Inventor set to be first to get ‘fast-track’ patent for curve handle hairdryer to stop RSI

Inventor Tony Waithe pictured with model Lorna Rhodes. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Inventor Tony Waithe pictured with model Lorna Rhodes. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

An inventor aims to become the first person to get a new “fast- track” patent for his innovative hairdryer which has won backing from the Queen and the Marquess of Salisbury.

Fashion show hairdresser Tony Waithe, of Gascony Avenue, West Hampstead, is a self-proclaimed “serial inventor” with a teeming portfolio of ideas.

But it is his latest creation – a hairdryer with a curved handle – that has kicked up a storm before it has even gone to market, winning the approval of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, the Marquess of Salisbury, salon industry leader Alan Austin-Smith – and even the Queen.

The curved handle of the hairdryer, part of his planned range of OTT Hair Tools, means users can dry the backs of their heads without twisting their arm, and allows professional hairdressers to dry clients’ hair without straining their wrists.

Mr Waithe said: “My mother and sisters are all hairdressers and they were complaining about aches and pains in their necks, backs and wrists.

“When I went to college the girls there said I would get used to the pains but I didn’t want to get used to it, I wanted to change it.”

Repetitive strain injury is apparently a common problem among professional hairdressers.

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Mr Waithe said the curved handle lets people dry hair in ease and without pain.

He is poised to be the first inventor to get a patent in 90 days following changes to the process brought in earlier this year to fast-track the patent system in order to boost economic recovery.

The inventor has known Lord Cecil, an influential advisor, for 20 years after serving him at parties as a Royal Air Force cadet in his teens. Mr Waithe helped bring about the changes to patent law after suggesting the fast-track idea to Lord Cecil.

He said: “The change is not just great for me but also for the thousands of inventors across the UK to get products on the shelves to reduce the deficit.”

Last month, Mr Waithe wrote to the Queen about his idea and received a reply from Buckingham Palace. It stated that “careful note” had been taken of his comments.

Mr Waithe – due to get his patent on September 19 – added: “Having the Queen’s letter on the patent application shows the world that Britain is producing good quality products.”

He hopes to get the Queen’s royal seal of approval on his range of hairdryers.

In October, Mr Waithe will attempt a world record for drying the largest number of peoples’ hair in one day, all using his hairdryers, at the Salon International 2013 show at Excel, Newham.