A tour of the WD-40 headquarters

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

You have all seen the distinctive blue spray cans with a red cap and a bold WD-40 emblazoned on a bright yellow patch on one side. WD-40 it is and the cans can be found in nearly every home garage, professional mechanic’s shop, automobile or airplane, and for sure in nearly every farmer’s work pickup. So what in the world is the stuff used by everyone with need to tinker on machinery world around?

​Your intrepid columnist and Grannie Annie just happened to be visiting our son and family in beautiful southern California this past week. Don said “Dad come along with me” as he hosted for his company a Christmas party for one of his favorite clients, the WD-40 Corp. As a prelude to the noon luncheon we were given a tour of WD-40’s brand new corporate headquarters building. Nestled among palm trees and green landscaping near San Diego (Yes the temperature is in the 70s typically this time of year — nice) the headquarters is modern in every way. Open and well-lighted offices and workspaces the place is decorated in the ambience of a mechanic’s garage, open beams in the high ceilings and barn wood on the walls. Yet, bowing to modern function it is equipped with every bit of IT known to man which after all is the business that my son is in IT being business “Information Technology.”

Current technical information, accounting and personnel management is critical to the health of a company that does business in 176 countries around the world.

​What in the world then is that magical stuff so proudly labeled WD-40? It traces its lineage back to the beginnings of the space program. Engineers needed something to keep corrosion out of delicate mechanisms in the motors of the Atlas missile. On his 40th try, a chemical engineer came up with an oily blend that adhered to metal parts and made them waterproof. No moisture to enable corrosion. That oily blend also had the properties of a good lubricant — no more sticky rusted metal parts—success. With a good product and the right people with a dream of a world market the WD-40 has truly lived the American dream.

Does it work? Several years ago I pulled into a car wash behind a gent with hood up squirting down his engine. Oh oh it’s wet and won’t start. Out trots the store manager, pops off the distributor cap, squirts it down with WD-40 and voila the car starts and drives away. WD for water displacement and it works.

More recently my camper squawked unmercifully from the sway bars objecting whenever I made a turn. A helper at a truck stop told me his dad used WD-40 to stop such irritations and it then worked perfectly for me. It also helps remove bumper stickers, scuffmarks from floors and even your shoes. Squirt it on a wasp and it’ll fall to the floor to be squished afoot. Spray the snouts of your corn head on a damp morning and wet clinging leaves won’t stick and bunch up on a wet morning. There are a thousand other uses — try it you’ll like it!

Your old politically-minded pundit watched the Senate election in Alabama with interest last week. Judge Roy Moore accused but not convicted of unethical behavior a long time ago was character assisted by the media. Where was the concept of innocent until proven guilty? In my opinion, the allegations made him a flawed candidate and I think the good Bible Belt Christians simply stayed home rather than vote for him. The Democrats went all out in a quest for power and elected to the Senate their Schumer clone, who will always vote as directed by the Senate Minority Leader.

Gee, Americans voting their Christian principles, or in this case not voting for a flawed candidate, is something that today’s mainstream media will not touch with a ten foot pole.

Still the words of Bing Crosby “I’ll be home for Christmas…” ring in our ears and so we will make it happen. Home is where our heart is even though we have enjoyed grandchildren, our son and his wife’s hospitality, grand’s school and church events and especially the balmy beautiful weather of sunny Southern California. We never even smelled smoke once and as usual the traffic was abominable.

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

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