Pantyhose last longer, seeds germinate faster, piano strings hold their tune better, golf balls travel further—it would seem there is nothing that a few hours at -300 degrees Fahrenheit won’t improve. That’s the discovery of physicist Jeff Levine and mechanical engineer Bruce Norian, who started Applied Cryogenics, Newton Upper Falls, Mass., eight years ago to improve cutting tools by exposing them to extreme cold. Norian had observed that the Gillette company of South Boston, Mass. also believed in the big chill; the razor blade manufacturer was even shipping its tooling and wear parts out to the Midwest for cryogenic processing. So Norian rightly concluded that a local firm might be able to attract Gillette’s business. With $10,000, he and Levine founded the company—and in less than 18 months they saws profit.

For approximately $7.00 per pound, Norian and Levine will take drills, saws, knives, and the like down to -300...

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