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Dien Rice
June 3, 2010, 12:35 PM

The OttiMat™ is an innovative product that uses recycled human hair to repair and prevent the environmental damage caused by oil spills. Comprised of 99% recycled human hair and 1% Polypropylene Skrim, OttiMat adsorbs (holds on to) oil. OttiMat™ patented technology is environmentally friendly, non-hazardous and all natural.

Thanks Bill...

There's a lot of useful stuff there...

In your second link, it's good if people can do something to help. It's a real disaster. Every news item seems to be more bad news.

On the other hand, your first link is also an inspirational entrepreneurial story too.

From the http://www.ottimat.com website...

The Idea: The Ottimat was invented by Phil McCory, a hair stylist in Huntsville, Alabama. While watching television coverage of the 1989 Valdez oil spill, McCory noticed the difficulty volunteers were having cleaning the fur of otters.

McCory thought, “ if animal fur can trap and hold spilled oil, why can’t human hair?”

In a home experiment, McCory stuffed 5 pounds of hair he'd cut into a pair of his wife's pantyhose. He tied the ankles of the nylons together to form a ring shaped collection bundle. Then, filling his son's baby pool with water, he poured a gallon of used motor oil in the pool and then dunked the pantyhose. Two minutes later he pulled out the nylons and noticed the water was crystal clear. Not a trace of oil was left in the water, said McCory.
Another link on the site ("the reusability factor") explains how the "OttiMats" can be reused. That's because oil is not "absorbed" by the mats, but "adsorbed" by them. That means that the oil sticks to the surface of the hair, and does actually get inside the strands of hair. Because of that, the "OttiMats" can be washed and reused, and 98% of the oil can be recovered.

What a fantastic, inspirational story!

How many times has a great invention or business idea come about because someone, working somewhere, simply noticed something interesting and useful?

Then, they took it that one step further, and did something with the idea...

It reminds me of other great "ordinary person invents something extraordinary" stories...

Like the story of Bette Nesmith Graham inventing Liquid Paper. She was a secretary, and mixed up her own batches of white paint to paint over her typing mistakes, so she could retype over them. She eventually started selling her special paint to others, and Liquid Paper was born!

Harvey Brody's story of inventing the "Zoom Spout oiler" is like this too. He was repairing typewriters to make extra money. He'd buy broken typewriters very cheaply, fix them up so they worked, then resell them. That's how he funded his college education. He found it hard to get oil in some of the nooks and crannies of the typewriter. So he got a flexible tube, attached it to an oil can, and voila! The Zoom Spout oiler was born!

These kinds of stories are all inspirational...

Great link - Thanks for sharing it, Bill!

Best wishes,


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