The Cole-Bar Hammer makes the Swiss Army knife look like a can opener. The seven-in-one tool combines a claw hammer with a full crowbar, ruler, measuring square, ½-in. socket wrench, demolition device and nail pliers. To finance production, inventor Lance Hyde and his son, Barton, launched a $100,000 Kickstarter crowd-source funding campaign during the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas on May 7-9.
The duo raised $65,000 in two weeks, and a production run is planned for the fall. The 43-oz., nickel-plated Cole-Bar is named after another son, Cole, who died in 1998 at age 12. Cole and Lance were building a pole barn near Akron, Ind., when the pair struck upon the idea of combining a crowbar and hammer to save ladder trips.
Ten years and four prototypes later, the Cole-Bar is making its prime-time debut. The tool measures 14½ in. folded as a hammer or 27¾ in. when extended into a crowbar. The device can be opened to 180º for T-square measurements, clicking into place in 15º increments with a patented ratchet-locking system. The hard rubber-grip hammer can be easily split into two pieces for use as a finishing tool and socket wrench.
The Kickstarter money will be used for lab load testing, marketing and final preproduction models. "A lot of people wanted to invest in the Cole-Bar, but we wanted to do it independently to give us more credibility," says Barton, the project team leader. "It also enables us to negotiate better licensing terms."
With a retail price of $60, the Cole-Bar is being marketed to 25- to 55-year-old do-it-yourself males.