Burt Weinstein, 87, inventor of the Burt “retractable” binding, died August 9, of cancer.
Weinstein’s binding featured a releasable plate containing two spring-loaded capstans, each housing a steel cable. After a release, the cables could reel the ski back and reattach to the binding, automatically. The goal of the design was to reduce the risk of ankle injuries from falls. U.S. patents were awarded for the retractable binding in 1977 and for a step-in version in 1979.
A World War II veteran, Weinstein earned a degree in mechanical engineering. Beginning in 1956, he was granted more than a dozen patents for power tools and jigs for the woodworking business, and for home craftsmen. With his partner Richard Deaton, in 1989 he founded Simp’l Products to serve that market. They sold the company in 2006 to General Tools & Instruments. At the age of 86, he was still attending woodworking trade shows on behalf of General Tools, working on new inventions and preparing to register for yet another patent. An enthusiastic sailor, Weinstein also held a patent for a dolly to transport a small boat tipped up on its gunwale.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Carolyn; stepdaughters, Jacquelyn and Gwendolyn Wong; sons-in-law Serge Michaut and Neil Wertheimer; grandchildren Davis and Lucas Wertheimer; brother and sister-in-law Gerald and Alice Weinstein; and many loving nieces and nephews. —Seth Masia