Eddie S. Winn In Convenient Height

How Did I Dream Up the Tall Toilet. Part 1

Dear Friend, 

Have you ever thought of an invention, an idea to improve something existing or design a totally new gadget or a product? You may have thought to yourself, “I should create, design and make this into a product which I know will be helping so many people!” My genuine advice is: Do it if it’s not yet too late! How often do we start seeking more information and Googling our potential invention and someone has already had this idea and is already making it? Or worse, you meant to pursue an idea but got sidetracked and a few years later someone else made it – and you thought, “Wait, that was my idea!” In my case timing was everything.

If you can relate to what I have described above, you will easily understand what type of inspiration helped me pursue the design and engineering of the Tall Toilet. Realistically speaking, it would be hard to own the invention of the toilet! But the new design of the 20” tall toilet, that I did indeed invent. In this blog post I will share with you the thought process that lead me forward.

Our desire to invent or create something new often is encouraged by something we see in our own work or home environment. I would imagine the person who invented a bottle opener was possibly a bartender. Or the person who invented scissors had to somehow be related to a tailor. Then we all know the story about the sticky notes, where actually no one really set out to invent sticky notes. Instead, a chemist invented a unique, low-tack adhesive that would stick to things but also could be repositioned multiple times. He was trying to invent a super-strong adhesive, but he came up with a super-weak one instead and this adhesive was used to apply small paper squares onto the surfaces. 

But how in the world does anyone get inspired to invent a tall toilet? Do you have to be really tall to have a need for it? Well, I am 6’3”, so you can say that partially the answer could be yes; but my height was not the reason at all.

To better understand my career path is to know that I have spent most of my 20s and 30s working with buildings in Massachusetts – construction, overseeing building management, restoring, creating and fixing structures. Some of my first building-related jobs were in construction on Nantucket Island near Cape Cod. My first jobs were laying cedar shingles on the siding and then later I learned how to do the finish woodwork. I was never really exposed to framing and I was average at best with wood finish work, but I learned a lot from the guys I worked with and especially from the construction contractor who hired me. For a while, I also worked at the Nature Foundation on Nantucket, and have spent years learning about the principles of life from the founder, who had also instilled in me a love for Perry Como’s music and Nantucket Island’s wild nature.

Later, I got an awesome job with the man who has become my mentor and the godfather of sorts, when he hired me as a hotel engineer. Hotels were my stomping grounds and that is where I started excelling in my career in building management. I followed my mentor’s leadership and appreciated his coaching. I eventually moved “off-island” and continued managing buildings – this time in the Assisted and Senior Living communities in Massachusetts. I became a plant operations manager. I know it is hard to compare building managers and those guys are often very competitive and a bit egoistic, but I knew I was very good at my job. Why? I just connected with my residents so well! And if I had a hard and difficult day at work, good comfort food and cookies (my senior living communities baked really good oatmeal cookies!) always made my day better. 

I did not know much about Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, mobility issues or aging difficulties before I started working in the Assisted Living communities. But all of a sudden, I was there, in the middle of it and learning about the memory loss, about mobility-related challenges (yes, such as how hard it could be for someone with sitting down and getting up from the toilet!) and at the same time, falling in love with the community of seniors I was there to serve.

Let’s take a quick coffee break and I will continue sharing my story. 

Warm regards, 
Eddie

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