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History of Haydite and
the Expanded Shale Industry

Natural lightweight aggregates have been used to make lightweight concrete since the days of the early Greeks and Romans, but it was not until the discovery of expanded shale, manufactured by the rotary kiln process, that a lightweight aggregate with sufficient strength and quality would be available for use in demanding reinforced concrete structural applications. This rotary kiln process of making lightweight aggregate was developed by Stephen Hayde in the early 1900's in Kansas City, Missouri.


The Pantheon, Rome - Lightweight Concrete Dome

The first significant use of "Haydite" was in the construction of the hulls of several liberty ships in World War I. This application was very successful and was continued in the second World War. Hayde's first permanent production plant was built in Kansas City, and the first major commercial use was the expansion of the Southwestern Bell office building, built in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928. By using Haydite lightweight concrete in the floors and lightweight concrete brick in the walls, the engineers found that they could save 9 million pounds of dead load in the addition. This allowed them to add 14 stories to the building, rather than just the 8 stories that the building could support using normal weight concrete. Hayde patented the process and licensed the production to numerous other producers. Thus the name "Haydite" was born.


Launching of U.S.S. Selma, June, 1919, Mobile, Alabama.

From these modest beginnings the rotary kiln expanded shale industry has grown tremendously, and now there are production plants located throughout the United States and the world. Our New Market, Missouri plant evolved directly from Hayde's original production plant in Kansas City.

New uses are constantly being developed for this versatile material, such as low density geotechnical fill and use as a biological filtration medium.


Addition to Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. building
Kansas City, MO - 1928.