Think Big!


Here are some resources to help you in the inventing process:

  • : the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site, where you can conduct a patent search
  • : an inventor's resources Web site that lists other helpful sites, including prototype sources
  • The Catalog of Catalogs V: The Complete Mail-Order Directory (Woodbine House, $24.95, 800-843-7323)
  • Dream Merchant: bimonthly magazine for inventors and small-business owners. For a subscription ($15.95 per year), write to 2309 Torrance Blvd., #104, Torrance, CA 90501 or call (310) 328-1925.
  • Gale's Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media and Encyclopedia of Associations (Gale Research Corp., 800-877-GALE): directories that list industry trade magazines and industry trade associations, respectively. Both are available at larger libraries and are good resources for learning about an industry and finding people to help you.
  • Job Shop Technology: This quarterly publication lists trade shows where contract manufacturers exhibit; it also includes helpful articles and sources for specific products. For a subscription ($20 per year), write to Edwards Publishing Co., 16 Waterbury Rd., Prospect, CT 06712 or call (203)?58-4474.

Inventor's Digest: This bimonthly magazine features low-cost sources of patents, prototypes and other services for inventors. For a subscription ($22 per year), write to 310 Franklin St., #24, Boston, MA 02110 or call (800) 838-8808.

  • Manufacturers' Agents National Association: This association of manufacturers' representatives publishes both a Directory of Manufacturers' Sales Agencies (available in many libraries) and a monthly magazine, Agency Sales (subscriptions are $49 per year), with advertisements from sales representatives looking for new product lines. Write to P.O. Box 3467, Laguna Hills, CA 92654 or call (949)?59-4040.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): Funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA), these centers are located in every state and can help you find prototype shops, contract manufacturers and state technology assistance programs. Find an SBDC by calling the SBA phone number listed in the government pages of your phone book.
  • United Inventors Association of the USA: For $10, this group provides a list of inventors' organizations nationwide and other helpful resources. Write to P.O. Box 23447, Rochester, NY 14692 or call (716) 359-9310.

Contact Sources

Heads & Tails, (760) 732-1222

Idea Factory Inc., W140 N5080 Lilly Rd., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051, (800) 867-4673, (414) 790-1087

W. Murphy Enterprises Inc., (416) 467-5348, fax: (416) 425-1665

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Big!.

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