Indian Head Gasket Shellac TopClass MD, Richard Pinard Top class Topics – the trusted solution in the auto industry Permatex was started in 1909 as...

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Indian Head Gasket Shellac

TopClass MD, Richard Pinard

Top class Topics

– the trusted solution in the auto industry Permatex was started in 1909 as a manufacturer of a product designed to bond bicycle tyres to their rims. The product was a sticky substance made from shellac, a resin secreted by a lac bug on to trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It was the start of a many great things for the company.


t was all about innovations in the early 20th century and Constant A. Benoit Sr., founder of the Permatex Company, was looking for product solutions that could benefit many industries at the time. Benoit enjoyed watching car races and it was in 1915 when he attended a 24-hour endurance race at a racetrack located close to his laboratory in Brooklyn, New York. Benoit observed that many of the cars were forced to make frequent pit stops to replace blown head gaskets. When race driver Ralph DePalma blew his head gasket for the fourth time in the race, his mechanic sought Benoit’s help. Benoit applied some of his experimental gasket cement to the head gasket and the DePalma car completed the race without any further gasket problems. On that day, Permatex entered the automotive maintenance business. Permatex became one of the early leaders in professional racing to prove their product performance and to promote sales. The experimental cement, which was trademarked as “Permatex Indian Head Gasket Shellac”, has since become a triedand-tested product in the auto industry. For decades, many older mechanics relied on Permatex Indian Head Gasket Shellac as a gasket sealer. It isn’t uncommon to walk into a longstanding workshop and find a bottle of thick, orange shellac on a shelf for whenever the mechanic needs to hold a gasket from shifting around. Permatex Indian Head Gasket Shellac is a hard setting, slow drying liquid designed to coat, seal and repair most gaskets including

felt, paper, rubber and composition type gaskets. It seals metal gaskets and threaded connections for light duty service. Indian Head Gasket shellac is a dark brown, viscous liquid with a characteristic alcoholic odour. Indian Head Gasket Shellac has its own brush in the bottle for easy application onto the gasket. It can also be used to seal hose connections and threaded connections. It is an economical sealant for general assembly work, which applies easily and cleans up fast. It is very flexible when dried and improves reliability to keep a vehicle on the road for longer. It can operate between -54 to 177 degrees Celsius. The product is inexpensive and available through AutoZone outlets countrywide.

Directions for use: 1. Apply with brush or roller on dry, clean surfaces, free from dirt, oil, rust and dried paints or sealants. When brushed on gaskets, they should be dry. 2. Indian Head Gasket Shellac Compound can be applied at temperatures from 5 to 38 degrees Celsius. 3. The recommended thickness of the film depends on the type of surface. Generally, the wet film should be applied thin (approximately 1mm) and uniform. 4. For bonding gaskets, apply on both surfaces. Allow to dry until surfaces are dry to the touch.

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Readers should also be warned about purchasing counterfeit Indian Head Gasket Shellac products. The original compound is recognisable by the Indian Head logo which faces to the right. The Indian head logo of the counterfeit product faces the left. Use only the original, use Permatex Indian Head Gasket Shellac.

september 2013

For more information about Permatex Indian Head Shellac and other products in the Permatex range, contact Topclass Automotive on 011 974 1444, email Richard Pinard: [email protected], or visit