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Lawton’s tradition of providing the highest quality products, along with prompt and reliable service, has made Lawton Industries, Inc. one of the most respected names in the Refining and Petrochemical Industry. Lawton is extremely proud of it’s reputation as a company that can be relied upon to continuously deliver products that have set the standard for the industry. Lawton products are always 100% satisfaction guaranteed.


In the early 1970’s, Fred Strunk,  a Supervisor at Exxon Corporation's Benicia California Refinery, became the inventor of the Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaner and the Precut Stainless Steel Shim Kit.

Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaner History

Liquids in process lines commonly reach temperatures of  600 to 700 degrees F and hold pressures up to 600 psig. The bleeder, or drain valves, on these lines are typically located at a low point along the line. This allows unwanted sediment, or other substances, to accumulate in the valve.  This causes the valve to become plugged and require cleaning or clearing. Prior to the invention of the Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaner, the standard practice to clear a clogged valve was to open the valve, then by using a rod or wire, push the clog back in to the main line, thus clearing the valve. Once the clog was freed, the worker would attempt to rapidly remove the rod and close the bleeder valve before allowing any high pressure, high temperature liquid to escape potentially causing flashing and explosion.   Also, because the bottom of the valve is as low as 5 to 6 inches above a concrete or asphalt surface, there is a risk of the hot liquid splattering uncontrollably against the ground potentially resulting in serious injury, loss of life, and extensive property damage. 

This photograph, from Exxon Oil in Benicia in 1973, shows a cloud of vaporized oil escaping from a bleeder valve on a ½ inch line with the valve approximately ¼ open. The oil pressure in the line was approximately 600 psig with temperatures of 700 degree F. Fortunately, a steady stream of water kept the oil from flashing and burning. If this oil had flashed, the property damage could have been in the millions of dollars and the possibility for serious injury or death to personnel extremely high. Fred eventually closed this particular valve by crawling up through the stream of water directed onto the valve as it was continuing to discharge oil. He inched his way up the water stream until he was able to close off the uncontrolled vaporized oil discharge by hand. The potential for disaster was obvious. Over a four-year period, Fred witnessed an estimated 16 occasions of uncontrolled oil discharge resulting from the use of this dangerous procedure. Unable to ignore this problem, he realized the very substantial need in the industry for a device like the Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaner. 


The Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaner revolutionized the Petrochemical Industry. Today these tools are a standard safety requirement in refineries and chemical plants worldwide.

Lawton Industries Inc Rocklin CA The Need for Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaners

Stainless Steel Pre Cut Shim History

Not long after the invention of the Angle Worm Bleeder Cleaner, Fred came up with the idea to make the use of stainless steel shims used in aligning pumps and motors, easier,  quicker, and safer.  Providing workers with a complete set of pre-cut shims, in an organized box, proved to be invaluable.  No longer were workers burdened with stopping a job to hand-cut shims from sharp metal sheets.  This saved thousands of dollars by avoiding down time for the pump and motors, and it kept the workers from injuries sustained from the razor sharp stainless steel. 


Lawton maintains the highest quality product on the market with an absolute guarantee of no sharp edges or burrs, and accurate thicknesses that meet or exceed industry standards.

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