Carborundum Co, Trafford Park, Manchester

Graces Guide

1891 –  After Edward Goodrich Acheson tried to make artificial diamond, he then accidentally developed silicon carbide, also known as carborundum. He formed a company in Monongehela, Pennsylvania, which he called Carborundum, to exploit his invention as an abrasive.

1895 – The company moved to Niagara Falls, NY.

1950 – Carborundum bought Canada Sandpapers, Inc., which had developed aluminum oxide stearated paper products, widely used in the automotive trade.

1966 – Acquired W. T. Copeland and Sons

British subsidiary: Carborundum Co

Carbofrax® is a registered trademark used for Furnace-Linings, Fire Bricks and Blocks, and Bulk Material For Use In Making the Same and owned by Saint Gobain Advanced Ceramics Corporation, Carborundum Company, One New Bond StreetWorcester, Ma 01615-0137 US.

In use in 1914


Info – Company profile (American side) including  “The first refractories – Carbofrax and Refrax – were soon joined by such trademarks as Silfrax, Mullfrax, Firefrax, and others”

From Jim Graves – IBCA – CARBOFRAX is an American brick. It was made by the Carborundum Co. at their Perth Amboy, NJ plant circa 1920-1939.


Below –  1970’s burned and torn invoices from a rubbish heap at J G Steins Brickworks, Manuel, Whitecross. One of the invoices is for Carbofrax silicon carbide tapbricks to DRG F594682 – 3

So Stein was either making a product by the same name as Carborundum Co or they were, for some reason purchasing such bricks to sell on.

One other possibility is that AP Green, Missouri was somehow involved. Green and Stein were believed to be good friends. The men were never really competitors but their companies were to some extent especially when Green bought Liptak in 1932 and later set up A P Green Refractories in England. So was Green ever involved with Carborundum Co and the Carbofrax bricks were sold onto Stein for onward trading?

Stein Invoice carborfrax

Directory of clay products 1961 / 62 page 18 refers to Carborundum Co, Trafford Park Manchester and Walls Mill Lane, Rainford, St Helens, England. Silicon carbide and Fused Alumina super refractories. Trade names Carbofrax, Alfrax and Refrax – so the Carbofrax A brick detailed here may not have come from the USA but instead, it is likely to have been manufactured in England and this is corroborated by the following:-

In 1913 a new subsidiary, The Carborundum Company Ltd., was formed in Manchester, England.

1951 – Carborundum Co Ltd, Trafford Park, Manchester, 17. T.A., “Carborund, Phone, Manchester”. T.N., Trafford Park 2381 (10 lines). London Branch: Romney House, Marsham Street, Westminster, S.W.1. T.N., ABBey 6413 and 5181. Established in 1905.
Abrasive, refractory and crucible materials.
Trade Names: Carbofrax; Alfrax; Carborundum Brand; Aloxite Brand.
See Advertisement, page 395.

Below – Found Inverkeithing Firth of Forth, Scotland.

Below – K 5 or K S Carbofrax found by Ian Suddaby in Falkirk.



Below – The following examples of abrasive products were found on the old site of the Manuel Brickworks, Whitecross.

The smaller examples are all different sizes, this may have been due to wearing away during their working life but they actually look like different shapes. They both bear the same stencilling to the ‘front’ -‘ SIC A 7291 Product by Carborundum’.

Below – The products above have further stencilling to a side face. It is difficult to make out the numbers and letters but it probably reads as per Ian Suddaby’s nice example below. It was found at the same location.


Below – A lovely example found by Ian Suddaby at the same location.


With regard to the small products above, Alex Steven states – The smaller ones fitted around a large maybe 5-foot diameter wheel … this was used to ” buff ” the bricks to the correct size. It was a noisy job done in the ” buffs ” department. There were various machines for cutting and planing. They were used by the hundred.

Below – 1938 – Advert – Grace’s Guide.

Below – 1969 – Grace’s Guide – Mentions further trademarks – Carbofraxm Alfrax, Durafrax, Silfrax, Refrax and Fibrefrax.

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