REXCO

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'REXCO' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'REXCO' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'REXCO' page

Smokeless Fuel

By Pauline Marples

Some of you will recall the days when dark smoke from the coal fires was a regular sight from our chimneys. The air needed to be cleaned up and the pollution stopped.

1932

In 1932 'a company was born that was soon to prove that while there is no smoke without fire, there certainly could be fire without smoke'. This company eventually became known as Rexco. Within the next few years after success with its processes and inventions (where others had failed) 'The first Rexco plant to be built came into production in 1935 on a site adjacent to Mansfield Colliery.'

'Coal for the process was supplied from the colliery which was then working the Top Hard seam at the price of 11s [55p] per ton. The Mansfield plant which consisted of two batchwise retorts cost £2,279 16s 9d.' 'The plant carbonised 3,095 tons of coal in its first full year, the retorts having a 36 hour cycle.'

WAR YEARS

'Further development at that stage was curtailed by the Second World War'. 'However the plant was very active through the war making a motor fuel under the trade name of Motor Rexco and large tonnages of charcoal'.

1948

'Coal became more plentiful from 1948 onwards which allowed this small plant to go back to full production and eventually sufficient was available for other plants to be built. [sic] By 1954 capacity at the Mansfield plant had been increased to 30,000 tons of coal carbonised per annum.'

Over the years Rexco had expanded greatly and established more plants including those at Edwinstowe, Snibston Leicestershire and Comrie Colliery in Fife.

1972

The plant at Mansfield had been in production for 37 years when the decision was made to close it 'because of the uneconomic cost of bringing it up to modern standards.'

1981

In November 1981 just prior to their Golden Anniversary, Rexco had become part of the Burnett and Hallamshire Group.

Information taken from Pamphlet '50 Golden Years of Pure Energy from Rexco' / Advert 1953 & Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser 13th April 1972.

 

No doubt this will stir a few memories not only for our readers/viewers who worked at Rexco, but it will also take people back to the days when smokeless fuel was first introduced. 'Going Smokeless' was not very popular at first, people were used to laying the fire with newspaper, sticks and coal to get a good blazing fire going. Not forgetting that today's children won't know any of this.

 

 

This page was added on 04/08/2012.
Comments about this page

Did a boiler explode at Rexco Edwinstowe in 1972 or 1973?

By Dawn Metheringham
On 30/05/2013

Very surprising in how little time, our times change. It does not seem all that long ago that everyone had an open fire, the cold house first thing in a morning, the sensible ones staying beneath the covers whilst dad made the fire first thing. The smoggy atmosphere during the autumn and on winter days when you could taste the smoke in the air. The sound of the shovel going in the coalhouse, folk sweeping their spillages off the road when the coalmen had been. Soot was used on the gardens and allotments when the flues where swept, ashes for the path on icy days to give some grip-and the mess when it thawed! I don't think anyone misses the dirty marks left on their washing though. Now all gone, fireplaces bricked up, terminal's on the once smoking stack, and we now pay through the nose for gas to heat our radiators instead. How times change.

By John
On 31/05/2014

I remember the wartime and the carbonized coal. To us these were known as  Co-Eggs. For some reason I always believed the egg shaped Co- Eggs were made up and compressed from the slack and coal dust from the coal, and was a by product  of the coal waste.  Up to 1953, gas was our only utility in the home, and to light these Co- Eggs, we had a gas-poker, which when lit was placed under the Co-Eggs to start the fire and glow that they produced. I also recall having to trek down to Wharf Road, to the Coal yard with an old home made barrow for a cwt. of these Co-Eggs at I believe it was 2s-9d for a cwt. 

By alan curtis
On 02/06/2014

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