The Birth of a New Lubricant Technology

Royal Purple was founded as an industrial lubricants company by John Williams. Williams was a pioneer in developing synthetic lubricants as far back as the 1950s. He continued pursuing his passion for lubrication by serving as a consultant to numerous companies after his retirement in the 1980’s.

In 1986, an oil production company asked Williams to solve chronic bearing failures in their large compressors. He found that there was not a lubricant available that could handle the extreme demands of the equipment. He put his extensive lubrication background to work in developing a new lubrication technology.

Williams developed a new additive technology that fortified lubricants with unusually high film strength capable of protecting bearings under extreme loads. This unique technology also had exceptional oxidation stability for long oil life. It provided outstanding protection against rust and corrosion in both wet and high temperature applications. The new lubricant technology cleaned equipment and prevented varnishing and sludge build-up.

The new lubricant easily solved the company’s equipment problems. The company’s plant manager said that it was so superior to anything he had tried before that it should not look like other lubricants. Williams elected to make the lubricant purple. That lubricant, with its exclusive, proprietary Synerlec additive technology, became the cornerstone of Royal Purple’s product line. Williams decided to name the company Royal Purple since historically; the color purple was so expensive to produce that only royalty used the color. The hope was that the color’s association with quality would symbolize the quality of all Royal Purple products.

The Company Evolves

Industrial customers initially tried Royal Purple on the most demanding and/or problem equipment. Customers could easily explain the rationale for switching lubricants because no other products performed as well. Over time, industrial customers were able to document the energy and maintenance cost savings to justify upgrading their entire plants to Royal Purple industrial lubricants.

Along the way, Royal Purple began formulating racing lubricants at the request of many industrial customers who were also part-time racers. Racers noticed that Royal Purple not only dramatically reduced wear, but also maximized horsepower and torque. Demand for Royal Purple racing oils rapidly spread throughout all forms of racing.

The formulation of racing oils laid the foundation for the development of super-premium motor oils for consumer use. Royal Purple consumer motor oils and other automotive products were introduced through national automotive parts retailers beginning in 2003. There are now nearly 25,000 retailer locations in the US selling Royal Purple consumer products.

Today, Royal Purple is widely recognized as both a super-premium line of consumer automotive products and as a leading primary lubricants supplier to industrial end markets competing head-to-head with the largest oil companies. Industrial customers and retail consumers alike are extremely loyal because Royal Purple products outperform ordinary synthetic lubricants to make equipment last longer and less expensive to operate. Royal Purple continues to grow in the US and internationally. Royal Purple was acquired in 2012 by Calumet Specialty Products Partners (CLMT), a leading refiner and processor of specialty hydrocarbon products headquartered in Indianapolis, IN.