Inventor finds 'sweep' spot with device to clean RV roofs
By LOGAN B. ANDERSON, Delaware State News
MILFORD, Del. (AP) _ While on a camping trip in 2016, Albert ``Jake'' Silbereisen saw a problem and decided to clean it up.
The Milford man had purchased a new pull-behind camper, complete with a slide-out portion that increased the vehicle's interior space.
After setting up in a heavily wooded campground, he noticed that debris falling from the surrounding trees was collecting on top of the slide-out.
He knew he would have to clean the area well before breaking camp because the scraps could interfere with the slide-out sliding back in correctly. And a slide-out that is not stowed properly could damage the whole unit and, worse, allow water to get inside.
Water can provide many challenges, especially to outdoor enthusiasts with recreational vehicles. If they're not careful, water can seep in, damage a nice weekend and lead to a significant repair investment.
``We went camping, and I thought, `How am I going to clean that off?' There is no ladder on the back of the camper, so you have to bring a ladder with you,'' Mr. Silbereisen said.
Because standard travel trailers and motorized recreational vehicles can be 8 to 12 feet tall, their roofs are well out of reach.
So the outdoorsman tried to come up with a way to clean the top of his slide-out from the ground, without having to lug a ladder around.
He crafted a semicircular attachment for any standard broom. The device extends a typical broom's reach, while turning its head parallel to the ground. The user can reach the top of the area they wish to clear and sweep away any debris.
The original design he made just for himself.
``I made a little homemade version. People kept asking me where I got it. So the wheels kept turning,'' he said, smiling.
Off he went to the drawing board, where he created a design, then hired a patent attorney.
``They went through the patenting process to see if one had been made, and they couldn't find one,'' Mr. Silbereisen said.
Therefore, his design _ a black, injection-molded, semicircular plastic broom attachment _ is now patent-pending and for sale. The ``RV Slideout Sweep'' is available for $15, plus shipping.
The sweeper allows for any handle and cleaning head with a standard-threaded attachment. Some of his customers employ a long handle from a pool skimmer, combined with a soft dust broom head for fine particles and debris. Others use standard kitchen brooms to get the job done.
Mr. Silbereisen opened his online retail space about two years ago and has sent his creation all over the United States and Canada.
Though his idea is helping campers enjoy their vacations and protect their investments far and wide, he is proud that his company and invention is entirely a product of the First State.
``It's all done here in Delaware. It was invented here. We had the drawings done and finalized (here). There is a molding company in Georgetown that makes them for me,'' he said.
Having his small business located nearby was very important to Mr. Silbereisen, who, in his free time, often volunteers with many community events in Milford. Even the hosting site for his online store is Delaware-based.
``The banking is even done in Delaware. It's made here and sold here.''
By The Associated Press, Copyright 2021
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