USF Student's Invention
Tune in to the Discovery Channel on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. to see Calvin Sutton’s invention featured on the show “Pitchmen.”
TAMPA, Fla. (Feb 18, 2011) – Have you ever come up with an invention but didn’t make it happen because you didn’t know where to start? Then the next thing you know, you see your invention featured on television, but the patent is not yours.
University of South Florida student Calvin Sutton didn’t want that to happen to him.
His invention is a simple device, built for ease and affordability, which allows you to work out your chest, triceps, biceps and abs. It was accepted to be featured on the Discovery Channel’s show “Pitchmen,” hosted by Anthony “Sully” Sullivan and formerly co-hosted by Billy Mays, who died in 2009.
Sutton’s episode will air Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.
“I was trying to figure out a way to work upper body at home, other than just push-ups because not everyone can afford the big chest machines,” Sutton said. “I always struggled with coming up with a way to work your chest at home in a convenient manner for a reasonable price.
“A lot of people don’t have the money for gym memberships so they need to buy some type of equipment to work out with that won’t cost an arm and a leg.”
Sullivan scours the country, holding "Pitch-a-Thons" to give people’s inventions a shot at catching his eye but in Sutton’s case, he submitted it to the show himself.
To invent a product, Sutton said, you have to start by asking yourself a few questions.
“Has it already been done? Why didn’t someone else already do it?” Sutton said. “It’s very difficult to come up with something no one else has ever done? And when you do find it, can you manufacture it at a price that is affordable?”
After he envisioned Chest Magic, he spent hours scouring the Internet for a company that could build his prototype. From there, he was ready present it to Pitchmen.
Sutton hid his invention from his wife and four kids until he had the working prototype so that he didn’t have to hear “I told you so” if it didn’t work out. Now they think his invention is ingenious, Sutton said.
“With some people, you have to wait until it’s there to show them,” Sutton said. “If I told you I’m going to invent something and show it to the top infomercial companies and sell it you might tell me to stop dreaming and get a real job so I didn’t really tell my friends or family.”
Sutton spent 20 years thinking up an invention. Meanwhile, he got an associate’s degree in health science from Sante Fe community college in Gainesville, Fla., worked for the Home Shopping Channel with Billy May, owned and operated FedEx routes, did storm clean-up in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and worked as a personal trainer for more than 10 years with athletes like NFL players Errict Rhett and Damien Robinson and MLB baseball player Gary Sheffield.
But how did he come up with Chest Magic?
“I feel like I was inspired by God,” Sutton said. “I can’t explain it.”
Sutton said he drew up paperwork a few years ago for a small, flexible ball to exercise with. In 2009, he saw that the Bender Ball had been patented and he missed his chance.
“When you come up with something, you have to act on it or someone else will,” Sutton said.
After years of real-world experience, a marriage and four kids, Sutton is back at school pursuing a degree in economics.
“In the position that I’m in now, the unique position where I have the opportunity to be very successful in my endeavor with the products, I thought this would be a good idea to get a degree so that when opportunities arose financially, I could make good decisions for myself and my family,” Sutton said. “And if you’re not working towards something, you’re out there spending money and education is very important.”
Despite Sutton’s confidence, he can’t confirm or deny that Chest Magic got a deal with a company to market it because that would spoil the outcome of the show. Viewers will just have to tune in Feb. 22 to see for themselves.
“I knew I’d get a deal doing something because [the Chest Master] is very innovative,” Sutton said. “I’m my hardest critic and knew I’d buy it but didn’t know it would be on a TV show for millions to look at. I’m kind of scared to see myself on TV.”
Daylina Miller covers student activities and trends. She can be reached at 813-500-8754.