Thermolator®: A brief history of one of the most famous brands in the plastics industry

According to a popular proverb, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Search for the word “Thermolator” on the web, and you’ll find that there are many, many companies and individuals that use the term in reference to mold-temperature control units. Some use the term so often, you’d think they had coined the name themselves.

But that’s not the case.  As a matter of history, Conair has owned the registered trademark of Thermolator® for 43 years.  Throughout that time, we’ve used the Thermolator brand to represent temperature control units (TCUs) and other heat-transfer equipment.

But even prior to Conair, there is history behind the name*, which was first used in about 1946. At that time, Industrial Manufacturing, Inc. of Indianapolis began to market a patented machine to regulate the temperature of die-casting dies using a thermostatically-controlled flow of pressurized fluid.  They called their invention a “Thermolator,” and the name stuck. Within a few years, as the plastics industry grew, processors recognized and adopted this technology to solve the problem of mold temperature control.

In 1965, under a dynamic new owner, Industrial Manufacturing became Thermolator, Inc. and expanded its plastics-industry product line beyond mold-temperature control into heat transfer products including water chillers and evaporative tower coolers. In 1969, Van Dorn Plastic Machinery of Cleveland (which became Van Dorn Demag and, today, has become part of Sumitomo Demag) bought Thermolator Inc. as the first step in its plans to expand into the plastics auxiliary equipment market. Then, in 1977, Conair purchased that business from Van Dorn, blending it into its existing line of mold temperature control products.

Today, and nearly a half-century later, Conair’s Thermolator® brand comprises six different lines of temperature controllers, all at the top of their respective classes in quality and features. So, I think it is safe to say we are continuing to do our part to sustain the value of this well-known name.

Which brings me back to my original point.  Some years ago, Conair decided not to defend its claim to the Thermolator trademark. Consider it our contribution to the plastic industry lexicon.