You may have noticed that Equi-Tee Manufacturing builds a pretty diverse bunch of products. Would you believe that what you see here is just the tip of the iceburg? How do manure forks relate to chainsaw filters, and how do filters relate to horse fence? The answer is actually pretty simple, it all comes out of the mind of one inventor, Joseph Berto. With more than a dozen patents (insert patent photo) and additional unpatented sales successes, this is his story of innovation. Equi-tee began in 1983, Joseph was working as 2 stroke mechanic, repairing and modifying snowmobiles. One new model, the Indy 600 was a strong performer, but its acceleration out of the hole was pretty poor. Joseph invented and marketed his first product, a specialized "Red/Blue" clutch spring (photo) that brought the sled to life. To market it he formed the first spinoff company, Holeshot Products, and within a few years racers like Tim Bender ( insert bender photo) were using and winning with his springs. In the coming years the performance that the spring offered opened up opportunities for other inventions. Because there was so much more power going to the track, traction on snow became an issue. Joseph solved this with the development of the Paddle cleat (photo), a wedge shaped urethane cleat that bolted to the track. These cleats were so successful that they were eventually copied and made integral into stock snowmobile tracks. Virtually every snowmobile track today owes its performance to the original Paddle cleat!. Paddle cleats lead to more snow roosting out from behind the sled, so colorful Side Skirts (photo) were developed. Many other colorful accessories, from ski skins to wheel covers made their way onto snowmobiles worldwide. Then, since more traction gave sledders the ability to go into fresh deep powder snow, expeditions into the boonies were possible. Damage from beating your sleds belly pan up from hitting hidden objects became a problem. So the Holeshot Skid Plate (photo's) were next. Holeshot Products built more than 100,000 of these distinctive three rib skidplates for Polaris, Yamaha, Arctic Cat and Ski-doo snowmobiles, and may sleds come with them as standard equipment today. Skidplates lead to plastic ski liners ( photo), and Handleballs (photo) for easier turning. The crowning achievement of the snowmobile period was the Multi-Staged snowmobile clutch (photo). Although it was a bit too far ahead of it's time to be commercially successful, later versions set speed and E.T records!
As if this wasn't enough inventing, in the middle of it all Joseph continued to work out in the woods as a bucker, a person who followed behind the faller and stripped the downed trees of limbs and bucked the trees to length. It was during this time he noticed how poorly his Stihl chainsaw performed towards the end of the day when the filter became clogged. Not happy with what aftermarket filters were available, he invented and marketed the MaxFlow chainsaw air filter(photo). For more than 20 years this is the filter that professional Stihl chainsaw users have counted on the bring their saws to life. It is still available here today and it continues to be the industry standard for performance air filters.
The transition from horsepower to horses seemed destined to happen and once Joseph took an interest in horses it was only natural that horse related inventions began to follow. First was the Equi-Tee fence adapter, an inexpensive way to make t-post fencing safer by mounting a vinyl sight line (photo). Taking what he learned about enclosing horses he next developed accessories to enhance other types of fencing, the Hot Wire Stud (photo) and Pipe Panel Clamp (photo). These products have been keeping horses in or critters out for more than 10 years.
One of the inevitable byproducts of horses is picking up after them, and Joseph continued to innovate with ideas to reduce the drudgery of that chore. The Whale Shovel, (photo) was first. Then finding dissatisfaction with the quality of manure picking forks available he completely redesigned the lowly manure fork, the result was the Flex'n Fork (Photo) who's flexible features made the fork tines nearly indestructible. Users also say that its also it's ergonomic features that make them fall in love with it. Once the fork was made stronger, the next goal was to make it faster, and Joseph's creative mind developed the absolutely revolutionary auto-sifting hand tool called the Shake'n Fork. No longer is it necessary to work in a stall manually agitating the manure and bedding. The Shake'n Fork has been reducing the expense and time cleaning stalls for ore than 5 years.
One of the most surprising innovations was the development of the Shake'n Rake (photo) a finely screened version of the motorized manure fork. First used in the Gulf during the BP oil spill (photo) for sifting oil tarballs from beach sand, it has since found its way into sand cleaning situations all over the world. From golf course bunkers, beach bars, lakefront resorts, construction sites and playground sandboxes, the Shake'n Rake is a hit everywhere it is used.
What is next? No-one but Joseph can tell you that. But given his track record, there is sure to be something new coming.