Soup it up: Device shields windshields from frost, ice
Really, as someone who left Michigan more than a decade ago to live in sunny, warm Arizona, I'm not trying to rub it in when I mention the fact that it won't be very long before many of you will be scraping ice off your windshields each morning before you can head to work.
I remember those mornings. Start the car. Turn on the defroster full blast. And start scraping. Too often, scraping a hole just large enough to see the road, but not large enough to really be safe on the road.
And I know the forecasters are saying this will be a particularly harsh winter in Michigan, but there's a new product coming to market that might let you skip all the scraping and be presented each morning with a clear view of the road.
The product is called iceScreen — The Magnetic Ice Shield. It is the creation of two people who know something about cold weather: Dan Miller lived for 15 years in Switzerland and Andy Wright is from Scotland, where kilts may be cool, but they're downright frigid during those long, cold Scottish winter nights.
Now living in the United States (their company is based in Hollywood, Florida), they launched their effort two years ago during one of the coldest winters in British history. Their idea was to produce a heavy-duty windshield cover that attached to the car with magnets so it would be easy to install and remove.
They started cutting and sewing in Wright's kitchen. After some product development and alterations, they made and sold 200 in their first week of production.
"Orders were coming faster than we could keep up," Wright said, adding that they began a search for a manufacturing source that could supply the quality they wanted for their product.
"We use military-grade waterproof polyester, very thick and strong," said Wright. Seven magnets and two "security pockets" secure the iceScreen over the car's windshield. The "security pockets" actually are flaps that go inside the car, the locked doors holding the iceShield securely in place.
Another innovation they developed was putting a reflective material on the reverse side of the iceShield so it can be used in the summer months as a sun shield to keep a car's interior shaded and cooler.
They also produce the iceShield in five colors and can add a business name or personalized message on the iceShield surface.
The iceShield is available in four sizes: There's a larger version designed for quick-response vehicles (ambulances, etc.) or for vans and trucks. There is a normal size for the typical family sedan, and two smaller sizes. Prices range from $19.99 to $35.00. All iceShields came in a carrying case.
In addition to the big windshield cover, they created two smaller "mirror mittz" to keep ice off a vehicle's exterior rear view mirrors.
Wright and Miller anticipate having distribution through retail outlets in 2015, but through mid-November iceShields can be purchased through a Kickstarter campaign and Wright said any bought that way will be delivered by this Christmas.
For information, go to the website kickstarter.com/projects/218052642/
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.