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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 26, 2007

Photo: Jake Wulf demonstrates his invention, The Privy Prop, to a visitor at the University of Iowa State Fair Booth in Des Moines in August

Odebolt student to share invention on Nov. 2 Ellen DeGeneres TV Show

Jake Wulf, 9, a fourth-grader at Odebolt-Arthur Elementary School in Odebolt, Iowa, will make his national television debut, thanks to an invention of his that makes life easier for people who forget to lower the toilet seat after going to the bathroom and the female family members with whom they live.

Wulf, son of Jason and Beth Wulf, has been chosen to share his University of Iowa Invent Iowa invention -- The Privy Prop -- on the Friday, Nov. 2 Ellen DeGeneres Show. The program airs in Iowa on the following channels and times: 9 a.m. on KGAN News Channel 2; 3 p.m. on WQAD Channel 8; 3 p.m. on WHO Channel 13 in Des Moines; 11 a.m. on KTVO in Ottumwa; and 4 p.m. on KTIV in Sioux City.

Wulf's invention, a pedal-operated device that lifts a toilet seat when a person puts his or her foot on it, was inspired by his mom's annoyance "because I was forgetting to put the toilet seat up or down."

"I got the idea when I went to my doctor's office and saw a trash can that had a pedal that put the lid up and down," Wulf said. The Privy Prop was born.

During the research phase, Wulf said he discovered that with other, similar products, people still had to touch the seat because the handles were still really close to the seat, making them less sanitary.

"With my Privy Prop, you don't have to put your hands on any germs," Wulf said. "It's easy to install, it's fun, it's fast and it keeps moms happy."

Wulf was one of 356 inventors and co-inventors of 272 inventions representing cities and towns across Iowa and eastern Illinois who demonstrated his invention at the 2007 Invent Iowa State Convention in Ames in April. He was also one of 11 inventors whose invention was chosen to be shared at the UI exhibit area at the 2007 Iowa State Fair in August.

The Invention Convention, sponsored by the UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and the UI and Iowa State University Colleges of Engineering, alternates between the UI and ISU campuses each year. This is the 20th year the event has been organized.

Founded in 1872, the University of Iowa College of Education was the nation's first permanent college-level department of education. Since then, the college has gained an international reputation of excellence in programs as diverse as Rehabilitation Counseling, Testing and Measurement, Counseling Psychology, Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education and Higher Education Administration. The College of Education is also home to the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

More information on the Belin-Blank Center and the Invent Iowa program may be found at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Clar Baldus, Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6189,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,

EDITORS NOTE: To arrange an interview with Jason Wulf and to get video footage or photos of him with The Privy Prop, call 712-668-2409.