter is less than the old five-footers which had a wide rim. So actually, it has a little smaller foot-print than the original five-footer, and a lot smaller than some of the knock-offs that have a large wooden base with a wide rim that makes it difficult for children to reach the ramps. Click here for exact dimensions.
One customer recently asked us to compare the pricing and income of our Wells to others. Since our Three-Footers have as much coin-rolling surface as the old five-footers, they are much less expensive and boast superior construction and smaller floor space. Comparing our Seven-Footers to the old five-footers is even more impressive. In fact, even if you could get an old five-footer with its two coin ramps FREE, by the end of the first year, you would have a lot more money with our Seven-Footer, even after paying it off. Every year after that, the total income continues to far out-perform the old five-footers.
Looked at another way, if you have a good location for a Well, you want to maximize its return. That location is the "gold mine". You don't want to go after the gold with an old pick and shovel when you can do it with modern giant machine. Similarly, we don't think it makes any sense to place an old funnel that will generate far less income, even if it costs less initially. Your goal is to get as much out of that floor space as possible...to get as many people as possible to empty their purses and pockets. Clearly, it is easier to do that when 8 people can play at a time...not only generating more income, but generating more attention which draws people over to see what the excitement is all about.
As the company that invented fund raising coin funnels, it has been our privilege to participate in helping charities, organizations, and stores raise funds all over the world. We are very proud of our innovative designs, quality, service, timing, and communication.
Click here to see pictures of past models.
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