Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Kiwi's cracking good idea

NZ inventor's egg yolk separating device set to go on sale around the world.

A Kiwi inventor has solved one of life's little niggles and is set to cash in as his product is launched around the world.

From next month the Yolkr, an egg yolk separating device, will be sold internationally and is attracting considerable attention, featuring in the British newspaper the Daily Mail.

Aucklander Hamish Dobbie, 30, started tinkering with the invention last August after watching a friend struggle with a kitchen task.

"She was making an omelette and made a mess, really, separating egg yolks and whites but ending up with a whole lot of shell in the bowl," Mr Dobbie told the Herald.

"We were discussing it, and she said, 'If there was some way you could suck the yolk out'."

After an egg has been cracked into a bowl the Yolkr, which works like a pipette, sucks the yolk into a plastic nozzle when the rubber top is squeezed and released. The gadget holds the yolk until it is ready for use, when another squeeze of the top releases it in one piece.

Mr Dobbie cracked hundreds of eggs at The Clay Store workshop in Devonport fine-tuning prototypes, with the biggest challenge settling on a nozzle shape that would work, regardless of egg size.

"It was a huge amount of trial and error. We ended up eating a whole lot of omelettes and scrambled eggs ourselves."

The mechanical engineer knew the final version was a winner when his then 90-year-old grandfather perfectly separated a yolk on his first try.

"That was the ultimate test, I think, the final tick we needed. He's actually only got one eye as well, so fairly unstable. But it worked first-shot, which is good proof."

Once the Yolkr, which has a patent pending, was ready for sale Mr Dobbie started a campaign on fundraising website Kickstarter and reached his target in the first five days.

Distribution deals have been signed and the Yolkr will soon be sold in retail stores in the United States, Britain, Europe, Canada, Australia and, from next month, New Zealand.

The Yolkr

* Sucks yolk cleanly into attached case before being squeezed out in one piece.
* Billed as an end to sticky fingers and stray bits of egg shells.
* Yolks separated from whites in recipes including pavlova.

- NZ Herald

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