It would be fair to say that Tony Branham’s company makes watching television a moving experience and lifts it out of the depths. No, he’s not bringing Shakespeare to the airwaves: he makes mechanisms that move flat screen televisions up, down, and sideways.
For years, there have been scissors lifts to elevate large cathode ray tube screens, but Lift It focuses solely on flat screen models. In doing so, they are able to offer a new dimension of motion far beyond just up and down.
They make lifts that rise up vertically from a cabinet, descend from the ceiling, traverse sideways from a wall, flip down and tilt to the correct viewing angle. There’s even one that slides out from a drawer, then tilts into viewing position. In short, you can make a screen appear from just about anywhere in almost any piece of furniture.
“These days, architects are being asked to put a TV in every room,” Tony pointed out. “Being able to make them hide until they are used is very popular. One advantage for woodworkers who design around and install these units is that they are the same no matter what the size, so once you’ve installed one size, you can do any of them. It is so simply designed that in factories, our lift can be installed and leveled in only five minutes, using only four screws to hold it in place.”
“All our models can be simultaneously remote control and hardwired, and every option is included with each unit. The unit will work with any universal TV remote control, so that one remote makes the TV appear as well as turning it on and changing channels. The Lift It is even smart enough to turn off the TV if you forget to do it. The TV is plugged into the lift controller, so that when it is closed, it automatically turns off.”
“The mechanisms are made of aluminum with a stainless steel drive shaft. The whole thing is non-corroding, so it can be used in damp environments. Some are being put in hot tubs and bathrooms.” In fact, that’s what started it all.
“Two years ago, one of our customers who makes spas and whirlpools wanted a product that could lift a TV up and down. Lifts existed, but the company did not like the control systems, and wanted something less expensive. That made us realize that there was market for a family of lifts that were cost-effective and consistently manufactured. We designed a family of lifts for flat screen TVs from 13 to 60 inches. No company existed that carried a line encompassing all the sizes for that range.”
The man behind Lift It has a long history in manufacturing. In addition to this company, he’s president of an electronics company started in 1994 called IESControls.com that designs and manufactures embedded control systems. In other words, they create products that contain a microprocessor or electronic brain. That brain shows up in the Lift It products as well. Even before that, Tony was involved in manufacturing; in fact, he’s been involved ever since he studied mechanical engineering at Central Washington State University.
Lift It calls Gig Harbor, Washington its home, and there the custom, OEM, and dealer products are manufactured. Twenty-two employees make about 700 lifts per month. A different branch of the company in China makes lifts for large furniture manufacturers, but the ones we woodworkers buy are American-made. Currently, you can find them at audio-video stores, such as Magnolia Hi-Fi, and even parts suppliers, but you can expect to see woodworking stores offering them soon as well.
For Tony and his crew, this company is all about filling a niche. “The voice of the customer,” Branham explained, “says they are looking for unique ways to utilize technology without compromising the elegance of their home.” And that, in a nutshell, is where Lift It fits in.