Franklin Reick, founder of Fluoramics, is an avid inventor. His first laboratory, located under the front porch of his parents’ house, consisted of two concrete blocks with a board stretched lengthwise across the top. He was five years old.
Franklin graduated from Syracuse University in 1952 with an engineering degree. He entered the corporate world but his inventor’s spirit and distaste for the 8 to 5 office bureaucracy led him to leave the security of corporate life and focus on his true passion for inventing.
Franklin then struck out on his own and now has nearly 40 patents and inventions ranging from medical diagnostic instruments to ski wax to children’s toys and industrial lubricants.
In the mid-1960s, Franklin set out to develop a thread sealant that could be used in gaseous and liquid oxygen applications without plugging tiny instrument holes. The resulting product, Formula-8, is a highly-effective paste thread sealer that requires no curing time and can be used in hard-to-reach areas due to its thixotropic base that sheets into PFTE strings under the shear force of tightening a pipe fitting. With the creation of Formula-8, Fluoramics was born in 1967.
At this time, Franklin and his wife had three young boys. All of the boys helped out with the business, but the middle child, Gregg, showed an interest in Fluoramics from an early age, and graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
While the boys were growing up and helping with the business, Franklin kept working on new ideas. Fluoramics’ PTFE lubrication technology products sold under the Tufoil name are now used globally in industrial and consumer applications. The result of more than eight years of development, Tufoil came about as a result of Franklin’s secondary passion — flying airplanes.
“One day, in the mid 70s, I was flying down the corridor in New York City,” Franklin said, “I saw the crud coming up from the canyons and I figured I’d have to do something about that — the automobile exhaust. That’s what started the Tufoil project.”
Tufoil and the Tufoil product lines are used as general lubricants for a variety of purposes and in conjunction with other lubricants in gear boxes and engines to reduce friction, wear, noise, and operating temperatures to preserve and extend the lifespan of machinery.
It was tested by multiple groups, including the Canadian and U.S. governments and was discovered by the National Bureau of Standards to be the slipperiest substance in existence with a metal-to-metal coefficient of friction of .029. It was recognized in 1996 as the world’s “most efficient lubricant” by the Guinness Book of World Records — a title it still holds today.
By now the boys are grown and gone but Gregg, General Manager of a $60 million electronics manufacturing company, still served as a business advisor to Franklin.
Franklin wasn’t done inventing, however. In 2011, he was driving his car to work one day and when he tried to brake, the pedal went all the way to floor. He was able to safely maneuver to side of the road and learned from the repair shop that his brake lines had rusted completely through. He vowed to do something about that and spent the next two years on rust chemistry. The result was HinderRUST, Franklin’s answer to corrosion. HinderRUST is a solvent-free lubricant and rust inhibitor. What sets HinderRUST apart from its competitors is its ability to perform both of its functions while not containing any solvents.
“In enclosed situations, you don’t want to be using solvents. You’ll blow yourself up,” Franklin said. “I made up my mind I wasn’t going to do that. I had a few goals in mind. First — it had to be the world’s best rust inhibitor. Two — it had to be a great lubricant. Third — it could contain no solvents.”
In 2015, Gregg joined forces with Fluoramics on the business side of the company, leaving Franklin to do what he does best — inventing.
As it look to the future, Fluoramics’ plans are centered around continuing to provide both great products and fabulous service. Franklin has ideas and products in various stages of creation and will to continue to focus on engineering products that solve problems.
Fluoramics recently opened a second manufacturing facility and a business development office in Minnesota in order better serve customers around the world. Most importantly, however, Fluoramics will continue listening to customers and testing new products and markets.