Originally Posted by nickitynac
Hertel did invent the first flourocarbon wax mixture in the 70s.
That's possible, I suppose, though it isn't my understanding. Terry Hertel does hold a patent (filed 1990, issued 1992). My knowledge of chemistry is sufficiently rudimentary that some of it is over my head, but: it appears to be for a particular improvement to existing fluorocarbon waxes (adding a small amount of perfluoropolyether diol), rather than for the whole concept. The description of prior art appears to refer to fluoro waxes. In any event, I'm pretty near certain fluorocarbons were in fairly broad use before 1990.
Incidentally, the patent discloses the composition of the "formula 739" wax, before adding the new invention: 89% paraffin, 6% hardening agent, 2% "perfluoropolyether diol compatible vehicle," and 3% surfactant. The first two describe a standard hydrocarbon wax. The last could be any of a number of things, particularly plain old soap, or detergent. The patent does not appear to claim the use of the surfactant as a protected invention.
|There wax has been used by many racers and even the olympic ski team which has won medals on hertel wax(they preffer the white gold 1,000$ an ounce).
From their website, it appears that the only top-level competition skiers that have used the wax have been freestyle skiers, not racers. There's a significant difference. I don't believe the Hertel wax is used by top-level racers, though, of course, I couldn't say for sure.
A little poking around revealed various things, which give me some pause:
- So far as I can tell, Peter Hertel is a guy who owns a skateboard shop in Palo Alto.
- Some sources attribute the "hot sauce" formula to an actual chemist named Peter Donnelly (a former business partner of Hertel's), while the Hertel website claims "Hertel ski waxes were all invented by Terry Hertel."
- Claims like, "ski wax Olympic gold is four seconds faster that [sic] any wax ever made."
- Misspelling of technical terms, like "hydroscopic" for "hydrophobic," and "purfluorocarbon" for "perfluorocarbon."
- If you compare the explanation of waxes and how they work at, say, the Dominator site to those at the Hertel site, there's a world of difference. One discusses various technical points in at least a general sort of way. The other just makes bold and unsupported claims.
- I don't know ... doesn't the fact that their 3/4-lb cosmetic-second blocks of wax have been continuously available for months, if not years, strike you as a bit odd?
Finally, just a note: at 4.7 cents a gram, the 3/4-lb brick is pretty cheap, but no cheaper than similar waxes. Artech, Tognar, RRS and others sell Swix and Toko "universal" waxes for a little cheaper, if you buy the big quantities. Dominator Zoom is about 6 cents a gram at various places, in the 400-gram (videotape-size) blocks.
In any case, we're talking something less than a dollar a wax job here.