Sea Foam was initially developed for the outboard motor and marine market back in the 1930s. The inventor, Fred Fandrei, owned an outboard motor and it seemed as though every time he went fishing he would have engine trouble. The problems always stemmed from the gas and oil mixture, which became gummy and formed varnish between uses.
The thought of spending more time fishing than working on the motor prompted Fred, who was a District Manager for the Sinclair Refining Company at that time and had a good knowledge of fuel, to invent a product that would stop the gas/oil mixture from becoming stale. He worked with quite a few formulas before he finally found one that gave him the right results. His first test market was at Lake Freeman, in Indiana, near where he lived. When he went fishing, he would take along his formula in beer bottles and quart jars to sell to other fishermen.
Inspired by the products popularity, Fred decided to give it a name and put it on the market. His search for a name ended when a fellow fisherman who had moved to Florida called him and asked him to send some of that “Sea Foam” stuff. Fred liked the sound of it, so he christened his formula Sea Foam.
He began to advertise Sea Foam in such magazines as Field and Stream and Outdoor Life and as each order came in, he would affix a label to the product’s container and mail it out. Evinrude Outboard Motor Co. heard about Sea Foam and tested it for a full year and endorsed it nationally. Another well-known outboard motor company, Martin Motors, endorsed the product nationally, after it solved a big problem in the poppet valves of their outboard motors.
Sea Foam became trademarked in 1942. About this time, a new job as District Sales Manager for Maremont Automotive Product’s took the Fandrei family to Minneapolis. Here, the market shifted from marine to automotive and the product’s label was changed to read Sea Foam Auto Marine.