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Kimray – Oil Field Trailblazer

It is a classic story of Americana, with all the excitement, struggle, and ingenuity common to the most memorable of such tales. The story of Oklahoma City-based Kimray, famed manufacturer of control equipment used in oil and gas production in North America and fields around the globe, began in 1948. That is when Kimray founder and visionary Garman O. Kimmell (1913-2008) introduced the 3” SGT-BP, a pilot-operated gas back-pressure regulator. The first of many patented designs by Kimmell, the gas valve revolutionized gas pressure regulation.

The determined son of German immigrants, Kimmell, who lived to 95 years of age, remains one of the most ingenious minds to illumine the halls of Oklahoma history. He went on to design many other products of lasting impact on the industry. Kimray’s Glycol Pumps, Treater Valves, Oil Dump Valves, and High Pressure Control Valves and Pilots are all recognized worldwide by the industry.

“Garman basically revolutionized the field production of oil and gas,” said longtime Kimray Chairman Tom Hill. “When he started manufacturing at Kimray in 1949, most of the back pressure valves in the field were weight-loaded valves. This resulted in uneven pressure regulation at working sites, which could lead to big problems. Things were just mechanical back then. To have a piloted valve was just too expensive.”

So in 1950, Kimmell created the 3” SGT-BP, a three-inch pressure regulator that was piloted, rather than weight-loaded. A piloted valve was an enormous improvement over the traditional weight-loaded ones. Unlike those, it automatically adjusted the volatile flow of gas out of the ground to a constant rate and desired pressure, allowing easier and more accurate measurement of that flow.