Back in 2004, NPR reported a story of an inventor, by the name of Steven Glass, who had spent the previous four years trying to get various circular saw manufacturers to put safety devices on their saws.
Steven Glass is the inventor of SawStop, which you can see here:
So, now… eight years later, the LA Times is reporting a law being considered in the CA legislature to mandate the use of these sorts of devices. FTA:
With little opposition, the measure sailed through the Assembly on a 64-4 vote, and it gets its first hearing in the Senate on Tuesday before the Judiciary Committee.
Gass holds about 90 patents that they contend could make it expensive if not impossible for rival manufacturers to match his technology because of the risk of patent-infringement lawsuits.
What’s more, adding finger-saving sensors could boost table-saw prices by hundreds of dollars per unit, says the Power Tool Institute, a Cleveland trade group.
I don’t know about the 90, but Glass holds at least the following patents:
p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>7,024,975 – Brake mechanism for power equipment
7,000,514 – Safety systems for band saws
6,997,090 – Safety systems for power equipment
6,994,004 – Table saw with improved safety system
6,957,601 – Translation stop for use in power equipment
6,945,149 – Actuators for use in fast-acting safety systems
6,945,148 – Miter saw with improved safety system
6,920,814 – Cutting tool safety system
6,880,440 – Miter saw with improved safety system
6,877,410 – Miter saw with improved safety system
6,857,345 – Brake positioning system
6,826,988 – Miter saw with improved safety system
6,813,983 – Power saw with improved safety system
Now, there’s about 40,000 reported visits to an emergency room per year in the U.S. to recover from table-saw inflicted injuries… which, given the relative frequency of table saw ownership, makes these devices considerably more (non-fatally) dangerous than either cars or firearms. It also puts a statistically significant bump in the medical insurance and medical care industries.
If you want a visually shocking display, click this. Not recommended for the squeamish.
My question for Black and Decker, Makita, and Skil is… are you going to be spending more fighting this law, than you would be to just buy access to the technology?
My question for Mr. Glass is, if you had to agree to give up your patents in order for this to become law in California, how much would you require by way of compensation for you to regard this as a fair exchange?
My question for the League: if you don’t own a table saw, would you consider this a necessary safety feature?