Garlock Sealing Technologies

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Garlock Sealing Technologies was founded in 1887. Garlock’s gaskets and packing materials contained asbestos from 1907 to 1980. Many people were exposed to the company’s products and developed related diseases. Garlock has faced thousands of asbestos lawsuits and opened a trust fund to handle claims.

01. History of Asbestos Use

Garlock Sealing Technologies History of Asbestos Use

Garlock Sealing Technologies started using asbestos in its products as early as 1907. These products were used widely in engines, boilers and other machinery with valves that needed to be leakproof.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1887 – Present
  • Location: Palmyra, New York
  • Production: Sealing products, such as gaskets
  • Asbestos Trust: Yes

Olin J. Garlock founded Garlock Sealing Technologies in 1887 in Palmyra, New York. Garlock originally built his business model on manufacturing sealing rods for industrial steam engines. Over time, the company expanded its product offering to include gaskets, pipe packing and tape.

Garlock products were heavily used during World War II. Many Navy shipyards used gaskets, packing and sealing materials to insulate pipes and other machinery aboard ships and to prevent leaks.

Garlock continually expanded its product lines following the war. As its sales skyrocketed, the company eventually became the largest producer of packing materials in the United States. Throughout this time, Garlock continued to use asbestos in various products it manufactured.

In 1976, Garlock was acquired by Colt Industries, a firearms manufacturer. After the acquisition, Garlock continued to use asbestos for some time. The company reportedly halted its asbestos use in 1980.

In 1987, Garlock acquired another company with a long history of asbestos use, Anchor Packing Company. The acquisition came just three years after Anchor Packing Company had stopped manufacturing asbestos products of its own.

Anchor Packing Company closed its doors in 1993, and as its owner, Garlock took over its liabilities. Garlock and Anchor Packing Company have faced hundreds of thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits because of their asbestos use.

In 2003, Garlock became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enpro Industries and filed for bankruptcy in 2010. A trust fund was established in 2017 to handle Garlock and Anchor Packing Company’s asbestos claims. Garlock Sealing Technologies still operates today under the Enpro umbrella.

02. Asbestos Products

Garlock Sealing Technologies Asbestos Products

Garlock manufactured many different types of products. Many of these products contained asbestos. Garlock’s asbestos products included gaskets, packing, mechanical seals and a limited run of asbestos cloths and textiles.

Some of Garlock’s products contained asbestos as early as 1907. The company used asbestos to increase durability and resistance to fire and heat. The products were sold under various brand names, such as Garlock, Blue-Gard, Gylon and Flexseal.

Garlock Sealing Technologies Products Containing Asbestos

List of Products Containing Asbestos
Product Name Start Year End Year
Garlock Asbestos Packing 1907 1980
Garlock Asbestos Tape 1907 1980
Garlock Chemiseal Jacketed Gasket 1907 1980
Garlock Compressed Asbestos Sheet Gasket 1907 1980
Garlock Garfite 200 Graphite Filament Packing 1907 1980
Garlock Insulation Tape 1907 1980
Garlock Lattice Braid Packing 1907 1980
Garlock Plastallic Packing 1907 1980
Garlock Plasti-Pak Packing 1907 1980
Garlock Pre-Cut Gasket 1907 1980
Garlock Rope
Garlock Spiral Pasti-Thread Seal Tape 1907 1980
Garlock Spiral Wound Gasket 1907 1980
Garlock Valve Stem Packing
03. Occupational Exposure

Garlock Sealing Technologies and Occupational Exposure

Because of Garlock’s use of asbestos, many of the company’s employees risked exposure. Garlock employees involved in manufacturing these products often had a higher risk of asbestos exposure. Any amount of asbestos exposure may lead to an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma cancer.

Many industries used these products, including:

  • Chemical processing
  • Construction
  • Papermaking
  • Power generation
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Waste treatment

Garlock’s asbestos-containing products were most commonly used in construction applications, aboard naval ships and on trains. Naval shipyard workers, veterans and construction workers were among the most likely to be exposed to asbestos on the job from Garlock products.

Occupations Affected by Garlock Sealing Technologies’ Asbestos Use

Garlock’s gaskets were its most prominent product, and they were made with asbestos. The gaskets could release asbestos fibers into the air when damaged or removed. Workers who cut, hammered or removed gaskets made by Garlock or maintained nearby products may have been exposed.

To remove a gasket, workers had to pry the gasket off using implements like putty knives. They would then brush away any gasket residue and remove any insulation, which could also contain asbestos, around the joint or valve. The entire process released asbestos fibers into the air, exposing workers and others in the area.

04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against Garlock Sealing Technologies

Garlock Sealing Technologies faced thousands of lawsuits because of its asbestos-containing products and those of its subsidiary, Anchor Packing Company. In 2008 alone, Garlock reported $37 million in asbestos payments. By 2010, the company reportedly paid more than $1.4 billion in mesothelioma settlements and lawsuit verdicts from 900,000 asbestos claims.

One notable mesothelioma lawsuit involving Garlock products was decided in 2009. A Philadelphia jury awarded $17 million to the families of two deceased mesothelioma patients. The patients had worked around asbestos products for many years, including Crane Co. valves and Garlock gaskets. Evidence presented at trial revealed Garlock’s gaskets were made of up to 90% asbestos.

After many years of asbestos litigation costs in the millions, Garlock filed for bankruptcy in 2010. However, it would take until 2018 for the company’s asbestos bankruptcy trust fund to be open for claims.

In the meantime, Garlock continued to be named in lawsuits. For example, in 2012, a paper mill worker filed a lawsuit after being diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. He had worked as a boiler mechanic at a mill in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, where he was exposed to Garlock’s asbestos cement, gaskets and packing materials. The jury ruled in favor of the worker with a $12 million verdict. The case was settled for an unspecified amount following the verdict.

05. Asbestos Trust Fund

Garlock Sealing Technologies Asbestos Trust Fund

Garlock Sealing Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2010. Garlock’s bankruptcy reorganization plan was approved on June 12, 2017, and the company moved forward with establishing an asbestos trust fund for their asbestos-related liabilities.

The Garlock Sealing Technologies Settlement Facility trust fund began accepting asbestos claims in September 2018. It accepts claims for individuals harmed by Garlock and Anchor Packing Company products. The trust was initially funded with $480 million.

People who develop asbestos-related illnesses after exposure to Garlock or Anchor Packing Company products may be eligible to file a claim with the trust. Claims are then processed and may result in compensation. The Garlock trust does not have a payment percentage but assesses claims based on the severity of exposure and disease.

The maximum reward amounts for mesothelioma victims were increased in 2021. However, actual payment amounts may vary based on numerous factors, including age, disease severity, exposure history and firm asbestos settlement history. Victims should talk to a mesothelioma lawyer to learn more about filing a claim against the trust and other legal options they may have.