EBT Virtual Tour
General Refractories

Mile Mark: 0.20
Elevation: 590'
Date Built: 1900
Published Photos: EBT 75, 129, 166

This refractory was built in 1900-1901 as the Mount Union Silica Brick Company. It's proprietor, Scott Deibert, was a partner in the Hawes plant, but broke with them in a dispute over the sale of that plant. MUSBCo had its ganister hauled by the Pennsylvania RR from Mapleton, just upstream, and used RI&C coal. It later hauled ganister on the EBT from its quarry in Stanton, just north of Neelyton on the Shade Gap Branch. The plant was later purchased by General Refractories (GRefCo). It was the first refractory in Mt. Union to close, in December 1953. A dual gauge spur leaving the EBT main just north of the yard, crossed Shirley Street and served the plant for coal, ganister and brick.

Refractories are materials highly resistant to heat and are usually used in industries such as steelmaking where very hot liquids are handled. In the case of the Mount Union refractory plants, they manufactured refractory materials out of ganister rock, a sandstone with a high concentration of quartz (silicon dioxide). The ganister was crushed into a powder and mixed with a bonding agent like fireclay and could then be formed into the appropriate shapes. The 'bricks' could be made in any shape needed and then were stacked and cooked for several days in large kilns to drive out all the moisture. The result was a hard material capable of resisting intense heat.

The plant was demolished and there are few recognizable remains. It stood on the site of the current baseball fields. The spur was removed sometime after the plant closed. General Refractories Company was purchased by A. P. Green Refractories in 1994, which was in turn purchased by Harbison-Walker Refractories Company in 1998. RHI Industries subsequently purchased Harbison Walker from its parent company, Global Industries. In 2000, In 2000, RHI Industries merged Harbison Walker Refractories and North American Refractories, which it had also acquired, to form RHI Refractories America.

HAER info at the Library of Congess site> HAER info at the Library of Congess site>

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