When Drew Kopf was about eighteen months old, his mother, Shirley, had been "airing out the bed clothes in one of their apartment's windows when she caught young Drew while he was "climbing around" on the bed linens, which probably made a very attractive "mountain" to climb but which could have easily ended in his falling out of the open window to his death.
The oft told story continued with Shirley, while holding her little "explorer" in her arms, calling her husband Harold on the phone at work and telling him what had just happened regarding their son. At that time in New York City, there was apparently no law requiring the installation of window guards to protect young children from falling out of apartment windows. Landlords and building managers discouraged the use of any devices that needed to be secured to windows by use of screws or other devices that would eventually deface or ruin the window frames. Shirley challenged her husband by saying, "Harold, you had better come up with a way to get window guards on our windows or something horrible is going to happen to our little Drew!"
Harold Kopf stopped everything and, after a considerable amount of trial and error, invented what he eventually named the "Gard-Rite Window Guard," which was a cold rolled steel assemblage of bars, brackets and bolts that customers could install by themselves in their apartment windows without having to mar the widow frames with the drilling of holes or by the use of screws or any other such mechanical devices. The pressure fit exerted by the bolts squeezing against the bracket brace units and secured by counter locking bolts held the Gard-Rite Window Guards in place permanently or until someone wanted to remove them.
Harold Kopf applied on April 19, 1948 for a United States patent for his safety window guard and was given US Patent Number US2459884 on January 25, 1949. In 1950, Harold Kopf's brilliant and life-saving invention was awarded the Lewis & Conger Annual Home Safety Award. He was in good company since other recipients that year who received a Lewis and Conger Safety Award included the rubber suction cup based safety bath mat by Rubbermaid and the safety pressure cooker by Presto. (See Links of interest below for New York Times article covering the award program).