It took more than two years and a couple attorneys, but a Forsyth World War II veteran finally has a patent for a toilet water-saving device.
Jack Mitchell of north Forsyth worked for several years developing the product, called Mitch’s Green Flush.
He then spent another two-and-a-half years pursuing a U.S. patent for the product.
“I worked for a while with a patent attorney in Colorado and then I got a call from his wife that he had died and I would have to get another attorney,” Mitchell said.
After securing his second lawyer, Mitchell was able to finalize the patent process, receiving it in January.
Mitch’s Green Flush uses a weighted rubber flapper that replaces traditional devices inside toilet bowls.
“With this you can flush your toilet on just one gallon of water,” Mitchell said. “You don’t need a plumber or anything to install it. Even a kid can do this.”
While he just secured the patent, Mitchell has been selling the device out of his Shady Grove Road warehouse facility for several years.
The rubber stopper portion of the device, with its zinc weight inside, is manufactured by a friend of Mitchell’s in Florida, he said.
They are shipped to the Shady Grove Road location, where four employees then add the chain, which attaches to the toilet handle, and package the devices for sale or shipping.
They retail for about $15.
Over the years, Mitchell said he’s sold about 8,000, but he’s hoping to increase sales now that he has his patent.
“We’re not in any store yet, but I’ve sold them to people I know and through word of mouth,” he said. “I didn’t really want to push until I got the patent.”
He said his largest order came recently from a town in Indiana.
“I sold 5,000 to them,” he said. “I think they’re going to sell them to their [water department] customers.”
Mitchell has lived on his Shady Grove property since 1976, when he came to Forsyth County from Ohio.
After his Army service in World War II, Mitchell worked as a general contractor building commercial and residential facilities in and around Dayton, Ohio.
The toilet device is his first — and likely last — invention, he said, citing the lengthy and complicated process to get a patent.
He recalled being contacted by someone in the patent office, who asked how old he was.
“He said if I was over 65, I would get moved up on the list,” said Mitchell, 87. “I told him I was 85, so I should probably get moved all the way to the head of the list.
“I don’t think I could handle trying to get another one for anything.”