Manuel Fire Brick and Refractory Works, Whitecross, Linlithgow, Stirlingshire

Manuel Works, Whitecross, Linlithgow, Stirlingshire.

  • Stein, Castlecary Fireclay Works, Castlecary, Stirlingshire.
  • Stein, Manuel Firebrick and Refractory Works, Whitecross, Stirlingshire.
  • Stein & Co, Anchor Brickworks, Denny, Stirlingshire.
  • Milnquarter Fireclay & Gannister Works, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire


Main pic – Sign at entrance to works.


Information by David Leask

Information – Falkirk Community Trust.

02/1928 – Work begins on draining the site.

Below – 23/02/1929  – Falkirk Herald – John G Stein annual social outing.

Below – 22/03/1930  – Falkirk Herald – The Manuel Works open.

Below – 04/04/1931 – Falkirk Herald – Employee’s reunion  – Annual gathering of employee’s of Messrs John G Stein & Co – Col Stein and the trade outlook.








10/04/1930 – The gas was lit in No 1 kiln and gas producer plant.

11/05/1930 – The first firebricks at Manuel are produced.

10/1931 – A second Harrop, USA kiln was started.

19/11/1931 – The Research Director, Dr Hyslop took out a patent (361, 166) with regard the process of oxidising the carbon in the Nettle clay at under 750 deg C to produce a low temperature calcine as the high carbon content of the clay limited the rate of burning the bricks. This process resulted in a greated density brick – branded NETTLE D.

06/1932 – The second Harrop, USA kiln was completed but due to lack of orders it was never lit until 10/1934.

1933 – 1943 – Dr Hyslop took out a further 4 patents covering different processes involved with the extraction of alumina from fireclay.

04/1938 – A 3rd Harrop, USA kiln was completed.

Below – 1944 – 1967 – Manuel Works.

01/07/1948 -No 4 kiln starts producing bricks.

Below – 24/07/1948 – Falkirk Herald – Government visit to Manuel Works. (Fourth biggest in world?).




17/11/1951 – Falkirk Herald – Clay Miners required. Wages for 5 3/4 days – £7 13s. This can be further increased by piece work. 12 days paid holidays per year at 27s per day. Experience not necessary. Hostel accommodation available. Apply Manager, John G Stein & Co Ltd, Manuel Mine nr Linlithgow.

06/1954 – Large scale production of Nettle D was started.

09/1956 – No 5 kiln was started and came into production the following year. It was used to fire high alumina or basic brick as required by the market. Bricks such as the high alumina brand Stein 73 were fired in this kiln.

1963 – No 6 kiln was built.

1965 – No 7 kiln was built.

24/05/1967 – An offer was made by General Refractories for John Stein and Co and this was accepted.   GR-Stein Refractories Ltd was formed by merger of John G. Stein and Co and General Refractories of Sheffield. (Note — SBH – Graces guide states this merger took place in 1970 ?).

28/11/1969 – GR-Stein became a subsidiary of Hepworth Ceramic Holdings Ltd.

1997 – Taken over by an American holding company – Alpine

1999 – Taken over by Cookson Group Plc – Vesuvius Premier

2001 – Works closed.


Some additional insight – Eric Flack states – From 1959-1965 I used to work for a consulting analytical chemists in Glasgow. They specialized in chrome ores amongst other things. Steins Manuel Works used to import Masinloc Chrome Ore ground to under 1/4 mesh. It came in 4,000 ton “lots” as ships ballast in the Ben Line-mainly. I would spend a few days each month sampling the ore. It went mainly by lorry to Whitecross and sometimes by rail; via the tippler at Manuel. The chrome was around 32-35% Cr203 and 20-25% Al2O3. They made a very heavy Chrome refractory brick. Stein also imported ilmenite from Rhodesia and Rhodesian Chrome. They sometimes bought Turkish chrome but it was not so good. But mainly Masinloc Chrome Ore.  Then went to work with British Steel where I did a weekend shifts-extra overtime- rebricking electric arc furnaces! With Steins chrome bricks!


Below – Date unknown – Aerial view of the Manuel Works.

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