The Silver Cloud was my first patent, with 17-claims applied for in 1979. This 14,000 pound machine was designed from concept to fabrication drawings in less than one month; the “old-fashion-way”. No desktop computer, no Solidworks, just a drawing board, parallel bar, mechanical pencil and an abundance of erasers. On my desk or in my hand was the Machinery’s Handbook, Fluid Flow handbook published in 1934 by the Crane Company, an old-school calculator, and a set of Thomas Register.
All structural, mechanical and hydronic calculations were done by hand.
By the end of the second month the proto-type was ready for test…it worked.
With a working proto-type and a low bank account I had no choice but to search for partners, ultimately venture capitalist.
We incorporated, built jigs and fixtures and produced more than $3,000,000.00 in sales within the first 18 months. Later in that second year oil prices more than doubled, loan interest rates quadrupled to around 20%, and Jimmy was wandering around the White house in a sweater. In this almost instantaneous depression the State of Georgia watched as 33% of their farmers went bankrupt…our customer base. My partner/investors encouraged me to sell part or all of my stock so that a merger with another company they owned could pass tax benefits. I sold all.
The sale of stock allowed me time to evaluate my career. Taking stock of my strongest experiences; Fluid flow, both gold course and agricultural irrigation, and God given design abilities I determined my best opportunities would remain in the fields of agricultural equipment design.
Over a period of several months I collected every ag census, environmental impact studies from the USDA, and numerous state agencies all leading to the following facts & opinions available in 1984:
Based on the above the simple summary is we must learn how to produce more food per acre. This led me to the commercial greenhouse industry as in a “controlled environment” production increases by more than 400%.