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South Neighborhoods
Brookline carpet installer awaits patent for device he invented

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

By Al Lowe, Tri-State Sports & News Service

Dale Marizzaldi never expected to become an inventor when he chose freelance carpet-laying as an occupation 27 years ago.

"I was just trying to make a living," he said.

Dale Marizzaldi works in his basement workshop on another version of the carpet puller he invented, this one for use on steps. (Tony Tye, Post-Gazette)

But the Brookline resident has created an ingenious device to help him cope with that job -- and has a patent pending.

Not bad for a plainspoken 43-year-old blue-collar guy who does "a job nobody else wants to do."

He chose that line of work as a teenager only because that inside job seemed more attractive than the alternative, which was to lay bricks in the snow.

His invention, dubbed the "jack rabbit," helps him to reduce the time and energy expended on his job.

The name stems from the fact that Marizzaldi can use it to jack up carpet that has been glued to a floor and do it about as fast as a scared rabbit.

The tool is a lightweight all-steel unit with a long, thin handle and a ratchet mechanism at the end.

By applying leverage to the jack rabbit, Marizzaldi has discovered that he can speedily remove 4- or 6-foot sections of glued-down carpet at a time.

A carpet removal job that might have taken all day is done in about an hour, he said. "You never even break into a sweat."

He can remember abandoning carpet removal jobs because he and co-workers found some glued-down carpet that seemed stubborn and unyielding.

So, he tinkered with his invention for a while, "trying to get all the bugs out." When he had the device perfected, the next question was: Now what?

Marizzaldi was leery of companies that advertised on TV seeking inventions to promote and promising to obtain patents.

He found he didn't have to go through them. He read a book about the subject and looked in the Yellow Pages for a patent agent.

He submitted a rough draft, paid for a critique and then submitted his invention to the government for a patent. The current status is "patent pending."

Marizzaldi has been using trade magazines and word-of-mouth to peddle the jack rabbit through distributors. He plans to go soon to a trade show to promote the tool.

His buddies have asked him why he hasn't become a millionaire due to his invention. He just shakes his head.

Marizzaldi Manufacturing, as described in the trade magazine Floor Covering Installer, is actually a low-cost, no-frills operation originating out of his Brookline garage.

And the carrying case for the jack rabbit is as ingenious as the device itself: seat belts obtained from a local dump.

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