In 1992, MagneRod® inventor Scott Mulder was selling Magne Seal doors, which were steel doors with magnetic weather stripping. The doors were high-quality, but there was a lack of window treatment options for them. He also needed to avoid drilling into the doors, as drilling done outside the factory would void their warranty, and he didn’t want his company to absorb the cost of doing that. He was tired of losing sales over this problem. He had to find a way for his customers to hang window treatments from his steel doors while still maintaining the integrity and warranty of the door. He created the MagneRod®, a magnetic curtain rod, as the answer to this problem.
Their first magnetic curtain rod was developed with parts purchased at hardware stores like Woolworth’s and a scientific outlet store called Edmunds Scientific. He also purchased green felt from JoAnne’s Fabrics to use as backing for the homemade magnetic mounts, thinking at the time that the felt added a ‘finished’ look. By gluing a café rod to a ring magnet and putting felt on the back, he had the first magnetic curtain rod of its kind. He had the first prototype finished in one year, with his first patent subsequently being granted in 1994.
Initially he made these handmade versions in his garage, and as they evolved, he listened to the suggestions of customers, friends, and family. The majority of the complaints he heard were about the fact that the rod slipped a bit, especially when the door was slammed closed. It was his father, John, who suggested that they needed something with more grip than the felt backing. While the felt looked great, it made the surface more slick, which lessened the hold of the magnets. He began using 1” x 2” block magnets that were positioned vertically, along with closed cell foam on the back of the mounts.There was one final, major design improvement needed to make it completely stable. That was accomplished by joining the bracket and finial end cap to make them one piece. It was no longer a rod clipped onto brackets–but instead, all one piece. The MagneRod® no longer slipped or dropped. That general look established the prototype for the industry for the next 20 years.