Idea Partner for Napkin Rack Design: Glenn Geffcken

Glenn with his idea

About ten years ago Glenn watched a television show reenacting a past era; he noticed a board hanging on a wall with rags hanging on pegs and names painted above them. It got him thinking about how people managed before we had so many modern conveniences and disposable paper products, which we tend to take for granted.

In his own family life, it bothered him how much paper they wasted. They switched from paper to cloth napkins. However, when they cleared the table no one knew whose napkin was whose, and they didn’t want to share them, so they were constantly washing napkins. He pondered how to get them off the table to make space for other family activities, and how to assign each napkin to just one person, so they’d need merely a weekly wash with other laundry.

Glenn saw my bag dryer and heard me say I wanted to develop other wood products that conserve natural resources. He thought of this napkin rack idea based on what he’d seen on the television show. We tossed around ideas for a few minutes while I took notes. Later I drew a sketch and made a prototype which he tried and liked. Working to improve the hanging system and the spacing, I created two more prototypes.

The third prototype was IT, we agreed. The napkin rack immediately changed his family’s habits…well, most of them. Glenn, his wife, and daughter all started using it right away. His younger son (the rebel) was a bit resistant and pretended to not like it, so other family members put his napkin back on his peg for him. Glenn and his wife still use it today. (see photo)

Working with me on this was great fun, says Glenn. With his limited woodworking skills, he would never have actually made this. Turning his idea over to me to actualize gave him great satisfaction. Now he is happy to see it available commercially, so other people can benefit from it.

Thanks, Glenn!

If YOU have an idea for a new wood product that can help make reusing fun and easy in homes or workplaces–please, let me know. Perhaps you can be my next Idea Partner!