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TIA: Tennessee Inventors Association in Knoxville Tenn and Oak Ridge TN
Oak Ridge and Knoxville, TN  

January 2014 John Cleaves, inventor

Meeting Date: 
January 25, 2014

Our January 2014 speaker was John Cleaves, a retired engineer. He spoke about his patent pending invention Table Top Conveyor.

John's invention has many uses. He plans on focusing facilitating the movement of dishes in dinning tables.

John’s invention is an oval shaped, compact, and has a motorized conveyer that provides movement in either a clockwise or counter-clock wise direction. The continuous surface is provided by a re-circulating crescent chain capable of carrying top plates that allows it to be small enough to be used on normal size dining table or bench. The continuous surface allows articles of any shape to be moved on the conveyer. There are switches that allow motion control from several locations. The speed can also be modified and can be easily constructed as an aesthetically pleasing, stand alone, portable table top unit or integrated into the construction of a table or bench.

He provided marketing possibilities for the product.

  • Provide drawings, Bill of Materials, and Instructions as a craft
  • Provide a “kit” with components and instructions for assembly
  • Approach Furniture companies about making conveyor one of their custom table options
  • Furniture manufacturers (especially the configuration with conveyor integrated into table)
  • Restaurants – especially those with “family style” dining
  • Specialty item stores
  • Industry (moving parts or components)
  • Conveyor manufacturers
  • Material handling equipment

John provided the status and next steps for his invention and received advice from the TIA members. The device must be designed for mass production. A search for funding and buyers needs to be done. John is looking for a catchy name for his invention. Part of the presentation was also focused towards complete tables with the invention integrated. John received marketing, patent, construction, and improvement ideas from the TIA members.

If you would like to present your invention, you are welcome. Please ensure you have patent protection before presenting your product publicly. There are many benefits when you present your invention. It is practice to pitch your idea to angel investors, the members provide advice in all the phases of the development and usually there are ideas for other applications for your product.