Innovations - 1980's

The 80's began with many changes in Gerry Baby Products. I was one of the owners of the company now and we were on the verge of selling to the Huffy Bicycle Company and becoming a division of a billion dollar brand. We were the most innovative company in the industry and were imitated by many including the new Fisher Price Baby products Company. Gerry was soon to pass the $100 million dollar sales level and become one of the top baby products companies in the world. We had diversified into many categories including: strollers, carriers, mattresses, highchairs, car seats to name a few...then came electronics. I enjoyed the status of being probably the highest paid creator of baby products and internationally known.

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In 1980 consumer electronics were in their infancy. The pocket calculator was only about 5 years old and the video cassette player was only in a very few homes. To involve new fathers in the baby equipment purchase we created electronics for babies. I developed many interesting small products beginning with the simple idea of dimming the pesky un-dimmable nightlight and including devices to lull baby to sleep, check on him in the crib at night, make the nursery smell better and provide light in an emergency. These were all originals. The one product that was to be the defining effort was the first baby intercom. Although never patented — and as a result copied by every competitor — it became the number one revenue source for Gerry. The Gerry intercom was reinvented and improved numerous times during my period of influence within the company.

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Invention continued through the 80's. Such firsts as the patented flip top diaper pail, first all plastic door gate using structural foam technology that had never been tried before and a ground breaking toilet trainer that addressed both stages of toilet training. The legacy would be many revolutionary and disruptive innovations that were firsts but quickly became industry mainstays.

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Between 1972 and 1988 I developed many baby strollers. Two that stand out are the Gerry Go Round and the Pocket Rocket. Both were ahead of their time in the application of technology new to the baby products industry.

The Gerry Go Round was a sleek new look that used injection molded structural foam as a primary material for the chassis and frame. Many current strollers found their their roots in this design of 1986.

The pocket rocket was a departure from the norm. The new compact stroller was designed for simplicity of manufacturing, ease of use and unique display and storage. The key was the application of precision roto casting.

Everything comes to an end. I decided to leave baby products and move on to new adventures in cosmetics and personal care.


The challenges were no longer there for me and apparently not for the other two people in the team that the worked so well together through the 70's and 80's. The president and vice president of marketing left soon after me. Gerry Baby Products coasted to an innovation decline, was sold off by Huffy and the once vibrant company disappeared into obscurity. Strangely, my strollers and back carriers were seen in a transportation museum in Nebraska. "Do not leave baby unattended."

In 1988 I became Vice President of Design and Engineering for a start up company in Cosmetic and Personal Care, Epi Lady.

  • EpiSauna: A patented new approach to facial saunas.
  • Eiplady Shower Massage System: A shower massager that pulsed and also had the "touch"
  • Epident Ultra: A tooth brush tested to be more effective than the most famous brand and cleaned all tooth surfaces at the same time.
  • A hair dryer that lifted the hair to dry from the root and impart volume naturally.
  • Eiplady Body Brush: The first electric massage brush for the bath.

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Epi Lady was a brief bright star. It grew from a start up to over $400 million in sales in three short years. It had an 80% brand recognition and was widely revered for its innovative product line — but collapsed due to financial mismanagement.