Vereeniging Brick and Tile Company Limited
Fire clay deposits were found under the seams of coal at Sammy Marks's Bedworth Colliery and in 1890, the first bricks were manufactured from these deposits. By 1894, fire-clay bricks were made and supplied to the CAPE GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS to line the fire-boxes of locomotives and domestic bricks were dispatched to the diamond mines and township of Kimberley. The production of bricks was conducted as an ancillary operation of the coal mining company owned by the Vereeniging Estates Limited until 1903 when the Vereeniging Brick and Tile Company Limited was registered. The Vereeniging Brick and Tile Company's chief products were building bricks, paving and Klompje bricks, fire bricks and fire clay goods, salt glazed stoneware pipes and fittings for sewerage schemes, agricultural drain tiles, silica and magnesite bricks, roofing tiles, floor tiles, insulators, wine jars, acid jars and acid proof ware. Roofing tiles on the Railway Station (1908) and later Union Government Buildings (1910) in Pretoria were supplied by the Vereeniging Brick and Tile Company, both projects designed by Herbert BAKER, although the projects were managed by the then PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT of the TRANSVAAL COLONY, the specifications by Baker of South African manufactured products possibly having been responsible for stimulating the growth of this manufacturing endeavour. The necessary clays for the manufacture of all goods were found upon the property of the Vereeniging Estates, in practically inexhaustible quantities, being of a high quality. The Company's Works were served by their own branch railway lines and locomotive.
The Brick Works possessed 19 clay firing kilns with an output capacity of 750,000 bricks per month. Large contracts had been supplied, the more important municipalities and public bodies throughout South Africa.
It was only in 1937, when amorphous silica bricks were made for the first time at the Vereeniging works, that the manufacture of refractories received serious attention. Vereeniging Refactories was founded and the company's continued expansion accompanied the phenomenal growth of the steel, metallurgical and engineering industries in South Africa, and many extensions and major additions were made to the Vereeniging plant. Refractories are produced as bricks, blocks and holloware in different shapes and sizes and supplied to numerous industries wherever heat is used and abrasion and acid resistance is required.
In 1946, the Vereeniging Brick and Tile became a public company within the Anglo American Corporation Group. In 1967, the name of the company was changed to Vereeniging Refractories Limited. In 2001, Anglo sold off its interest in Vereeniging Refractories to an investment group and Verref became an independant company. Vereeniging Refractories is the oldest and largest refractories manufacturer in Africa. It is a broad based supplier of refractory bricks and monolithics (something created in one piece) to the domestic and export markets.
Vereeniging Tiles Ltd, installed the first double action line production tile machine. Over the years Vereeniging Tiles Ltd expanded dramatically and Coverland Roof Tiles was formed in 1976 by the merger of four major concrete roof tile manufacturers. In December 1998 Coverland Roof Tiles joined forces with Lafarge Roofing. In 2006 Lafarge Roofing acquired 100% of the Kulu Group business, the third largest concrete tile producer in South Africa. Lafarge sold Lafarge Roofing to private investors. The business began operations as an independent company, under the name MONIER Ltd. MONIER Roofing South Africa operates under the brand name Coverland.
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