General contractor reinvents dry mix preparation with mechanical verve

Sources: Steele House Industries, Novato, Calif.; CP staff

A Navy veteran with post-Desert Storm aircraft carrier tours in the Persian Gulf, Stephen Steele refined a mixer concept his great grandfather (background Polaroid poster) developed in the 1960s. The need for a better mechanical method of handling packaged concrete, realized in his post-service contracting days, spurred tweaks netting the Steele Mixer. Photo: Concrete Products

Continuing a show tradition where tradesmen spawn the best new mousetraps for batching, mixing, placing or finishing concrete, northern California general contractor Stephen Steele arrived at World of Concrete 2021 with a mechanical marvel bound to challenge conventional methods for preparing packaged concrete, mortar or grout. 

With wooden handles and a plastic vessel shaped like an elongated, upside down heart, the Steele Mixer offers a fast alternative to powered models or a wheelbarrow and shovel, the latter the bane of small contractors and do-it-yourself concrete practitioners. From a World of Concrete Producer Center booth, Stephen Steele demonstrated how the unit, bearing on an inverted V stand, can thoroughly mix a 40- to 90-lb. bag in less than a minute—free of the grating, “nails on a chalkboard” sound of shovel blade, wet gravel and wheelbarrow converging. 

The Steele Mixer is offered as a portable unit where the folding stand packs inside the vessel, or with side straps so the mixer can be transported as a back pack. Space-wise boxes make it ready to ship or stack in a dealer yard or home improvement retail environment. — Steele House, 415/845-3127;

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