Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Midland Tar Distillers

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of Cannon Street, Birmingham. Works at: Banbury, Birmingham, Chesterton, Leicester, Oldbury, Spondon, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton.

1857 The company was founded, one of the first British tar distillers. Its products included coal tar chemicals, creosote, disinfectants, foundry pitch, liquid fuels, naphthas, protective coatings, road tars, and solvents.

The raw material, coal, would have originally been transported from the nearby coalfields along the canal. Coal tar is a by-product of the carbonisation of coal and is produced by heating coal in a closed retort. Approximately 10 to 15 gallons of coal tar were produced from each ton of coal.

1881 On the Ordnance Survey map, the site is shown in two halves: the upper half marked as a chemical works, which would have been Midland Tar Distillers, and the lower half an iron tube works, which was Edwin Lewis' gas tube factory.

It appears that at a later date the whole site was occupied by Midland Tar Distillers.

1922 British Industries Fair Advert for some of the manufactures: - Benzonle; Toluol; Pyridine; Carbolic Acid; Cresylic Acid; Refined Tar; Solvent Naphtha; Heavy Naphtha; Naphthalene; Anthracene; Creosote; Road Materials, comprising Tarvia, Spraying Tar, Grouting Tar, Pitch, Pitch Coke, Pitch Grease; Compound Fertilisers for Agricultural and Horticultural use; Bone Manures; Sulphate of Ammonia; Superphosphates; Potash Materials; Renowned Multiple Brands of Manures and Insecticides; Fruit Tree Washes; Fruit Tree Banding Material; Disinfectants; Robinson's Lysol; Weed Killers; Garden Syringes; Spraying Machines for all Purposes; Agricultural Machinery. Synthite, Formaldehyde 40%. (Stand No. A.24) [1]

1923 Acquired Lewis Demuth and Co

By the late 1940s, the company had become part of the Midland Tar Distillers' Organisation with their head office at Oldbury.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert clix; and p55
  • [1] Wolverhampton Heritage and History Society