Found on the site of the old Manuel Brickworks, Whitecross.

Ian Suddaby states – A KROMAG brick was found last weekend and I thought this was an American import to Scotland. That was based on the Kromag name being registered to an American company, E. J. Lavino & Co. and a picture of a near identical brick on a website for Californian bricks. But, in his book ‘Stein Of Bonnybridge’ (1985), Kenneth Sanderson describes the development of basic bricks at the Manuel Brickworks in Scotland. He states that chrome-magnesite bricks were replacing silica bricks in the side walls of open-hearth furnaces and that J. G. Stein agreed to pay royalties to both General Refractories and E. J. Lavino & Co. in respect of their Patents for chrome-magnesite bricks. He further states that production of these bricks started at Manuel in April 1938 using chrome ore from Cuba or the Philippines and magnesite from Manchuria. Orders were secured from Colvilles Steelmakers in Britain but post-war, the development of steel-cased bricks changed the production focus again.

Below – The second photo shows where the bricks were found at Manuel. Layers containing burnt (used) bricks aren’t common there and it might be that this layer represents an early test of the Kromag bricks, the other firebricks are almost all STEIN GLASGOW which were phased out in the early 1940s.

Below – A superior quality stamp was found by Ian Suddaby at the same location.

Below – Found at the same location by Ian Suddaby. This is believed to be some form of chrome ore and was probably sourced from either Cuba or the Philippines and used in Chrome-Magnesia (KROMAG) bricks. Made initially it seems by E J Lavino & Co of California and later (1937) by J G Stein in Scotland.


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