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Quakertown welder develops simple device to avoid germs

While many scientists across the country have switched gears to concentrate on finding solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Quakertown welder thinks he has come up with an easy solution to slow the spread of the disease and he’s rushing to get his product to market.

Kevin Johnson, owner of JMW Fabrication, has created a simple device that can be attached to most standard commercial door handles, allowing people to open the door using their arm or wrist instead of their hands.

He’s calling his product, Handless-Handles.

“I never took germ spread seriously until this pandemic,” he said. But with a pregnant wife, he said he’s become hyper aware of the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

“I’m a problem solver at heart, so I was looking for a solution,” he said. “Most germs spread on your hands throughout the day and everybody goes to the store.”

Kevin Johnson, of JMW Fabrication in Quakertown, demonstrates his handless handle on a pizza shop door in Allentown. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

He said eliminating that touch point could contribute significantly to a reduction in spreading germs.

“These handles are just a haven for germ spread,” Johnson said.

He aimed to make the product so that it could be installed on most standard commercial door handles.

There is more than one version, with the main product designed so that it’s clamped on and not permanent so a business that is renting doesn’t have to alter property that is owned by another business entity.

“You want to be able to modify it without it being invasive or cumbersome,” he said.

While the handles are removable, Johnson said he doesn’t expect that businesses will remove them. Even when the pandemic is over, he believes there will be an ongoing concern over disease transmission.

“The idea of minimizing germ spread is going to be the norm,” he said.

The handles, which are patent-pending, are being produced right now in his Quakertown shop. His first set was installed and unveiled Thursday at a pizza shop in Allentown that is open for takeout.

Right now, he and his staff of three are concentrating on ramping up production.

“We want this to be ready for when everyone is opening back up so we spread less germs,” Johnson said.

He anticipates that his shop can make around 2,000 of the handles per day. If there is a higher demand, he is working on contracting with other manufacturers to produce the handles.

He is also in the process of hiring two new workers to his current staff of three.

Since he has been concentrating on making the product, he hasn’t done a great deal of marketing for the new product, but they are available for sale on his website, www.handlesshandles.com starting at $64.99.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at swescoe@bridgetowermedia.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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