SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -- A Sparks man is responsible for creating what he says is the best device to pick up things without bending over. It's called the Grappler.
Left to Right: Jay Thiessens (Grappler Inc. Vice President), Bonnie Thiessens (Grappler Inc. President, and Ken Walton (assembles Grapplers)
Vice President of Grappler Inc. Jay Thiessens says China has tried and failed to match the quality of his product. He says his brand is made of a better quality metal and the overall construction is superior. He says his brand is the very best in the world and it's made in Sparks.
Making the Grappler starts inside Liberty Collision at 95 Glen Carran Circle in Sparks. A 15-ton punch press machine makes many of the 20 parts needed to make the Grappler.
"As fast as you can push the button, you can get that many parts a minute," said Jay.
The finished parts are transported more than three miles to the second floor of Old Liberty Collision at 2685 East 4th Street in Reno, where Ken Walton assembles the Grapplers.
Every movement of the Grappler's construction was analyzed to get the biggest results form the least amount of effort. What used to take five minutes to construct one is now just over two minutes.
Jay sold 14,000 Grapplers that measured 33 inches, which is the best seller. There are also 24-inch, 40-inch and 48-inch models, and a model built into a cane.
The Grappler was invented by a CalTrans worker who picked up a lot of trash from the side of different roads in the 1960s. His name is Jim Wilson. Jay bought the Grappler from him in 2000. Jay only sells the Grappler online.