Chrome first hit the streets towards the end of the NCAA ’10 season. The chrome was donned by the likes of Kimmel, Jamieson, and Flanagan. MLL swordsmen also picked up the chrome dipped spoons – Berger, Danowski, and Schwartzman to name a few.
The company behind the trending topic is Mueller Corp. The Boston Cannons’ Justin Smith is the man behind the brand, which is changing up the aesthetics of the game. We got the inside scoop straight from the horse’s mouth in a one-on-one interview.
Lax Playground: In what capacity are you involved with the chrome heads popping up everywhere?
Justin Smith: I am in charge of bringing in new business. I came up with the idea while working for adrenaline back in 2009. We have one of the best facilities in the world to chrome. Some of our biggest clients include Loreal, Mag Lite, Revlon, and many of the government’s police/fire/ambulance lighting companies. We also work with industries such as wireless and telecommunications, electronics,medical, military, and aerospace. It started with a simple Cascade helmet, and has progressed to lacrosse heads, golf tees (coming out Jan 2011), baseball equipment, hockey, biking, etc. We were founded in 1955 and have become a world leader in vacuum metalizing.
LPG: When did you get the idea to coat heads with chrome?
JS: April 2009. Researched, developed, sampled, sampled, and more sampled. After about 4 months in R&D and in the lab, we finally came up with the perfect formula.
LPG: What type of materials are used in order to make the chrome?
JS: Top Secret !
LPG: How many coats are used on the actual head in order for it to last over a long period of time?
JS: There’s a multi step process that makes it happen. One coat of “chrome” and other steps which make our product adhere and give it durability.
LPG: What’s the actual process like? Do you dip the head in a batch of liquid chrome? The kids want to know.
JS: The process is very technical. It’s only 5 microns or 50,000 angstroms thick. Thinner than a human hair, which eliminates lines and provides excellent and perfect attenuation. There’s no dipping,liquid,or painting. Our facility has ten of millions in tooling and chambers, some of the best engineering in the industry, and a group of people that have been in the business for over 50 years to make the final end product.
LPG: We first noticed players playing with chrome heads during the NCAA season. Was that a test run for the chrome?
JS: No, this was me trying to get the product in the hands of the right people. It wasn’t a matter of do we need to test it to see If people would like or not like it, because I already knew they would. It was a matter of we need to build this so the public demand is high.
LPG: When will we be seeing chrome heads on shelves in retail stores?
JS: Fall 2010 at SELECT retailers only like South Swell, Lax Hut, Dicks, etc.
LPG: What’s the life expectancy of the actual chrome coating on the head?
JS: Just like a dyed head or any shaft. The more abuse and wear and tear and the more noticeable the markings will be. I’ve used only ONE all season in the MLL with the Boston Cannons and haven’t had any issues. A chrome clutch 2X.
LPG: How many color combinations are there?
JS: Infinite. we can do any Pantone under the sun. It depends on what colors the manufacturers will offer to the public. We will start doing custom team orders but not until early 2011. Email me directly for any inquire about custom team orders JustinS@muellercorp.com.
LPG: Is there any advantage or disadvantage to using chrome?
JS: All aesthetic. My philosophy was always look good, feel good, play good.
LPG: Do goalies have problems stopping shots from chrome heads?
JS: No, this is a myth.
LPG: HAHA. How many pro players use them? Who should we keep an eye on in the near future?
JS: We got it on about 6 guys in the MLL this year, and about 10 or so in the NCAA. Look for most of the NCAA teams, mens’ and women’s, rocking their school colors in chrome this spring! Thanks Lax Playground! You all rock, keep it up.
Feel free to check more Chromed out heads HERE…