On the surface, the product coming out of Tesla NanoCoatings looks like a thick paint. In actuality, the product and the science behind it are complicated, but emerging from space right here in Stark County. For the last two years, Tesla founder Todd Hawkins has leased space at Stark State College and is making a product called Teslan that is a necessity for oil and gas companies.
Nanotubes were discovered in 1985 and they have properties—mechanical, thermal and electrical—that make them stronger than diamonds. Nanotubes are the lifeblood of Hawkins’ corrosion-resistant coatings that his company makes.
What makes Tesla the kind of place universities want to partner with is the research and development that takes place. The University of Akron has one of the country’s most extensive corrosion engineering majors in the country, and Tesla is a partner in that program.
In addition to developing a coating product that very well could spread outside the oil and gas industry, Tesla is developing talent as well.
Hawkins’ company has developed and grown to the point where late last year SK Global Chemical, a Korean company in Seoul, signed on to invest $5 million in the first year of a partnership and up to $50 million over the next five to seven years.
SK Global is a subsidiary of SK Group, a company that employs 78,000 people with revenue of $148 billion in 2012.
Tesla could be in its infancy stages of growth if this partnership is any indication.
—By Todd Porter
2013: Flattitude Belt
Colette Wasdahl, like most innovators, had a problem and figured other people had the same problem. So she looked for a solution.
When she didn’t find one that she liked, she created one.
So from a vintage clothing store owner in downtown Canton you now have the Flattitude Belt.
It is a belt that women, or men for that matter, can wear with a shirt over it and there is no bulge from the buckle.
“It’s a pretty simple idea,” Wasdahl said. “I’d been looking around for a belt to hold my pants up, but not bulge out from under a T-shirt or sweater. I couldn’t find anything flat enough. Even a quarter of an inch is something that sticks out. So I decided to find a way to make it myself.”
Her belts are so thin, there is only a 1/8-inch bulge that show, barely noticeable.
Making one wasn’t the issue. Making many thousands was.
Wasdahl took her idea to local machinists. She was sent to someone in Wooster, who sent her to someone in Amish country.
“The plan was to get it made in America,” she said.
Finding the right elastic at the right price was the problem. She found it in China, but the Chinese company wanted to make the whole thing, so a small-business owner had to wield to the pressure.
Now she is ready to go to mass market with them. Her website, www.flattitudebelt.com, is about ready to take orders. Word of mouth has helped. She sold some last summer at the Hartville Flea Market.
“A lady bought one here, got back home to Texas and emailed me to order six more for Christmas gifts,” Wasdahl said.
—By Todd Porter
2001: AbioCor Artificial Heart is invented.
2002: The wireless headset (bluetooth) is invented.
2004: Facebook is founded.
2005: YouTube is founded.
2006: Twitter is founded.
2007: The iPhone is invented.
2007: Hulu is invented.
2010: The iPad is invented.
2013: The cronut is invented. It’s a croissant-style pastry that’s fried like a doughnut, filled with cream and topped with glaze.
2013: Google Glass is invented.
Inventions, innovations, ideas and more! Stark County is full of them. See how Joel Daniel Harris turned his idea into a dream come true for middle-schoolers. Read on to see what great inventions and innovations came out of our great county. Bet you didn’t know “The Game of Life” was made by a McKinley High School grad.