Because you deserve the freedom to enjoy the independence of managing your own finances.
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Meeting a Need
In December 1953 Betty Jo’s father died leaving her mother, Mildred, who was blind, to manage the farm. Mildred did not participate in the financial operation of the farm.
Fortunately, Betty Jo was married to Jack Keitzer, a businessman who realized the need for Mother Miller to be able to handle finances. However, because of her disability, it was essential to determine a safe method for her to accomplish the financial responsibilities without handling cash. The thought of having someone else write checks could prove to be an even greater risk than having cash on hand. A system had to be designed that would accommodate her disability and allow Mildred to write checks by herself.
By February of 1954, Jack had constructed a crude check-writing guide. It was made from 5/8" plywood, 7" wide and 10" long. The top portion was recessed. A 1/8" piece of plywood was placed at the top left side over the recessed area; this is where the check could be inserted. Holes were then burnt in the wood piece to correspond to the lines of the check leaving 1/8" for open space. The same was done on the right side to match. The holes were filled with solder and thin wire was integrated in the left holes and then on the wire to mark where she was to start writing. This left her some 6 inches of the board below so that he hand could rest comfortably while writing. Mother Miller wrapped the 15-ounce guide in a dishtowel and carried it everywhere. The strings would break quite often so a second guide was made to serve as a backup. Guitar strings were used first but one cold winter night the strings broke. Next wire fish line was used for lines and small fish weights to mark starting points instead of solder. She kept 2 bank accounts using the guide for over 35 years.
Jack was frequently asked to develop a check-writing guide for commercial use. However, his primary concerns were that he would be taking advantage of disabled people, but the guide must be able to stand on its own financially because he and Betty Jo could not afford to completely subsidize the project. It wasn't till the early 70's that a friend had an auto accident, which took his sight that Jack began to, rethink his position.
The friend told him he was being selfish as there were a lot soldiers going through the rehabilitation programs at VA Hospitals that needed his help. They were giving them cut out templates using old x-ray film which he said were discarded soon after leaving the VA because it was so awkward to use. In June 1975 the Keitzers consulted a patent attorney in Indiana that had been recommended. They also researched tool and die makers to make a plastic model of the guide that would last a lifetime. A hand-tooled model was made in Indiana and the patent was applied for using an attorney in Indianapolis. The patent was granted in February 1977.
Getting the molds made in Indiana was a fiasco as well as expensive so getting the finished product made in Indiana was aborted. In looking for a place in Florida also was a challenge. In 1978 Jack went to a plastic supply firm in Brandon to buy the sheets of plastic and tools to make the guide himself. The owner of the firm said they should try a molding plant in Clearwater where molds could be made of soft aluminum. This was the beginning of the modern check-writing guide. The softness of the aluminum mold limited the number of guides that could be produced. The Keitzers soon switched to a hard steel mold and devised a method to reduce the guide weight from 4 to 2 ounces. Material changes were also made to eliminate warping, do to adverse temperatures.
In 1993, Jack discovered that NASA developed a new plastic formula. Using this new formula Jack was able to have a new hinge developed, which is called a living hinge, replaced the 3M tapes that had been used to hinge the three parts previously.
In June 1993 the Keitzers started their pursuit for a patent on the new Multipurpose Guide. The patent was awarded in April 1994. The New Multipurpose Guide can be used by anyone with a writing difficulty to write, endorse and for Deposit only checks, as well as purchase any Travelers Checks and Cash them when making a purchase. With this guide they are able to gain and/or maintain their financial independence. Rehabilitation teachers have indicated to the Keitzers that when a person loses the ability to control their finances, their quality of life is directly affected.
The New Multipurpose Guide weighs 2 ounces is 6 1/4 inches wide by 3 1/8 inches long and approximately 1/4 inch think with a clasp that allows it to open for the bottom to serve as a rest for the hand and is also a stabilizer. It will fit in a man's shirt pocket or a ladies purse very easily. The guide is packaged with written and pictorial instructions plus a sample check and sample American Express Travelers Check.
Jack had always wanted the template to open allowing another option for inserting checks, but also to use for signing and dating documents, whether right or left handed. In 2006 they contracted with a mold maker to produce the new Model U. The company after 8 months was unable to fulfill the contract and quit, after being paid all but 10%. They then had to contract with another company to repair the mess, which took another 2 months. The Keitzers have always had the best quality product and were not about to change. Previous displays were never large enough for everything. Our new one does display the original guide, made in 1954 plus how to sign for credit card purchases, as in restaurants, or regular receipts
The Keitzers are proud and pleased to have had the opportunity, through these past 35 years, to help tens of thousands nationwide enhance their quality of life.
Jack, owner and United States Veteran, Army Infantry and Air Force
On May 14, 2012, after an 8 year battle with Alzheimer's, GOD called Betty Jo Home!
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|Keitzer Check Writing Guide
5324 Ingleside, Leesburg, FL 34748
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