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Vesuvius and the American Boom

In 1916, the American steel industry was booming. More and more Americans were demanding automobiles – some
2.5 million of them owned a car by 1916. And when the US entered the war, there was a surge in demand for domestic steel to produce armaments. Enter the Vesuvius Crucible Company, with a mission to produce the most effective clay graphite crucible for melting steel.
Founded in Pittsburgh by the Arensburg brothers and their friend Arthur Jackman, Vesuvius was well-placed to capitalise on the dramatic increase in steel production across the United States. By 1919, we were making developments in the stopper head category, with further innovations coming throughout the first half of the 20th century.

The birth of Foseco

In Birmingham, UK in 1932, Eric Weiss and Dr Kossy Strauss set up Foundry Services Ltd – the company that would become Foseco. Dr Strauss was a chemist, and with Eric Weiss on the commercial side, their mission was to provide products and services that truly supported the foundry industry. They began with six flux products that they improved iteratively as they learned more about their customers. In the 1940s, Foseco developed Feedex powder and Ferrux anti-piping covers, with more innovations and expansion overseas following.

1950 - 2000s

In the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 2000s, both Vesuvius and Foseco pioneered new generations of technology that would transform their sectors. Solutions such as Feedex sleeves that improve dramatically the productivity and quality of foundries, our fused silica crucible, the only process that can produce the polycrystalline silica that’s used in solar panels – and Viso, our isostatically pressed product that allows the continuous casting of steel. Or our fully automated robotic system to manage refractory tube insertion that both improves steel quality and reduces the risk of injury to workers. Throughout this time, the Vesuvius company grew exponentially as we set up offices and factories overseas and made acquisitions – Foseco and Flo-Con among others – that expanded our offer and presence around the world.


Innovating for the future

Today, with 17 research centres across the globe and an annual investment of £33.2 million in research and development, Vesuvius continues to lead innovation in our industry. From our origins in Pittsburgh to the establishment of our newly opened R&D centre for Advanced Refractories in Visakhapatnam in 2017, we have always innovated for our customers, anticipating the development of breakthrough technology and processes. Today, we are exploring new ways to integrate continuous data capture into our solutions to give our customers the insights they need.