Racor Throwback Thursday
From “Racor Media”, Volume B, No. 1, July 1988:
RACOR … What's in a name? or Everything you wanted to know about Racor (but didn't think to ask).
In the galaxy known as the Milky Way there is a solar system with a planet called Earth. On this planet is a country named the United States of America, and within this country is a Fortune 500 Company named Parker Hannifin Corporation, and within this Corporation is a division called Racor.(1)
Of all the questions ever pondered in the immenseness of our universe, probably none is more often asked than, "Where did Racor come from?" Well if you sit back and make yourself comfy, I'll do the best I can to provide the answer in a nutshell.
Back in circa 1968, legend has it there were these two inventors named Wendel Rogers and Shannon Copeland. They developed a cylindrical shaped gizmo that removed water from diesel fuel through gravity and centrifugal force. It also had a replaceable element that filtered out the small bits of debris. (This was the Forefather of today’s 1000FG!).(2)
It was called a Rogers Filtral (after it's inventor). It was a good unit and they sold a few, here and there.
Awhile later, this whipper-snapper of a businessman named Mark Richards entered the scene. Richards brought capital ($) and ideas (!!) to the men and offered them a deal, "let's start a real company with this gizmo" — but what to name it? Well, the three sat around one balmy winter evening sharing a bottle of libation when the idea hit 'em. The first letter of their last names! Hmm, Richards spoke up, "since I've got the capital and ideas how about Richards And Copeland Or Rogers?" The three —laughed, talked, toasted a drink, and in December 1969, Racor Industries, Inc. was born.
Sandwiched between K and L on 8th Street, the “plant” employed between 18 to 25 workers
Here, the Rogers Filtral filter lost its name in favor of the Racor Filtral, and eventually became the Racor 1000FA (1000 was just a big number, “F” meant filter, and “A” was the improvement letter). Richards lead the Sales Department and began setting up salesmen to work for him. Meanwhile, Copeland was busy on improvements (and designing a new filter), while Rogers handled the chores of manufacturing.
About 1971, Richards hired a fellow named Norbert Zogelman to handle the chores of salesmanship, thus giving himself more time to develop ideas on how to make Racor grow.
In the following year, Richards hired a draftsman named Robert Green to put on paper what was in his head. Bobby drew what was to become the 500FA, 800D-12 and 800D-20. New employees Art Rivas, Burl Barrett and Danny Kelley, set out to build these contraptions. (Those guys have been around a long time!)
With an expanded product now available, Racor later landed a $50,000 order through International Salesman, Peter Vadaz. The steady increase of sales, plus this momentous purchase, provided the confidence Richards needed to justify moving from the now overcrowded 8th Street “garage”.
In October of 1974 Racor moved into their new, specially-built facility on Barium Road (3) where the employment grew to 100. Prior to this move, Rogers left the company, and Copeland went on to start a business with his family that came to be known as Dahl Manufacturing. (Here they produced a previously rejected filter design.) To support Racor needs, Richards organized a plastic injection products and screw machine products branch through the efforts of engineer Roger Murphy.