Sonic’s 25th Year Was Over 50 Years in the Making

sonicair0515-3In preparation for Sonic Air Systems 25th celebration on May 21 to 23, with our top 40 sales partners from 10 countries, I was putting my presentation together and it took me all the way back to the beginning.

Attached is a photo of my dad Chester A. VanderPyl from early 60’s showings him with all of the Fram filters that he helped create while he was the V.P. of engineering at Fram Corp in Rhode Island during the 50’s and 60’s. He was both the sole and a co-inventor of the 5 patents (listed below) for these first of their kind disposable pleated cartridge filters for oil, air and gasoline. Prior to that the old filters were taken out, washed in gasoline or solvent, dried and then put back. It was very messy, quite frequent, expensive and time consuming. The new disposable pleated cartridge designs became the worldwide standard for automotive filters and every other industry.

Back in 1990, when Sonic was just a start-up company, the first product we ever made for re-sale was the Sonic air filter/silencer assembly. It all seems quite ironic that Sonic’s cartridge filter supplier is today one of the largest industrial filter manufacturers in the U.S., and their filter elements still utilize all of Dad’s original designs.

Sonic’s contribution to Dad’s original pleated disposable filter cartridge design was to make an industrial filter/silencer assembly with a metal housing which incorporates an internal noise silencer together with a built-in filter change indicator gage. The end result of our efforts reduces the overall size by 75% compared to any previous design which other companies had to offer. Unfortunately we had no money for a patent attorney during Sonic’s humble beginnings so a few others have followed our design lead, but nobody has matched the fit, form and function of the Sonic filter/silencer. During our first 25 years, Sonic sold over 40,000 of these filter/silencer assemblies, mostly for use on Sonic blowers but frequently we still sell for use on our competitors blowers as well.

sonicair0515As I often say; “there are others in our category, but none in our class”

After leaving Fram Corp in 1968, having helped make Fram filters a household name, my dad later became V.P. of the STP Corp. In addition to their infamous Indy car and NASCAR racing team successes, the Granatelli brothers who owned STP Corp had various automotive after-market products as well. The Granatelli’s ultimately sold STP Corp at the height of its success, while
keeping a few of their spin-off companies. In 1976 Dad was recruited by the Granatelli’s to be the G.M. for Paxton Products, their small but well known, auto supercharger manufacturer in California. So we loaded up the car and moved from Cape Cod to Santa Monica. I started working there part time before I had even finished high school.

sonicair0515-2Dad’s most significant contribution to Paxton, prior to his death from cancer in 1983, was his development of the high speed belt driven centrifugal blower. In 1990, after 13 years with Paxton, Terry Riley and I moved on to form Sonic Air Systems and create our own family of high speed industrial air blowers. With features and capabilities far beyond what Paxton had Sonic’s blower designs 25 years later, just as we have done with Dad’s original filter cartridge ideas, are a derivative of his earlier creations.

Although several other companies have entered the blower/air knife market over the past 10-15 years, we are proud to say that Sonic has maintained the #1 position in both sales and application engineering for the blower/air knife industry for the last two decades. We have two great patented products at Sonic…so far!

Thanks for your inspiration Dad!

Daniel J. VanderPyl


Chester A. VanderPyl Patents

Liquid filter
US D199918 S

Method of curing porous, resin-treated pleated paper US 2876555 A

Apparatus for pleating paper
US 2771119 A

Method of and machine for forming pleated paper into annular filter elements
US 2901949 A

Apparatus for curing the end caps of filter cartridges US 2927782 A

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