Reporter Bill Bregar gathered the following new product announcements from the International Housewares Show, held Jan. 14-17 in Chicago.
New Tucker products feature sweet smells
Tucker Housewares Division of Mobil Corp., based in Leominster, Mass., showed several new products:
Cedar Tops Storage System has a small cedar board that fits inside the top and absorbs moisture. Consumers can sand it down later to get a fresh scent. Tucker molds the boxes from polypropylene. The four sizes, and their suggested retail prices, are: $7.99 for a sweater box that holds four or five sweaters; $10.99 for an underbed box to hold four to six sweaters; $14.99 for a sweater trunk that holds eight to 10 sweaters; and $16.99 for a king-size comforter box.
FreshGuard Wastebasket for the kitchen, injection molded of PP, has a charcoal filter with a drying agent and proprietary odor-absorbing ingredient. It also holds the trash bag snugly and out of sight. FreshGuard will be available in 40-quart (retail price: $11.99-$12.99) and 50-quart ($13.99-$14.99) sizes.
A high density polyethylene SofTouch laundry basket features contoured, soft-grip handles. Tucker said the four handles are made from an elasto-meric material with a pro-prietary formula, but declined to be more specific. A contoured design makes it easy to carry. The suggested retail price is $7.99.
A three-sided PP laundry hamper is designed to fit in a corner. The two back sides have big vents. Suggested retail price: $12.99
Tucker also introduced new colors, including a vibrant cobalt blue, a deep bluish green, and an updated neutral clay hue.
Tel. (508) 537-1621.
Rubbermaid offers scented containers
Rubbermaid Inc. of Wooster, Ohio, showed new Fresh Tops Storage Boxes with fragrance compartments in the lids to hold cedar, potpourri, sachets or new Rubbermaid Scent Cushions.
The scented materials do not come into physical contact with clothing. The boxes are aimed at seasonal clothing storage. The boxes come in six sizes, the largest being 19 gallons. Retail prices are expected to be about $1.99 for the smallest box, for holding gloves, shoes, scarves and belts, to $14.99 for the biggest. Rubbermaid injection molds the PP boxes, which have a clear base and colored lid.
A blow molding innovation led to Rubbermaid's new 35-gallon wheeled refuse container, which boasts a molded-in, hollow handle the company says is much more heavy-duty than competitors' handles. Suggested retail price: $18.99.
Rubbermaid blow molds the green polyethylene container. It has a wide wheel base, making it easy to roll. Jim Dehner, group product manager, said demographics are driving a switch to wheeled trash containers.
In the laundry, Through-Handle Laundry Baskets and a matching hamper are molded from low density PE. They boast large, comfortable handles and strong rims.
Rubbermaid also introduced:
The 42-quart Anything Goes! Ice Chest, a second, smaller size in the line first introduced at the 1995 Housewares Show. Rubbermaid worked with its Little Tikes toy unit to design the cooler on wheels, which looks like a small wagon. The company blow molds the cooler from high density PE. Suggested retail price is $39.99.
For the bathroom, Rubbermaid expands into countertop bathroom accessories with Elegance-brand products that have the appearance of glossy ceramic. The line includes a toothbrush holder, a soap dish, and tissue and liquid soap dispensers. Rubbermaid declined to say what type of resin it is using.
In the bathroom, Rubbermaid offers the new Wicker-look Bathware line, with a molded-in wicker look.
In the kitchen, the company introduced the Countours Flip Top, a 25-quart, PP wastebasket with rounded styling that is contoured for use where a smaller wastebasket is required.
Rubbermaid expanded its line of Servin'Saver EZ Topps Food Container line with four canisters to hold dry food such as pasta. They feature PP snap-on, hinged tops. The company also showed new divided containers for holding leftovers. The products have clear PP bottoms.
Tel. (216) 264-6464.
Transco hits market for resin furniture
Cleveland-based molder Transco Housewares, a division of Laich Industries Corp., entered the resin furniture market with a small polypropylene stool/end table. Furniture displayed in Chicago was molded two days before the show began.
The injection molding company also showed new storage boxes, tubular hangers, a shoe-rack and pie cover. Transco molds the products from PP and polystyrene.
Tel. (216) 671-4900.
Arko-Mils unveils storage organizer
Akro-Mils Inc. of Akron, Ohio, a unit of Myers Industries Inc., showed an improved toolbox with a wide, rounded handle and large plastic latches, molded of polypropylene. The company also introduced the polystyrene Quick-Tilt storage organizer, with clear doors, aimed at the office and craft market.
Tel. (216) 253-5592.
Lasko expands with humidifier, toolbox
Lasko Metal Products Inc. of West Chester, Pa., has branched out into the portable humidifier and toolbox markets.
Lasko injection molds polypropylene parts for the products at its plant in Franklin, Tenn.
In toolboxes, Lasko showed its new Multi-Purpose Toolbox, which boasts a step stool and detachable holder to carry an extension cord. That product follows the 1994 introduction of Lasko's Power Toolbox, which has a step stool and a plug-in power outlet strip that allows the user to carry tools and have the power source at the toolbox.
The Natural Cascade Humidifier can produce mist from 2.5 gallons of water a day. The unit marks Lasko's entry into the portable humidifier market, said Eileen Heller, marketing coordinator.
Tel. (610) 692-7400.