We proudly celebrate seven decades of industry leadership—providing the highest quality, most innovative, and ecologically sound construction products available today.
The year was 1947. World War II was over and America was ready for a rebirth—poised for a construction boom of homes, schools, churches, roads, bridges, manufacturing, plants, and retail stores.
That year, the rotary kiln patent for expanding shale expired, and no fewer than 40 companies rushed to enter the lightweight aggregate business. Southern Lightweight Aggregate Corporation, incorporated by our founder, John W. Roberts, led the pack. Roberts recognized the need for a manufactured lightweight aggregate to replace coal-burning-boiler cinders from railway steam locomotives, which disappeared with the advent of diesel engines. Seven months later, we shipped our first two railcars of lightweight aggregate for the manufacture of masonry block units. One went to Charleston, SC, the other to Charleston, WV, to block plants that had formerly used coal cinders.
We served the block industry with a lightweight aggregate, trademarked Solite®. Block products made with Solite® had no staining, weighed less and were more appealing to architects and designers. The result was that the block industry proliferated with hundreds of production plants. The Northeast Solite technical staff developed the staining test method, which is included in ASTM C331 today. In fact, it was Northeast Solite’s chairman, John W. Roberts, who authored ASTM C331 in the early 1950s.
The New York skyline was taking its modern-day shape in following decades as buildings designed by such noted architects as Paul Weidlinger and Fred Severud, climbed higher than ever. Trains and barges loaded with Solite® were shipped to the “Big Apple” for construction of many New York City landmarks, including Lincoln Center, and many of the skyline buildings built after 1960.
We built our reputation for innovation by meeting our customer’s needs. Most Northeast Solite standard products meet our customer’s exacting needs. But when they don’t, we meet their requirements by developing products to order, such as the specialized geofill under the New York Central Railroad tracks at West Point, NY. It was the beginning of the Northeast Solite tradition of industry leadership.