Deviled eggs are a popular Thanksgiving starter but peeling hard-boiled eggs is a loathsome task.
Just ask grandmother Bonnie Tyler of Southport who got "frustrated" every time she peeled eggs for her favorite recipe.
The dreary task led Tyler and Sheila Torgan, also of Southport and both entrepreneurs, to invent a device that makes peeling eggs a cinch.
The idea came to Tyler in 2015 the day after making a batch of deviled eggs for a cocktail party in their neighborhood.
"Of course, the eggs would not peel, and I suddenly remembered why I stopped making deviled eggs," she said.
The next morning, Tyler went online to buy an egg peeler but found nothing she liked.
She did find an idea for something new, however.
"I watched a bunch of commercial egg-peeler videos and that gave me the idea for a hand-held device," she said.
Tyler was working as a web developer at the time. "My business partner (Torgan) knew how to put designs into a CAD program which would allow us to make a 3D image. Once we had the preliminary design, we needed to find a 3D printer that would allow us to print the design," said Tyler.
Working in the Makers Space at Westport Library, the women used a library's 3D printer to make their prototype, test it, reconfigure it, and print it again.
"This was all at very little expense and time. After about seven attempts, we finally hit on what became the final design. At that point, this was still not supposed to be a business. We were just looking for proof of concept, but when others tried it out, we became more and more convinced that we had to take this to the next level. This, of course, meant risking our retirement money."
The Negg®, which stands for naked egg, became commercially available in December of 2016 and is now sold online and in over 500 retail stores across the country. "To date, we have sold over 350,000 Neggs," Tyler said.
With the egg peeler, a little cold water and shake and the shell slides off.
"People rave about deviled eggs made using our products," Tyler said. "Eggs peeled using a Negg® look nearly perfect and our newly seasoning mixes taste great. We bring our seasoning mixes to various trade shows and at the last one, we went through four dozen deviled eggs in 15 minutes," Tyler recounted.
She said overall the response to the invention has been "amazing" with the "best comments from a husband and wife recently at one of the shows.
"She introduced herself as the queen of deviled eggs and her husband patiently nodded in agreement. They tasted our classic mix, and we held our breath. After a tense moment, the wife looked at us and said, 'This tastes just like mine.' You should have seen the relief on the husband’s face. 'I was afraid to say that first,' he joked. "
Click here to watch a video of Bonnie Tyler making her deviled eggs and the recipe.