Garlock Sealing Technologies, based out of Palmyra, New York, was a major producer of asbestos-containing products until they were outlawed by the U.S. government in the mid-1970s. Today, the company has diversified and creates products that are similar but do not contain any asbestos. Founded by Olin J. Garlock, the business thrived after inception in 1887. During the early part of the 1900s, America’s demand for building and construction products was increasing exponentially. Companies like this helped to meet the needs of the populace and made large profits while doing so.
Many of Garlock’s products were intended to withstand a great deal of heat and pressure, and before its dangers were widely known, asbestos seemed the perfect material to strengthen and insulate these products. Some of the asbestos-containing items that Garlock was known to produce were asbestos cloth, gaskets, packing, ring packing, rope packing, sheet gaskets, sheet packing, and valve packing. Because Garlock made such a variety of products, they were distributed across diverse industries such as chemical processing, electronics, food and pharmaceutical industries, manufacturing, mining, petrochemicals, power generation, pulp and paper production, refining, and the steel industry.
The production process was particularly dangerous in regard to handling asbestos because toxic dust can easily be released into the air. Without knowing of the potential health hazards, employees often inhaled these fibers on a daily basis. Sadly, some of these employees have or will develop asbestos-related diseases such as pleural plaques, asbestosis, or mesothelioma. The prolonged period it takes for symptoms to develop is dangerous itself because many employees have long forgotten that they ever touched the substance. Symptoms at first can be confused for other less dangerous afflictions, which prolongs the time it takes for diagnosis.
Garlock still fabricates many sealing products such as oil seals, bearing seals, valve and pump packing, and molded rubber under the brand names of Klozure oil seals, Gylon gaskets, Cefil’Air pneumatic seals, and Helicoflex metal seals. Its fluid seals can be used in a variety of industries. The company currently employs 1,887 workers at 15 facilities in eight countries.