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All the Joy Without the Germs


This week, Richmond resident Jake Apelt turns 12, and it’s a birthday he probably won’t forget. 

That’s because his dad spent the last year inventing a device that could change the way Americans celebrate.

The tradition of blowing out birthday candles can be traced back to ancient Greece, but Mark Apelt thinks it’s time for a change.

“How is this possible that this is still a thing – that we still blow all over a cake or even spit on a cake sometimes by accident and then serve it to all our friends and family?” he wonders.

To retain the joy without the germs, the retired science teacher from Richmond reached out through the Internet.

“You can find people all over the world to help design things," Apelt marvels. "We worked mostly with a guy in Michigan who was a retired engineer from one of the car companies.” 

What they came up with is a device that looks like a flutophone with a propeller that generates a breeze to extinguish candles.

“You blow into the opening," he explains. "Your breath activates a little pressure switch which activates a battery and a motor and makes the  fan spin, and then the air that you blow into it – rather than going out across the cake – is redirected back out towards you.”

It’s called a Blowzee, it costs $9.99., and thanks to extensive news coverage, Apelt has sold about five thousand of them.  He figures this could pay for Jake’s college education – and Jake will never forget the experience of product development.  For about six months, family members had all the cake they could eat.  

For more information:  https://www.theblowzee.com/

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago. Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association.