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The Fluid Systems Engineering and Management Blog

by Swagelok Northern California

Fred Lennon's Legacy of Maintaining High Quality Continues at Swagelok

by Jeff Hopkins, on 9/20/16 9:00 AM

Fred Lennon, Founder, Swagelok Company

In 1947, Fred Lennon borrowed $500 to start a company around an ingenious two ferrule tube fitting and a relentless pursuit of quality. Since then, Swagelok has become $2 billion global company.

Swagelok's founder insisted on making the best product better

Swagelok made its reputation on two things. One is our revolutionary two-ferrule mechanical grip-type fitting for fluid handling systems. The other was founder Fred Lennon's commitment to high quality.

When the company was just starting out in the late 1940s, Lennon knew that a great design was not enough. As he once wrote, "It would take the finest materials, machines, tools and operator skills to guarantee the performance designed into the product. And it would take an enterprising sales and service organization to attend customer needs on a local, personal basis."

That commitment to quality would not come cheaply, and Lennon was willing to pay the price. But Swagelok didn't stop there.

“The price of quality is eternal vigilance,” Lennon said. His mantra was, “Make the best product possible to help customers succeed, and keep making it better.”

Growth and strength

That commitment to quality has paid off. From an original investment of $500 back in 1947, Swagelok grew into a global company with sales of $2 billion. Lennon didn't let success distract him from his work. In leading the company for more than 50 years, Lennon never missed a day at work. Forbes magazine once described him as "the shiest billionaire."

Though Fred Lennon died in 1998, Swagelok has continued to emphasize the high quality of its materials, parts and service. Through the decades, Swagelok stayed away from “me too” products, preferring to rely on its own research and development. Through its rich innovative history, Swagelok developed new fittings for ultrahigh-vacuum applications, fittings, valves, and quick connects for petrochemical refineries, high pressure fittings and valves for the nuclear industry and fittings, valves, and hoses for the semiconductor industry to name a few. Today, Swagelok continues to innovate by developing components and solutions for industries like alternative energy, natural gas and electric vehicles, and life sciences. All while maintaining a 99.99% ship to promise and inventory accuracy track record, Swagelok has about 200 active patents.

When you purchase a Swagelok product from us, it will be accompanied by our limited lifetime warranty, which we believe is unmatched in industry.

If Fred Lennon could visit Swagelok Northern California today, he'd probably be amazed at the advances in technology and engineering in the past 18 years. But he'd recognize the same commitment to high quality that he established more than six decades ago. 


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