1979, Joe leased a vacant Big Boy restaurant and
converted it to a swimming pool store.
In the competitive world of retail pools,
chemicals and spas, Aqua World stood out from the
rest with elaborate displays on a busy street
the time, hot tubs and spas were sold as do-it-yourself
spas in this manner was difficult so one winter he
decided to create a new design that was easy to
ordered the smallest fiberglass spa shell
available from his manufacturer along with the
The pump, heater, blower and filter components
were not a problem because he always had ample parts in the store.
His goal was to build a freestanding,
self-contained, 110-volt tub
with an enclosure that would hide the plumbing
pipes and operating system.
Plumbing the jets with
ridged PVC pipe was not easy however, using an
array of plumbing elbows, he completed the task. A
pool pump and cartridge filter were installed to keep the
question was, how to heat the water? A standard gas swimming pool heater was
not practical for interior use. To find a solution
he went to the local Detroit Edison office to check out electric
water heater elements. He purchased several
110-volt elements that would be small enough to
fit inside a one and one-half inch pipe.
his first try, he installed the heating element
directly inside the PVC pipe.
He thought it would work okay as long
as water was running through the pipe when the
heater was turned on. He was wrong as
the pipe quickly melted and ruined the element. He
tried again only this time the element was
installed inside a section of galvanized
steel pipe. This worked fine but it took
several days to heat the 180 gallons of water in
the tub. In another attempt, he used a small
secondary pump to circulate the water through
the heater. The pump and heater were connected
together on a single 110-volt switch. The water
was hot within a day.
evening as he decided to take a relaxing break in the warm
water, another problem came to mind. The electrical
power switches were hanging on the side of the
tub’s enclosure. Water and electricity don't
mix. The next day, with a few micro-switches, miniature homemade camshaft,
carburetor vacuum choke and a turkey baister, he
created the air-switching concept used today.
day, the owner of Joe’s hot tub supplier stopped by to see how the project was
going. Mark was amazed and asked if he could
contact other companies about the discovery.
Throughout the following summer, Joe assisted
three major hot tub manufacturers develop the portable
A game of Billiards anyone!