Giant farm equipment tires got the wheels turning for Alberta farmer-turned-inventor

Thomas Edison once said inventors only need a good imagination and a pile of junk. Alberta farmer Darcy Goossen was inspired by a cumbersome forklift and a heap of giant tires.

Necessity was the mother of invention for Darcy Goossen

Darcy Goossen started working on his three-clawed contraption more than five years ago. (Tire Grabber)

To invent, as Thomas Edison once said, you just need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

For Alberta farmer Darcy Goossen, the wheels of creativity were inspired by a cumbersome forklift and a heap of tires.

Goossen has a family farm in Ferintosh, Alta., about 40 kilometres south of Camrose. But he has been spending an increasing amount of time away from his wheat and canola fields to promote his new invention: the TireGrabber.

He started designing the contraption after getting fed up with wrestling the huge tires required for his farmyard equipment.

'There must be a better way'

"I just didn't like the danger of handling these tires, just manhandling them around," Goossen said in an interview Thursday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "Sometimes I had help on the farm and sometimes I didn't. 

"My dad always said, 'Necessity is the mother of invention.'" And in this case, Goossen felt sure there had to be a better way.

Capable of handling more than 1,800 kilograms, the TireGrabber is a three-armed machine which can be affixed to any forklift. It latches onto tires like a claw, making it easier for them to be neatly stacked in storage.

Goossen said it's ideal for changing tires on high-clearance sprayers and other farm equipment that require oversized tires.

His fellow farmers seem to agree.

The device won top prize last month at Canada's Farm Progress Show in Regina, where it was voted best farmyard invention of the year.

Goossen said it took him more than five years to get the product design just right, but kept quiet about his work until all the necessary patents and safety ratings were in place.

The final version was completed last year. He built 25 of the machines to start and sold out in a matter of months.

Since then, Goossen has started hitting the trade show circuit, travelling across Canada and the United States to  promote his invention.

How does he feel about his new venture as an inventor?

"It's better even than I expected."