The idea of an oil that floated on top of the electrolyte to slow gassing is not a new one, and was not invented by ThermOil. We just perfected it. In wartime applications, early de-misting oils worked well with the exception of deep discharging. Because these early formulations contained organics, the oil would break down in severe discharge cycles, stretch and attach to the negative battery plates, thus greatly reducing the potential life of the battery.
As long as the battery was not severely discharged and water levels were maintained, these early oil additives were the key to saving batteries and potentially saving lives.
The needs of industry today are no different. Powered by even bigger, more powerful batteries, there is an even greater need to not only reduce the gassing, but to prevent the damage caused by the acid released during deep discharge and charge cycles and prolong the life of batteries during long periods of storage.
In 1992, armed with a working knowledge of history and a real-world use of non-sealed lead acid batteries, ThermOil would change the world of battery maintenance forever. Although Battery De-Mister’s first formulation also contained organics, ThermOil would relentlessly pursue the ultimate formulation during the next three years.
The First Appearance of ThermOil – The RV Market
ThermOil’s logical first market entry was to reach a group of deep-cycle battery users who notoriously experienced the most corrosion and water use, and had a reputation for batteries dying way before their time. The RV market was in need of a product like this for two main reasons:
First, deep-cycles batteries power everything in an RV.
Second, RVs sit for long periods of time along with poor accessibility to the battery compartment.
ThermOil met with a small independent battery manufacturer, Ramcar, who agreed to make the world’s first ThermOil Batteries. Ramcar would build the batteries, add the oil and put our ThermOil label on them. We then sought out some of the most well known brands in RV manufacturing.
Most RV manufacturers are located in Indiana, and coincidentally, we discovered a perfect fit with an RV supplier. They stocked products in their own warehouse and delivered in their own trucks. To prove we had the secret to longer battery life, we gave some of our first production run of batteries to a handful of those RV manufacturers to test. Over the next four years, nearly all manufacturers of quality RVs were installing ThermOil Batteries as original equipment.
During this 4 year period, ThermOil® expanded its battery manufacturing by contracting with Continental Battery Mfg. Corp in Dallas, TX to keep up with the demand. Also during this time we were working with Kendall Oil Company in Bradford, PA and New Castle Battery Manufacturing Company in New Castle, PA to test new oil formulas.
With two independent battery manufacturers now making the ThermOil Battery for us, ThermOil was gaining ground and we were beginning to draw attention from the big name battery manufacturers as they were losing market share to us.
It was around this time that Exide Battery Company (one of the biggest battery manufacturing companies in the world) lost one of their RV OEM customers to us and this did not sit well with them. We were promoting the ThermOil Battery as not only lasting longer, but never corroding, using much less water and not exploding, making it a much safer battery.
To prove the ThermOil Battery was a much safer battery, we would remove the battery caps and connect a jumper cable directly from the positive post to the negative post. Since the battery was being directly shorted out, the cable would begin to heat up, eventually start on fire and burn right on top of the open cells. Since the oil in the battery greatly slows the hydrogen and oxygen gases being released from the cells the battery never exploded. Do not try this at home.
After Exide lost their customer to us, they took our battery and produced a video of it blowing up. Here is how they did it:
Our ThermOil Battery was shown sitting on a Exide test bench with Exide’s company name on the bottom of the video, making it look as official as possible. Into every other cell of our 12-volt ThermOil Battery was placed a spark plug with a coil wire hooked to it.
Then the narrator said, “Now we will test the claims that a ThermOil Battery will not explode.” They then shot a high energy current through the spark plugs into the cells of the battery for about 7 to 10 seconds. Nothing happened. They then did it again for about 7 to 10 seconds and the sparks and fire were shooting out the cells of the battery like roman candles on the 4th of July. They then did it a third time and this time the battery exploded.
Armed with the video they then went to one of the RV Manufactures. They stated that the ThermOil Battery was very dangerous and showed them the video. To their surprise the RV Manufactures told Exide their customers don’t put spark plugs in their batteries, but we were forced to modify our marketing to state ThermOil “greatly reduces the risk of explosion.”
A Patented Formula without Organics!
While the limits of our past formulation were more than any RV battery would ever push, the final frontier was to make an oil that would not stretch even under the most extreme conditions. Bottom line, we wanted perfection.
Over the last three years, our pursuit of a purely synthetic formula to eliminate even the slightest chance of breakdown under the harshest conditions paid off! After years of rigorous testing at New Castle Battery Mfg. and challenging the best minds in synthetic oil formulations at Kendall Oil, we finally created our current patented purely synthetic product – ThermOil Battery De-Mister®!
Proof is in the Pudding
The blend contains a mixture of synthetic base oils (polyalphaolefin) and severely hydrogenated naphthenic oil, with non-metallic oxidation and rust inhibitors and a rubberized thickening agent for increased viscosity. This fluid has a viscosity at 40° C of 46 cSt a pour point of -45° C , the density of this fluid is 7.15 pounds per U.S. gallon. We tested this fluid for resistance to sludge formation in ASTM D 943 steam turbine oxidation where the oil is mixed with water and heated to 205° F with an iron/ copper catalyst in the presence of oxygen. The oil is tested by titration with .1N alk KoH to obtain an acid number per ASTM D664. Values over 2.0 are considered failing.
After a period of 2000 hours no appreciable degradation was evident. ThermOil Battery De-Mister does not lose its potency under any steam turbine test conceived. We then sent this new formulation to New Castle Battery Mfg. Company for the final lab tests. The results? Perfection. ThermOil Battery De-Mister does not stretch under deep discharge.
We then applied for, and eventually received the patent on this truly unique oil. There is nothing like it in the marketplace today that can provide the same reliability, safety and savings for your batteries.
Trolling in the Fishing Market
We were having such great success with recreational vehicles that we decided to introduce ThermOil to professional fishermen. We gave Gary Roach and Mark Martin a full set of our batteries to test and as luck would have it, we hooked them! Gary and Mark would normally burn through a full set of batteries every year. The ThermOil batteries we gave them lasted three years!
As endorsers of MotorGuide (a trolling motor manufacturer), we knew they could get MotorGuide to cast their attention toward us to build a better trolling motor battery to compete with their largest competitor, Minn Kota. Minn Kota had their own battery at that time, manufactured and distributed by Exide. Since Minn Kota made the trolling motor and had their own batteries being built for them, their dealers would recommend the Minn Kota battery to go along with the Minn Kota trolling motor. The only way MotorGuide was going to compete with them in the battery business would be to have their own battery. But it had to be better, so MotorGuide approached us to help them create a battery superior to the Minn Kota Battery.
To give MotorGuide the confidence to get on board, we brought in Jim McCann, President of Continental Battery Mfg. and President of the Independent Battery Manufactures Association at that time.
Jim convinced MotorGuide that he could rally enough of the smaller independent battery manufacturers located across the U.S. to build the same battery for them at the same price, he then figured that these manufacturers together could combine their distribution to cover most territories across the U.S. This would not only be distribution for the thousands of MotorGuide dealers but also for the thousands of RV dealers throughout the U.S. Continental signed a contract with MotorGuide to begin producing batteries for them and the MotorGuide Battery was born. The name was “MotorGuide with ThermOil Technology.”
It wasn’t long before other professional fishermen were using the MotorGuide Battery or the ThermOil Battery. They couldn’t believe how well the batteries performed with little or no maintenance. More importantly, MotorGuide now had a superior battery that it could promote to dealers to go along with their trolling motors.
A Matter of Distribution
With the RV OEM market humming and the Marine market on the horizon, the big battery manufactures were really starting to take notice. They knew that if we could get distribution set up for our patented oil battery across the U.S. our opportunities would be limitless.
Simply put, RV and marine dealers don’t buy enough to justify the costs to ship just a few batteries, and since batteries contain acid, UPS and FED-EX were not options. The preferred method was to ship via common carriers. But a dealer would need to order at least a palette at a time to reduce freight cost and make a profit. All the while, the RV OEM’s were demanding that we be able to supply their dealers with ThermOil Batteries.
Exide, fearing that we would succeed in getting distribution set up, stepped in again. They went to the secondary lead smelters and asked them not to recycle our batteries. They told some of them that if they would recycle our batteries they would not give them any of their batteries, and these independents make their money by recycling batteries. Some of these smelters were convinced to send out letters stating that they would refuse any truckloads of batteries that included ThermOil Batteries.
When Jim McCann, President of Continental Battery Mfg. Company heard this, he knew he had to do something quick or the whole MotorGuide deal would fall apart along with the distribution of ThermOil Batteries to thousands of RV dealers. He quickly contacted a safety and health consultant for the Secondary Lead Smelting Industry to evaluate this problem. They gave Jim a testimonial letter stating that the oil was non-hazardous, contained no PBC’s and was completely recyclable.
Click the image to read the testimonial letter from Lee Norman who has been a Professional Consultant for the Battery Manufacturing and Secondary Lead Smelting Industry for 30 years.
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em.
This was clearly a contest Exide was not giving up on. One way or the other they did not want us around. Arthur Hawkins, then President of Exide Corporation offered us a letter of intent to purchase 50% of the authorized capital stock of ThermOil on March 20, 1998. Exide offered millions but what they really wanted was to see our books, our customer list and our profits.
After the Exide deal fell apart and after getting past the smelting issue, Jim from Continental Battery attempted to rally the other smaller independent battery manufacturers to make the same ThermOil and MotorGuide Batteries and develop a network of distribution to supply all the RV Dealers and MotorGuide Dealers. After much negotiation among the newcomer manufacturers and resulting disagreements about costs, number of plates, build quality and whose battery was better, our window of opportunity closed. The distribution continued across the six states in Continental’s territory and some territories of the other two manufactures but within a few years, it became impossible to meet demand.
Since we could not get national distribution, we couldn’t supply the RV Dealers with the same batteries that were being used in the OEM’s. We also could not supply the thousands of MotorGuide dealers across the country.
The unfortunate reality is there are only a handful of battery manufacturers that have national distribution supplying national accounts and stores such as Wal-Mart, Sears, Pep Boys, Auto Zone etc. These big battery companies knew that if ThermOil made its way into their distribution channel, their market share would quickly erode in every other market including solar, golf, marine, scissors & aerial lifts, scrubber & sweeper, forklifts etc. They were not going to allow this.
The Genie In The Bottle
Since we couldn’t get national battery distribution, we decided to sell the oil in an easy-to-use 12 oz. bottle (because the average battery needs 12 oz. of ThermOil to work properly).
We knew that this would not attract OEM’s because they would want the battery with the ThermOil already installed, but we could then sell to customers who owned a lot of equipment. It would not only save them a lot of money on batteries, because the batteries would last longer, but also on battery maintenance, such as adding water, cleaning corrosion etc.
Also by coming out with a 12 oz. easy-to-use bottle we would have worldwide distribution because the oil is non-hazardous and can be shipped by mail, UPS or Fed X. So in the year 2000 we introduced the 12 oz. bottle. To supply dealers (like RV & Marine), and companies that had a lot of equipment (golf courses, rental yards etc.) we came out with a 24-pack case and a 48-pack case.
Soon after we introduced the easy-to-use 12 oz. bottle, some of the big battery manufactures sent out letters to their distributors telling them that if ThermOil was added to their batteries it would void their warranty.
If you had a new battery that came with a 12-month free replacement warranty and you ran your battery out of water or it corroded or sulfated and died, do you think they would give you a new free battery? Absolutely not. They will tell you that it is misuse and abuse, on your part, and voids the warranty. Now you will have to buy another battery. Battery longevity is not their concern. The bottom line is the more batteries they sell, the more money they make.
The Name You Can Trust
We have been offering the 12 oz. bottle of ThermOil Battery De-Mister since 2000. Then in 2008 we came out with a companion product for de-sulfating a sulfated battery, called ThermOil Battery De-Sulfater. Look for the name ThermOil and then you can rest assured you have the best battery additives on the market, and both products are guaranteed!
We have customers all around the world that use our products and they love them and continue to use them. Not only are their batteries lasting longer saving them money but we also greatly reduce their maintenance costs.
We have been treating batteries since 1992 and we are not looking back.