A gentleman by name of Henri Tesner started it all!
Entrepreneur, inventor, developer of business ideas, problem solver, implementation specialist – all these titles and many other accolades have been bestowed upon the man over the years – and he has earned each and every single one of them.
The idea of somehow extracting or removing bad odours from washroom cubicles has long been a major issue to Mr. Tesner. Eventually, after many moons of trying and testing, voila! The product that came to life ended up being one of the best inventions yet to hit the world! It revolutionized the way in which washroom hygiene was to be managed.
The subject matter is not a very pleasant point of discussion at any particular time. But, every one of us has experienced the embarrassment of leaving a not-so-pleasant-an-odour for the next person wanting to use the toilet, or the discomfort of actually being that next person! As much as we may wish or try to mask the odour with air-fresheners and installing extractor fans to hopefully get rid of the smell quickly, the problem remains being an embarrassing and often very unpleasant experience.
From the start, Mr. Tesner knew that his invention had to be more than just “of some help” – it had to be the complete solution for application to toilets and urinals.
During one particular visit to Mr. Tesner’s game farm at Ellisras, in South Africa, four foreign hunter-visitors had to sleep over in one of the newly built chalet facilities, before moving on the next day. Early the next day, each one had the need to make a pit-stop to the toilet, but with disastrous results! There and then Henri’s usually-ready-for-action inventive genes jumped into gear, and the first-ever toilet odour remover was born.
This single-minded determination to solve the problem and keep improving the product, eventually became the cornerstone of the company’s philosophy.
It was Mrs. Tesner’s hairdryer motor that served as the proto-type’s extractor fan, and when a local supermarket’s entire stock-holding of hairdryers was purchased in one single day, everybody realized one thing.., Henri Tesner was serious about solving a world-wide problem!
The first experiment was a flattened pipe inserted under the toilet seat, and connected to the small extractor fan, but it wasn’t good enough for Mr. Tesner.
He built moulds to house the motors, scoured electronics retailers and wholesalers for the “perfect” switches and transformers, making one demonstration model after the other, and even set up a display stand in the showroom of his lawnmower business. Initial public response was one of scoffing the “noisy contraption”. This soon changed as the proto type improved in performance and looks.
With Henri spending more time in the toilet than with the family, not only were prospects looking up, but also, with the vast, increasingly overall improvements in the product, as well as a demand there for, he could in all seriousness start the hunt for partners to help finance a now-growing enterprise. It didn’t take long for two partners, Messrs. Ferdie Niehaus and Fanus Heyns, to realize the potential for hitting the proverbial jackpot with the product, and the three gentlemen set up a small production line.
Radio and television talk-show participation developed into a full-blown advertising campaign, and before anyone could say “Jack Robinson”, Henri sold his lawnmower business, Fanus sold his Cape Town business and both devoted themselves on a fulltime basis to the project, which by now was known as “Toilet Friend”.
Turnover went up, dealerships were being established, network marketing activities grew, and today, not many years later, the company has become a multi-million operation with Master License Holders in a number of foreign countries. Seven countries on the African continent, several in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, United States of America, Canada, – all have a number of license holders and dealership operations going all guns ablaze. And, there is still space for more in these countries, as well as the rest of the world!
In South Africa alone, the company now has close on one hundred dealerships, while the need for at least another two hundred exists.
The product is patented and carries all the required certifications to allow for trade to take place anywhere on the globe.
The history of Toilet Friend International truly is a story worth telling.
Incidentally, every time you enter that cubicle and the smell ain’t so good, tell them about Toilet Friend International (Pty) Ltd – you could even earn yourself some cash in doing so!
The Toilet Odour Removal System has been patented (Patent No. 1998/2749) and is registered with the South Africa Department of Trade and Industry in accordance with the Patents Act of 1978
The DC transformers have been assessed and found by Global Conformity Services (Pty) Ltd to satisfy the requirements of the SABS ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems and are permitted to carry the Certification Mark.
The Toilet Odour Removal System was tested by Test Africa and found to conform to the EC Declaration of Conformity – Council Directive 73/23/EEC. The product was also assessed by the IEC 60065:2001 and SANS 60065:2003 standards and specifications.
The Toilet Friend Type TF129AU power supply was tested by International Testing and Certification Services (Pty) Ltd (Test Report No. 3935/2 – 30 April 2007) and found to comply with AS/NZS 60065:2003.
The Toilet Friend Odour Removal System consists of a transformer (10V or 7.8V DC), an infra-red LED sensor (optional), a non-return valve, a 12V DC Motor (brush or induction) & Extractor Fan as well as various lengths of PVC pipes and fittings and a length of two-core electrical cord.
The transformer is plugged into the nearest power source. From here the electrical cord is run to the LED infra-red sensor which is positioned in an unobtrusive spot near the cistern. The electrical cord is then threaded along the inside of the PVC exhaust pipe to the 10V DC Motor which is installed inside the cistern. The Motor is positioned safely above the water line and out of the way of the ball valve. If this is not possible, an alternative float mechanism can be installed. The cistern lid is sealed with silicone and petroleum jelly to create a partial vacuum above the water line. When the Toilet Odour Removal System is activated, the 10V DC Motor drives the Extractor Fan causing air to be drawn from the toilet bowl via the flush-water ducts and overflow snorkel into the cistern. From here the air is expelled, either via the waste water pipe into the sewerage system or through the wall into the atmosphere, depending on the client’s preference. The brush motor-LED infra-red sensor combination isgenerally installed where the client wants the system to run on demand. Where the system is to run permanently we recommend the induction motor be installed.The Toilet Odour Removal System can be fitted to almost any existing toilet or urinal in under an hour and will last up 80 000 hours – depending on operating circumstances! It completely does away with the need for CFC-propelled air fresheners and odour-masking sprays, making it an environmentally-friendly solution to an age old problem.
The Company has recently made two exciting improvements to the Odour Removal System: We have withdrawn the old brush motors from production as the the quality of the imported motors no longer measure up to the exacting quality standards set by our quality control protocol. Toilet Friend now only uses INDUCTION motors by German manufacturers, Ebmpapst. These motors are used extensively in the motor vehicle industry and have proved their reliability over decades.We have connected the top of the overflow snorkel and the extractor fan in such a way that excess water can still drain into the bowl, but moist air is prevented from reaching the motor. This should prolong the life of the motor considerably.