Since placing second in Hiram College’s 2016 Ideabuild competition, Hiram senior Nathaniel Eaton and his invention, the Water Dodger, have come a long way. The Water Dodger has gone from a drawing in Eaton’s sketchbook to a product in production at Alliance Intco in Shenzhen, China.
Eaton hopes that his first production batch, of 5,000 Water Dodgers, will be finished by the end of October and for sale online and potentially at area toy stores.
While managing his growing business, Eaton remains a full-time student at Hiram. Thanks to supportive and helpful professors, he is able to connect his personal work with his classes. Eaton remarks that many staff members have helped him along the way. For example, dining hall employee Dawn Bene helped him create his first prototype. Hiram’s entrepreneurial program and Fireside Chats have also prepared and encouraged Eaton to keep persevering, he says.
Eaton is confident that the Water Dodger can make a global impact in taking the violence out of children’s play. The foam shield with its net pouch for storing water balloons gives a new meaning to an old summer game and offers families a positive but still thrilling alternative to gun-themed toys. “Can you stay dry?” Eaton challenges competitors. “Making a change in society starts with the foundation, the youth.”
Eaton has spoken in front of the politicians and community members of District 8 in Ohio, presented at CiCLEvia and will speak on air at Live on PurPose radio to promote his philosophy of taking violence out of play.