Age brings appreciation of safety, concern for others says 101-year-old inventor

Age brings appreciation of safety, concern for others says 101-year-old inventor

Grab bars to help people of all ages stay safe in their homes, garages and shops is latest invention for Stafford County entrepreneur

Loyd Ratts says that in the last few years, leading up to his current age of 101, he's become a little, "well maybe a lot" more conscious of the need for safety when completing farm chores.

Related: Meet Loyd Ratts, a 'Century Farmer' who has lived every minute to the max

"One of the ways that a lot of people get hurt is trying to climb up on a ladder and cut back the dead or overgrown limbs on trees," he says. "Well, I invented a way to use ropes and hydraulics and stand up in the scoop of a tractor to go up and cut those limbs out. It's so much safer than trying to stand on a ladder."

GRAB BAR: Loyd Ratts' latest invention is a grrab bar with wall attachments that can be adjusted to mount securely into wall studs. He offers them in a variety of lengths with as many couplings as necessary for a sturdy, secure mount.

Along the same line, he has developed his "retirement business" of building safety bars that enable people to have a grab bar on stairs, at doors in showers or bathrooms or in the garage.

Related: At 101, Loyd Ratts of St. John embraces technology changes

Manufacturing the bars is his primary plan for "retirement" from farming next year as his son-in-law and grandson take over full operation of the farm.

He makes the bars from galvanized pipe that he cuts and threads to the lengths that match the job he is doing, He can slide as many couplers as necessary for secure support along the bar and make them adjustable, so that they can be mounted into wall studs. End caps on each end of the bar enable couplers to be added or removed and provide a rounded, non-hazardous end when the bar installation is complete.

Related: Stafford County farmer, mechanic going strong at 101

SAFE ENTRY: 101-year-old Loyd Ratts holds onto one of his grab bars, mounted outside the front door of a friend's home in St. John.

"I have these for stairs, for door entryways if you need a little help with that step up, for bathrooms and for garages or closets where you may be up on a ladder and need something to grab onto for balance as you pull boxes down from an overhead shelf," he said. "I think my bars are pretty darn well designed and I sell them for about $15. You can buy an inferior version at WalMart for $50, but I think I will have a market."

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