TalkCarWash Stats: 5669 users, 3549 posts, 14501 replies, 1309 classifieds, 3977 pictures, 2.5 Hours of Video
← Back to Car Wash Association Talk

History of Sherman supersonic car wash

9 replies created over 7 years ago
posted by KeithThomas over 7 years ago

Hi I am trying to find the history of Sherman car washing compnay that I beleive took over Chem Therm and in turn was taken over by Hanna. This company had adverts in British magazines in the 1960's I have after old address and pictures of equipment I have spent some years researching the development of car wash equipment and firms


reply by SMOKUN over 7 years ago

Contact Fred Grauer, a relative of the founder and longtime employee of the parent company, Smith-Thacher. He's still very much active in the carwash community and a genuinely nice guy who will gladly walk you through the ChemTherm history.

His email:

reply by KeithThomas over 7 years ago

Hi I have re contacted him but I hope he can give me details on shermans history does anyone else I could contact

reply by SMOKUN over 7 years ago

You might try Turk Thacher in the Philadelphia area. I think he's now president of Baker Industries. Turk was part-owner and president of Smith-Thacher (Sherman Car Wash Systems) in Palmyra, NJ. Fred was vice-president at Sherman, but Sherman was purchased by Hanna Car Wash Systems. Unfortunately, Hanna ran into financial troubles and went into foreclosure. Since then, numerous buyers were never able to restore the company to its once glorious past image... mostly because the founder (Dan Hanna) was the dynamo that made everything tick... and his talent has yet to be matched. Sadly for many of us, Dan Hanna passed away a number of years ago as a result of cancer.

Continue to seek out Fred or Turk. Fred owns a carwash in Colorado and I think he still lives in Boulder.

Good Luck...


reply by KeithThomas over 7 years ago


I have looked at baker industries website of 184 Pennsylvanie Avenue, Board of Directors But Turk is not listed. I have emailed Fred several times and no joy at getting Shermans details. Do you know the area of the United States Sherman were based in the 1950's so that I can contact a reference public library to see if they have any details on that company.

Keith Thomas

reply by SMOKUN over 7 years ago

Sherman has always been in Palmyra, New Jersey. However, Chem Therm was located in Monrovia, California until it was consolidated with Sherman Supersonic, eventually Sherman Industries.

Turk is President, not a Director. Contact the company and get his email. Fred is probably in Las Vegas attending the ICA show. Check with the Venitian in Vegas and see if he's staying there.

reply by buda over 7 years ago

Keith I have contacted Fred Grauer directly for you and it is possible he is not getting your emails.

Is there a particular reason you are looking for the history of a company that has been out of business for near 20 years?

As I recall, Sherman was taken over by a Texas financial group. And, after the creditors brought Hanna out of bankruptcy and begin operating the company (minus Dan Hanna) the Texas group approached the "new" Hanna company to purchase it which they did and for a short time it was called, Hanna-Sherman, but within a year they dropped the Sherman name and equipment line and most of the Sherman distributors and that was the end of a glorious reign for that company.

This group operated Hanna for over 10 years and then sold to another financial group in Portland called the Alpine Group and they operated Hanna for a year or so and then sold to Jim Coleman Company and they moved it, lock, stock and barrel, to Texas.

Bud Abraham

reply by kdoyle over 7 years ago

I would talk with Scott Baright in NY. He visited Sherm Larson (founder of Sherman) in New Jersey a few years ago. Sherm is in his 90's and as far as I know he is still living.

There was also a manuscript written by the former president of the ICA, Gus Trantham. He is a real estate broker now: I've read through the manuscript and it describes Sherman's start in detail (as far as I know).

reply by KeithThomas over 6 years ago

Hi I have left the research but after telephoning Sherman LArsons wife a few months ago and writing I did not get a reply. I have instead got copies of the old Auto Laundry News via the Library of congress I heard that Sherman Larson Died in February obviously was too ill to respond to my letter regards.

keith thomas

reply by KeithThomas over 6 years ago

The pciture of their car wash I have is from 1958 and 1961. Looked very much like Wilson Chem Therm etc. They looked like copies of each other

You could leave a reply if you were logged in.