This excerpt was taken from an online forum where Tim O’Connell, the inventor of the JackMate™, answered questions and described why and how he developed the JackMate™.
First Developed for Rescue
I developed the JackMate™ to give us firefighters a manual “Jaws of Life” type of tool to use when our hydraulic tools failed, and to provide a manual, low cost tool for rescue to farms, off road, third world countries and other places where people need to be rescued and a $25,000 set of Jaws isn’t practical. What happened is that my small company was almost instantly overwhelmed by orders! We couldn’t make enough JackMate’s™ (the original “yellow” version). I was then contacted by Hi-Lift, who flew me out to their factory, gave me a nice tour of their facility, and made me an offer for the JackMate™ which I unfortunately could not accept. At the time there were rumors that Hi-Lift was for sale. Another company called Maasdam had just purchased the Canadian Jack-All jack and were making it (well, assembling it) in the US. They offered to buy Hi-lift (who declined the offer) and also licensed the rights to the JackMate™ patents from me. Maasdam went straight to China for their manufacturing, producing the “Gold” JackMate’s™ and making some design changes which I didn’t like. Maasdam also started having major problems which led to their filing bankruptcy.
This violated our licensing agreement, and I took back the rights to the JackMate™ patents. Our rescue business was booming, and I literally put the JackMate™ on a back shelf for a couple of years because we didn’t have time to redesign it. But the phone kept ringing and the emails kept pouring in begging for JackMates. Finally, I decided to do something about it.
Redesigned and Improved
I redesigned the JackMate™ from scratch. I wanted it to be made in our California factory of American steel. I wanted better gripping capability on the load plate with diamonds (I hate the Chinese “three bumps”). I designed a much better, more aggressive safety spur (the spike that sticks out from the corner and prevents the side plate from levering the base into a skid if the angle changes too much). I added a fence/wire puller for the ranchers and construction guys (which doubles as a bottle opener for the rest of us). Changed to a ball detent pin and a permanent lanyard to prevent lost pins and to replace the damned spring clip. In other words, a completely new tool.
“New Product of the Year” Award
Since many of the calls over the years had been from off-roaders, I decided to go to SEMA in Las Vegas (Wow! Incredible show!) and present the new JackMate™. I was stunned when SEMA honored us with the Off-Road and 4WD “New Product of the Year 2010” award! Our rescue tool for firefighters is now officially an off-road tool.
To Answer Your Questions:
JackMate™ is more than two times stronger than the jack itself. Therefore you can now use the jack without fear that the “top clamp” will snap off at a load less than the jack is capable of exerting. Different brands of jacks claim different load ratings (up to 8,000 lbs). JackMate™ allows all brands to clamp, crush, winch, and spread to the full rated load of the jack.
The JackMate’s spikes increase traction in slippery or soft ground (or on metal or wood in rescue situations).
Remote Area Self-Rescue
With fire fighter/rescuer numbers decreasing, it is a good idea for extreme off-roaders to be capable of what we are calling “Remote Area Self-Rescue.” If you get in trouble out there, a helicopter can reach you in minutes, but can’t carry rescue gear to get you out of your rig. Ground rescue units (with rescue gear) will take hours (days?) to get to you. A jack with JackMate™ can rip a car or truck apart, bend roll cages away from victims, pull steering wheels away, etc. Our customers continually come up with new uses for the JackMate™, if you would like to share your JackMate™ uses, please send us your story.
Stay safe out there.