Brendan Schrader, friend to inventors

Brendan J. Schrader at Hive76, which he founded in 2009 as a studio for hackers and inventors.
Brendan J. Schrader at Hive76, which he founded in 2009 as a studio for hackers and inventors. (CLEM MURRAY / File Photograph)
Posted: August 06, 2014

Brendan J. Schrader, 33, of Philadelphia, who created an inventors' clubhouse for Digital Age do-it-yourselfers, died Wednesday, July 30, of a congenital heart defect at Roxborough Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Schrader founded his company, Hive76, in the summer of 2009. It was a "hacker space" - a studio where modern-day inventors and hobbyists could gather at Ninth and Spring Garden Streets.

"We . . . tear things apart and put them together in new ways," Mr. Schrader said on his website. "We enable our members to invent, build, collaborate, and share skills."

Inquirer reporter Tom Avril, writing in 2012, described the clubhouse as a place "where castoff 21st-century junk and random parts are fused together in a collaborative cauldron of ideas." Avril wrote that members - who paid a fee to join - would drop "by at any hour of the day, to turn what-ifs into why-nots."

Mr. Schrader told Avril that a key reason for having a communal space was to accommodate equipment that would not fit in a typical apartment - such as a band saw, which a Hive76 member found on a sidewalk. A secondary benefit was the endearing mess.

"I can make a huge mess and I don't have to worry about getting stains on the carpet," Mr. Schrader said.

Mr. Schrader's contributions generally centered on audio inventions. He told Avril he followed a simple rule: "If it's fun and stupid, I build it."

He also enjoyed teaching children how to build things out of bits and pieces, as a way of igniting the next generation of inventors.

Mr. Schrader was a staunch critic of what he saw as the wastefulness of modern society. He told Avril he had taken apart a donated, broken plasma TV and checked the voltages. He soon had it working as if it were new by replacing a capacitor - at a cost of 10 cents.

Born in Darby Borough and raised in Yeadon, Mr. Schrader was educated in public schools. He took courses at Delaware County Community College.

Surviving are his mother, Mary Julien Schrader; his partner of 11 years, Elana Wolff; an aunt; and two uncles.

A visitation from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, will be followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass in the Main Chapel at D'Anjolell Memorial Home, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall. Inurnment will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery.

Donations may be made to Hive76, 915 Spring Garden St., Suite 519, Philadelphia 19123.


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