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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
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.