Generally speaking, Mr. Webster defines "Hardware" as: Tools, wiring and other operative
components of homes and machinery (such as nuts and bolts, light bulbs and plumbing stuff, for example).
However, we have just returned from the 2009 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas where nearly 3,000
exhibitors proved that in real life, the term "hardware" (as found in today’s home centers and
hardware stores) now also extends to a vast array of exciting items for home living and gardening.
It even includes "hardware" for energy conservation, going green and adding upscale designer
While there certainly were lots of traditional hardware items at this year’s show that meet Webster’s
criteria, there were also many newer innovations that caught our eye:
One was the nifty "Tow-N-Stow" combination auto trailer and storage unit.
It starts out as a roomy two-wheel trailer, with a bed comparable to a pick-up truck that is perfect for
hauling anything from lumber or plywood to your riding mower or camping gear. It also has lots of handy
bells-and-whistle features, like a removable locking tailgate and cover, outboard wheels (for a flat
bed) and lots of places to tie-down a load.
When you’re through hauling, simply turn the unit on end, fold up the wheels, slip in a few shelves – and
presto convert-o, in less than one minute, it becomes a handsome outdoor storage unit with locking
Now, you can turn the family car into a haulin’ star with just a trailer hitch – and when you’re done,
going from tow back to stow, is an easy switch.
A bit pricey for a storage shed at $2,495., but a real deal with the dual use as a trailer.
Another great outdoor innovation is the new W-H-Y Bug Trap. As the name implies, it is especially for
wasps, hornets and yellowjackets and effectively catches 20 species of "stingy" pests in all.
The W-H-Y Trap uses three separate scientifically-developed attractants designed to replicate what is
already found in the natural world, either from the target insect’s body, its food source, or its nest
or colony. The attractant kit that comes with the trap lasts two weeks and two-week refill attractant
kits are available as needed for different regions and various insect seasons.
The new W-H-Y Trap can be used virtually anywhere in the country to catch any airborne stinger that bugs
you. MSRP for the trap is about $13. and attractant refills run about 4. (www.whyistheanswer.com).
Out in front of homes, the standard old-fashioned, post-mounted, vulnerable mailbox can now be easily
upgraded to a high-security locking unit called the "Mail Boss." Most locking mailboxes appear
secure, but can be easily violated. This USPS-approved box features heavy-gauge steel construction and a
patent-pending anti-pry latch that prevents leveraged entry and provides unrivaled security and
protection against mail theft, identity theft and vandalism.
And it’s as attractive as it is secure with various durable powder-coated finishes. The super-secure Mail
Boss takes only minutes to install and offers peace of mind at an affordable price ranging from $110
(wall mount) to $169 (curbside). (www.mailboss.net).
Inside and out, painting is now easier and safer with the "Belt Bucket" line of make-sense
clip-on painting helpers. Invented by a clever painting contractor, the Belt Bucket has different
hip-mounted configurations that hold brushes, rollers and paints and free-up both hands for painting.
On ladders, it provides better safety and stability and reduces trips up and down for refills. At floor
and ground level, having a sufficient amount of paint on your side requires less bending down to
repeatedly reload brushes and rollers.
Slip-in liners make for easy clean-ups and snap-on covers offer an airtight seal. It is the perfect tool
for painting trim and soffits, cutting in ceilings or doing detail work such as faux painting.
Yes, there is a special multi-compartment "Belt Bucket" for faux painting too. The base kit
retails for $24.99 with accessories ranging