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The Glove and Battie Caddie
Austin Meggitt's invention, the Glove and Battie Caddy, solves a problem that has plagued young baseball and softball players for decades: how to transport their gear when riding their bikes.
Austin was born in 1988, in Amherst, Ohio, where his parents are both teachers. Today, at age 11, Austin attends the local Shupe Middle School. He is enrolled in the school's program for gifted students, and he also has a number of extracurricular interests, including Boy Scouts, the school newspaper, and soccer. But it was his love of playing baseball that led him to his invention.
When Austin was nine, he was given a simple project at school: find a way to solve an everyday problem. The problem that occurred to Austin was one familiar to most young athletes: whenever he rode his bike to play baseball at a friend's house or a park, he had trouble carrying his glove, bat and ball. Trying to wedge the equipment into the frame of the bike was just as frustrating and unsafe as trying to carry it in one hand. Even kids' usual last resort of hanging the glove from the handlebars could disrupt the bike's steering or braking.
What was needed was a carrying device that would secure all the necessary equipment, despite turns and bumps, without interfering with the rider's control or the bike's maneuverability. Austin's idea was to attach a yoke above the handlebars, across which he could clip his bat, and from which he could hang his mitt and ball. With some supervision from his father, Austin gathered his supplies---PVC piping, which is both lightweight and easy to work with, along with various grips, clamps, and bolts---and set to work with the family's tools.
The final product, which Austin calls the Glove and Battie Caddie, performs its purpose admirably. The PVC frame features U-shaped spring clips that keep the bat balanced over the handlebars, a hook in front for the glove, and a pouch underneath for the ball. The frame is adjustable in width, so it can fit any size or style of handlebars without running afoul of the hand-brakes.
Austin's invention was not only a success at school: soon, all of his ball playing friends wanted a Glove and Battie Caddie for their own bikes. Austin entered his invention in the national Ultimate Invention contest for 1998, sponsored by the Discovery Channel, Media One, and The Learning Channel, and won the Grand Prize. Besides a check for $200, Austin won a three-day trip to Washington, DC, where he stopped by the US Patent and Trademark Office to register his invention---now officially designated "patent pending."
The next year, Austin was inducted into the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors at the National Inventors Hall of Fame (1999). Along with his awards, Austin has been profiled on TV and in national magazines and various newspapers. Meanwhile, Austin is looking for a company to license and manufacture the Glove and Battie Caddie.
Austin Meggitt has said that he does not plan to make a career of inventing: in fact, he now hopes to become a zoologist. But an inventive mind is always an asset, and there is little doubt that Austin will continue to apply his problem-solving and creative skills in any field to which he chooses to devote himself.
For our profile of the inventor of modern baseball (not Abner Doubleday!), see http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/inventorsA-H/cartwright.html.