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Radiator Specialty Company Background

In 1924, I.D. Blumenthal, a salesman from Savannah, Georgia, was traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina on business when he discovered a leak in his car’s radiator. Blumenthal brought his car to a local tinsmith for repair which, at that time, typically involved the complete removal of the radiator – a task that was both time-consuming and expensive. Instead, this innovative tinsmith poured “magic powder” into the radiator and the leak was fully repaired. Being a savvy businessman and entrepreneur, Blumenthal proposed a partnership with the tinsmith and Radiator Specialty Company was born, with Solder Seal® as the company’s first product.

From its start in 1924 as a one-product company focused on the emerging automotive aftermarket, Radiator Specialty Company has grown into a modern, diversified manufacturer of a full line of specialty automotive products. Today, Radiator Specialty Company manufactures over 300 automotive products under many well-known and well-respected names, including Solder Seal, Gunk®, Liquid Wrench®, Engine Brite® and Puncture Seal™. Company-wide, Radiator Specialty Company produces over 6,000 products for automotive, heavy duty, plumbing, hardware and export markets. Throughout the company’s 85 years, its manufacturing facilities and product lines have continued to expand and prosper through sales, acquisitions and product innovations.

In 1938, Blumenthal’s brother, Herman, joined the company, officially making it a family-run business, which it remains today. After I.D.’s death in 1978, Herman was appointed chairman of the board. Following his father’s footsteps, Herman’s son, Alan, assumed the role after Herman passed away in 2001 at the age of 86.

1930s – 1940s
Despite The Depression and WWII, the 1930s and 1940s were time of explosive growth for Radiator Specialty Company:

1931: The Radiator Specialty Company of Canada was chartered
1933: Golden State Rubber Mills in Los Angeles, California was purchased
1937: Charlotte rubber products plant was added and Titeseal Sealing Compounds were born
1941: Liquid Wrench products became part of the line

During World War II, rubber products were produced in the California plants and used in America's aircraft assembly. In 1949, the rubber production was moved to Charlotte where Safe-T-Cone® products were developed and produced as well as more chemical and plumbing/hardware products. In 1958, the Douglas Tools line of augers, hole saws, hammers, levels, and measuring devices, was added. Gunk Laboratories was acquired in 1959, resulting in the addition of an entire line of GUNK degreasers -- including Engine Brite -- and cleaning products. The SolderSeal-Gunk logo was formed at that time.

Growth and Acquisition
Ever expanding, Radiator Specialty Company had outgrown its offices in the 1960s, leading to the 1964 construction of a new facility in Charlotte. In 1972, the automotive chemical production line outgrew the Charlotte facility and a 60,000 plus square foot aerosol production plant was added in Indian Trail, North Carolina, where the company resides today.

In 1985, the company secured a patent on plastic drums used especially in road construction, which opened up opportunities with the United States Department of Transportation. Both standard and custom reflective signs were produced, including Interstate highway signs as well as the traditional “No Parking” sign which travelers pass on a daily basis.

In 1988, the Truck and Heavy Duty Division of Radiator Specialty Company was officially established, even though most of the company’s products have been used in these applications since the early 1920s. In 1995, Highway Safety Products in Napa, California was acquired to make traffic cones on the West Coast. Like all of Radiator Specialty Company’s products, new products for theses divisions continue being developed, produced and carefully tested.

In 1999, Omega Products, producers of appliance hoses, located in Bremen, Indiana became part of Radiator Specialty Company. Omega is the major supplier of hoses to the home appliance manufacturing industry.

Expanded Industries and Innovations
Radiator Specialty continues to thrive and serve the automotive aftermarket, plumbing, hardware and appliance industries with quality products that make things work better. Even when the company’s line of products contained only ten different cooling system items, including both liquid and powder Radiator Repairs and Block Seals, there seemed to be room for progress and innovation, which then led the company to create the do-it-yourself market.

Radiator Specialty Company has steered itself into many directions, becoming increasing successful during the process. Throughout the years, the company added plumbing products such as hose sets for automatic washer and automatic dishwasher hot and cold water feeds, drain hoses and various accessories for theses appliances. These inventions allowed the company to expand its brand into the lawn and garden center markets and retailer outdoor departments.

Combined Family and Industry Expertise
In 2009, Radiator Specialty Company celebrates its 85 anniversary, with the Blumenthal family, senior management and employees continuing the legacy of its founder, I.D. Blumenthal. John Huber serves as President and CEO, with Michael Guggenheimer as VP of Sales & Marketing, Dr. Larry Beaver as VP of Technology, Tom Hynes as Category Manager and Abby Byland as Marketing Communications Manager.

The core mission both past and present continues to be providing dependable products that make things work better. This credo allows Radiator Specialty Company to expand into various markets and test the waters which, to date, has constantly been creative and promising, and winning customer loyalty along the way.

What started as an innovative manufacturer of radiator repair, Radiator Specialty Company today manufacturers over 5,000 products for the automotive, truck, plumbing, hardware, grocery, home center, industrial and traffic safety industries.

For More Information

Ashley Reilly


Meredith D'Agostino



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©2017 Radiator Specialty Company.

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