Varflex Today

Quality You Can Rely On, Lifelong Service You Can Trust

Through the years, Varflex has pioneered major developments in electrical insulated sleeving. Varflex was the first to braid fiberglass sleeving and the first to use silicone varnishes on fiberglass sleeving. 

Some of the company's greatest recognitions for sleeving innovation came as a result of it's efforts on the proximity fuse during WWII. Varflex developed sleeving for vital roles in many aircrafts and electrical equipment for the United States Armed Forces, as well as, sleevings for radios and radar equipment, dynamotors, aircraft generators and electrical apparatus used by the United States Navy. Since then, the company has expanded applications beyond just the military.

Varflex is a company where we stand by "100% of Profits to Charity." In the simplest terms, when we say 100% of profits, we mean what is left over after normal business expenses are deducted from all the income derived from sales. Since 2015, Varflex has contributed over $3.5 million to various organizations across Central NY.    

 

Electrical insulated sleevings are an essential component of any electrical machine, motor or appliance. In response to customer demand within these vast market areas, Varflex has developed an array of insulated sleevings that are available in a variety of sizes, colors, in coils, cut lengths or on spools. Varflex manufactures sleevings that are suitable for high and low temperatures, high and low voltages, as well as for abrasive and other physically demanding applications and hostile environments. From a company that started with 12 employees, it has grown into over 150 employees and expanded to over 200,000 square feet of facility.

 

In June 2017, Varflex achieved ISO 9001:2015 registration by NSF-ISR.

Our most recent expansion includes adding a second facility to expand our Twist & Ply operations. At Twist & Ply, we have the capability to take single-strand yarns composed of continuous, multi-filament fibers and increase the desired design diameter as well as tensile strength. At Twist & Ply, we can take single strands of yarn and ply multiple strands together before heading down the road to our winding & braiding departments. 

To meet worldwide demand from both industrial and commercial applications, Varflex markets its products through a network of sales representatives and distributors located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Far East. Varflex maintains life-long relationships with many of its customers by continuing to supply them with the highest-quality electrical insulated sleevings and exceptional service.

 

1924 Historical Events

February

First Modern Winter Olympics in France & The First Time Rhapsody in Blue Aired

May

Varflex Corporation was founded on May 24th

September

Two U.S. Army Planes completed the first round-the-world trip in 175 days, making 74 stops and covering about 27,550 miles.

November

First Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

Varflex 1960's

The History of Varflex

Driven by Quality Products & Lifelong Customer Service

Like any great company, it started with not much more than a dream, little assists and a lot of ambition. In 1924 radios were starting to be produced in the US, so two brothers, Charles A. & R. Harry Jenny & their brother-in-law James E. Griffin from Rome, NY saw a need for the USA to begin manufacturing what use to be known as “spaghetti tubing” only being produced in Germany at the time.

On May 24, 1924, Varflex Corporation was born; the “var” standing for varnished and the “flex" standing for flexible.

The original Varflex operation was set up in a small room, adjoining an auto repair garage owned by Charles A. Jenny & James E. Griffin. For about 15 years, the partners worked part time between Varflex and the auto repair, they grew slowly but large enough to push the auto repair onto the streets. Fiberglass was slowly becoming available in yarn form, not yet being produced to any great extent. Varflex developed a fiberglass sleeving and in 1939, at the New York World’s Fair, the fiberglass braid produced by Varflex was displayed next to Owens-Corning with a model wearing a dress made of fiberglass cloth.

In 1940, Charles A. Jenny & James E. Griffin assumed full ownership of the company and from there it was a story of steady, healthy expansion. In January of 1942, two days after a completed office remodel, a tragic fire occurred destroying the entire plant and newly renovated office. Everything was a total loss, the cause was never known, although it was suspected that spontaneous combustion occurred in a pile of freshly saturated cotton sleeving. 

Months before the fire, the corporation purchased an old frame building that was once a canning factory dating back to the 1800’s, turned textile factory manufacturing men and women’s clothing. The factory was located a few blocks away from the original plant and at that time Varflex used part of the building to store braiding machines. The day after the fire, the company went to work with the few personnel they had, for months they worked hard until deliveries could be obtained. Three office employees worked at old kitchen tables; they were fortunate enough to buy two typewriters at the time. Mr. Griffin, was able to put together some crude equipment for coating lightly varnished cotton sleeving in a matter of one week after the fire.

In the summer of 1965, the plant was cut into half and the original 150-year-old building only a frame in the center at the time, was demolished. Through the years prior, the corporation slowly expanded with a large fire proof building and later in 1973 with a newly renovated office. Mr. Griffin worked his entire life at Varflex passing away on January 13, 1969 and Mr. Jenny worked until his passing on April 16. 1974.

 

The legacy of the company continued with the next generation; Dorothy and William Griffin. Dorothy left teaching in 1941 and returned home to Varflex to learn the ropes of the business.  Dorothy worked her entire life at Varflex later becoming President until she passed at the age of 100 in 2015. At the age of 18, Bill joined the United States Navy, attained rank of Aviation Ordnance Man Second Class and saw action as a gunner aboard a Naval PBY amphibious aircraft. After an honorable discharge, Bill returned home to work for the family company later becoming VP until his passing in 2019. Dorothy Griffin and Bill Griffin were pillars of the Rome community. The Griffin siblings established Varflex Corporation as 100% of profits are donated to charities throughout the local community. For more information visit our Griffin Foundation.