Remember This? The Nik-O-Lok

Dorri Partain
Northeast News

Men, have you ever wondered where ladies set all their belongings when they head to the Powder Room?

If they’re lucky, they will find a Nik-O-Lok utility pull down shelf to place their purses, gloves, hats and more. This spring-loaded shelf, at 15 inches long and 5 inches wide, will hold up to 150 pounds. Placed conveniently behind the restroom stall door, the user can pull it down and set their items down without worrying about the items becoming dirty or being left behind, as the items need to lifted before the shelf will lift to open the door.

Crafted from Zamac, a zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloy, this sturdy metal is the same that toy cars such as Hot Wheels are cast from. The design has changed little since Nik-O-Lok first introduced the item to its line in 1949. William J. Dobkin invented the shelf and applied for the patent in 1944. He also invented the wall-mounted liquid soap dispenser in 1946, albeit for a different company.

The company’s main product is the toilet door lock, named Nik-O-Lok as it cost a nickel to unlock the toilet door in public facilities. Founded in 1910 by Charles Van Cleave, the company has always been headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and family-owned and operated. In addition to toilet locks, which now cost a quarter to operate, the company manufactures toilet door hinges, latches, and the the utility shelf. All products are still “Made in USA.”

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