Have you ever looked at a part and thought: “Hmmm, wonder why or how that was invented?”
I thought that when I saw the V-Band or Marman Ring Clamp which we use in performance exhaust systems. The clamp holds two flanged tubes together tightly preventing leaks. With a bit of research I learn that the aerospace industry uses them almost exclusively. They are used in spaceflight systems and are common mechanical load-transfer and clamping mechanisms for connecting the upper stage and the satellite payload of space vehicles. They are also used to join stages of a booster rocket.
Here is a detailed tech article about how the Marman Clamp works and what makes it so extraordinary. CLICK HERE.
Pretty cool huh? But, how did it come to be?
The Marman Clamp was designed and developed by the Marman Products Company, Inc. in Inglewood, California in 1941. Marman Products made clamping devices and strapes. During World War II the Marman Clamp aw produced and used to secure cargo during transport and was also used to support the Atomic Bomb on the Enola Gay. Another common use was a quick-disconnect on wide-diameter fuel lines.
Interesting to think too that this important tool used in almost all vehicles today was designed by a comedian. Well, the straight man and younger brother of the Marx Brothers. Yep, that Marx Brothers. Herbert “Zeppo” Marx, not happy with his straightman gig was also a very adept engineer. He worked as a mechanic for Ford Motor Company. He had no desire for the show-business career, but his mother Minnie Marx insisted that he replace “Gummo” Marx when he was enlisted in the Army in 1918 for WWI. Zeppo continued in the vaudeville, Broadway and first five Marx Brothers movies as the straightman and romantic lead until he left in 1933 just a year after the team appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.
Besides the Marman Clamp, Marman Products also produced a motorcycle called the Marman Twin in 1948 and 1949. Essentially a Jack & Heinz Aircraft drone engine from WWII mounted on a Schwinn MP97 bicycle.
Thanks for reading about the non-descript Marman or V-Clamp. Stay tuned for more history of some of the regular items we have in our toolboxes and garages. In the meantime, be sure to stock up on your exhaust hardware.