Established in 1899, Alexandra Brickworks was the first brickyard in Singapore to produce bricks using modern machinery on a large scale. Iconic public buildings like the former National Library at Stamford Road, Tiong Bahru SIT flats and Gillman Barracks were built with these bricks. Below – “This 1956 photograph of Alexandra Brickworks show 3 tall…
General Refractories Limited, Sheffield, England and Scottish connections.
Below – 1930‘s – Advert for Dykehead firebricks as manufactured by General Refractories.
Below – 23/07/1937 – South Yorkshire Times – Reference to Saxpyre bricks.
Firebricks:—Glenboig, White Carr, Castlecary, Gem, Stour, Gartcosh, Dykehead, Llagennech.
Insulating materials:—Fosalsil, Economite, Super and Insulite Bricks.
Silica bricks:—Meltham, Lowood, Allen and Bawtry Bricks.
Plastic refractories:—Durax No. 1, Durax No. 2, Pyrocrete, Rotaline, Glendoline.
Cements:—Sintex, Pyrolyte, Durax No. 3.
Sands:—Mintlyn, Somerford, Harperley, K.L. Silica, Bramcote, Zenith, etc., etc.
Below – 23/03/1967 – The Glasgow Herald.
The following products are taken from a GR – Stein Refractories Ltd leaflet with an unknown date.
“Refractories for the lime industry”
Contex 60 – High fired magnesite chrome
Contex Msg CSD – High fired magnesite chrome
Spinella CN – Fired magnesite chrome
High Alumina Refractories
Numax – Aluminous firebrick
Stein 45D – Aluminous firebrick
Sillmax 55 – Fired high alumina
Sillmax 63 – Fired high alumina
Stein 63 – Fired high alumina
Stein 70D – Fired high alumina
Nettle D – Dense 42% alumina firebrick
Nettle A1 – Dense 42% alumina firebrick
Thistle – 35 – 372% alumina firebrick
(Note: – Davison’s specialised in refractory and acid-resistant bricks. Charles Davison’s Ewloe Barn Brick and Tile Works and Old Ewloe works were active from 1933 to 1951, and was later merged with General Refractories Ltd, and then taken over by the firm of G. R. Stein Ltd. The site closed in 1967.)
Alumantine 70/72 – Fired high alumina
Alumantine 60/65 – Fired high alumina
Alumantine 43/45 – Fired high alumina
Alumantine 40/43 – Fired high alumina
Hysilyn – Dense 28% alumina firebrick
Adamantine – Dense 25% alumina firebrick
Selfrac 23 – Hot face insulating brick. ASTM C155 Group 23. 1260c
Amberlite S43 – Solid grade Diatomic
Amberlite 43 – Solid grade Diatomic
Amberex HT – Calcium silicate ‘back up’ insulation
Pyrolyte cement – Basic jointing cement
Sillmax AS Cement – High alumina jointing cement
Stein High Alumina AS Cement – High alumina jointing cement
Maksiccar 11 Cement – Aluminous jointing cement
Selfrac AS Cement – Insulation jointing cement
Durax C1350 – Coarse-grained concrete
Durax C1600 – Coarse-grained low iron concrete
Durax AR GM – Abrasion-resistant gunning concrete
Durax 1700GM – High alumina gunning concrete
Durax BF Gun Mix – Low iron gunning concrete
Amberlite 50/GM – Lightweight insulating concrete
Amberlite 50P/GM – Lightweight gunning concrete
Amberlite 90 – Medium-weight insulation castable
Pumpsul VH35 – Lightweight insulating concrete for installation pumping
Stein 45 Plastic – Heat setting aluminous plastic
Stein 73 Plastic – Heat setting aluminous plastic
The following products are taken from a leaflet with an unknown date.
Tar Bonded and Toughened
GR Carbon A
GR Carbon AB
GR Carbon B
GR Carbon C
Storage Heater Blocks
New Formula Makset
Chrome – Mag
Aluminous Hydraulic Concretes
Aluminous Hydraulic Gun Mixes
Basic Gun Mixes
Insulating Gun Mixes
Ram Mixes and Plastic
Taphole and Trough Clays
Below – Another little undated, resume of the company from a brochure
Manuel, Castlecary, Star and Chapelhall Works
Refractories play a vital part in heat-using industries all over the world. Key industries such as iron and steel, cement, glass, petrochemicals and power generation depend upon refractories for lining furnaces, which operate at temperatures up to 2000c.
To keep pace with rapidly changing industrial user technology, the refractories industry has deployed large capital investment in highly mechanised plant and machinery. Production methods have been streamlined with a precise degree of technical control never before achieved. Research and development facilities are able to withstand severe conditions such as chemical and slag attack and thermal shock.
GR-Stein Refractories Limited (a member of the Hepworth Ceramics Group) is one of the world’s leading refractory manufacturers with 13 plants throughout the UK, making over 300 refractory products. Over 2,000 people work in the company’s Scottish works, which comprises four production plants – Manuel, Castlecary, Star and Chapelhall.
Situated on an 87-acre site near Linlithgow, Manuel is one of the largest plants of its type in the works, with an annual production capacity of nearly 200,000 tons.
Manuel was built in 1928, primarily to manufacture a high-quality firebrick from a newly developed high-quality fireclay seam in the area. Today, the plant also manufactures large tonnage of high alumina and basic refractories, mostly from imported raw materials. Approximately 1,000 people at Manuel produce exports to 85 overseas countries.
The Castlecary plant is situated in the Central Scotland industrial belt between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Castlecary, like Manuel, is based on a local fireclay mine which provides the raw material for the production of firebricks, phosphate bonded refractories and a wide range of Tenemax domestic storage heater blocks.
(Harley Marshall, who used to work at the Castlecary works remembers storage and electric heater blocks being made for Electrolux, Elux and Belling and a heavy, high percentage iron content block called Feolite. All these blocks were marked with the customer’s name and not the manufacturer eg, not Stein etc). Kenneth Sanderson was at one point manager of the production of storage heater bricks. He also remembers Castlecary producing many fire bricks for use by the Kenyan Railways)
In addition, Castlecary manufactures refractory cements and monoliths, including mouldables, gun mixes, ram mixes and concretes.
Employing approximately 540 people Castlecary is the HQ of GR-Stein’s Scottish operations and handles all the company’s exports.
Employing over 200 people, Star Works is situated at Glenboig, near Glasgow. Like Manuel and Castlecary, Star is based on a high-quality fireclay seam and produces a range of products that are complementary to Manuel and Castlecary output.
Chapelhall Works near Airdrie has approximately 50 employees. It is a plant that makes a vitally important contribution to the Northern Division’s output, by manufacturing refractory bricks, castables and mouldables.
Information from John Bramall regarding product pricing at Gr Stein
It’s worth noting that GR-Stein UK prices were always £ per piece or £ per 1000 pieces usually delivered to UK site though the cheaper products (Scottish firebricks mainly but also some monolithic products too) were priced in relation to haulage distance – so Nettle D would be cheaper in Scotland than the Midlands and the Midlands were cheaper than the South East, Wales etc. I think there were about 6 delivery regional prices. Small lots, of say, 1 pallet would be sold as an ex-works packed price with haulage charges at cost on top.
Export prices were always £ per tonne. This is because sea (and air) freight is charged by weight.
So an export job might be quoted as £xxx per tonne, packed, ex-works plus shipping at cost. Sometimes GR-S would quote prices FOB UK port. FOB = Free On Board. So the overseas customer has to arrange and pay for sea freight costs with GR-S paying (but included the price) for transport to the docks and cranage on to the designated ship. You can imagine that an overseas customer wouldn’t have a clue what the cost of haulage is inside the UK! For some export orders, there would be extra charges for crates as opposed to shrink-wrapped – depended upon destination and customer requirements. You’ve got to remember some goods were shipped to some 3rd world destinations e.g. Zambian copper mines, Chile likewise, sugar mills on tropical islands, new steelworks in jungles in Brazil.
When an order is received it goes through accounts/credit control to see if GR-S will accept the order or agree on other terms with the customer.
If it’s an export order there would normally have been a reference to an export credit insurer at the quotation stage and their cost would have been added into the quoted price – might add c. 5% to the prices. So when the order is received then GR-S would get the export insurers confirmation that the same terms (or other) apply. Remember it could be 6 months or more between tender and order.
At GR-S in 1975, it was all ‘mainframe’ computer order processing. So if you got the manually prepared quotation right and it was accepted by the customer then it was straight forward. Put the order on to the system as a ‘master’ document – that created an ‘Order Acknowledgment’ that went to the customer; a ‘works order’ that went to the works; office copies to the head office sales office, regional sales office and a copy to the order progress section at Head Office. So everyone knew what was on order, when it was due for delivery and allowed the order progress people to check it got made on time.
As products were made, packed and cleared for shipping a new set of documents was created based on the original computer docs to cover haulage, invoicing and accounts.
It was all very efficient.
UK sales were usually on open account – pay after 30 or 60 days from date of despatch or cash before despatch if a new customer or poor credit record.
The hard part was getting the enquiries; pricing up the jobs from drawings; winning the tenders; getting the products made on time and shipped out, then, getting paid!