Tuesday 19 August 2014


Norm Larsen (1923-1970)
Norm Larsen, founder of the Rocket Chemical Company based in San Diego, was a chemist. A bloody good chemist. And like a lot of chemists he was always looking to find that elusive breakthrough. In 1953, at the fortieth time of trying, he hit upon a formula for a water degreasing agent/lubricant he thought may have applications in the aerospace industry.

As with a lot of boffins he never had a commercial brain. He sold the company not long after, complete with its only product, for a paltry $20,000 - no royalties, no residuals. He always reckoned on inventing something better; he never did. Larsen died in 1970.

The WD-40 company (they dropped the Rocket moniker 'because we don't sell rockets') now has an annual turnover in excess of $300 million.

These days WD-40 is one half of, along with duct tape, what is affectionately called the Redneck Tool Kit: if it isn't moving and it should: WD-40. And if it is moving and it shouldn't: duct tape.

1 comment:

  1. Every woman should carry both in her handbag....you just never know.