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snarlman
Fireman

USA
1416 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2010 :  3:55:39 PM  Show Profile  Send snarlman an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I was wondering about the National Lead comapany, and their operations, mostly what went into the company and out via the Raritan.
I spoke with Darren a bit, and he mentioned ilmenite ore arriving by D&H ore cars, and I was wondering if it left my tanker (with NL on the side?) or did some go to dupont? Any help is appreceated, and Thanks in advance.

~Jeff

DarrenAMiller
Engine Wiper

USA
320 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  10:28:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Come on, guys... 100 reads and not one response for Jeff?

I know that NL knowledge is out there.

- Darren
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LiquidFantasy
Engine Wiper

Germany
272 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  10:32:22 AM  Show Profile  Click to see LiquidFantasy's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I can't help, zorry :)

http://www.facebook.com/people/Liquidfantasy-Denis/100001838837871

http://www.facebook.com/people/Liquidfantasy-Denis/100001838837871
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RRRR4
Engine Wiper

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  7:12:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The only product I know of was paint. I think it was Dutch Boy brand because I seem to remember a billboard there. Anyway the "lead" was what used to make white paint really "white".
Dupont in Parlin was mostly film and photographic chemicals. I had ex-in-laws that worked there.
Lou
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Admin
Forum Admin

USA
5630 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  8:46:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jeff,

there was also another company there.. i dont know if they were affiliated with NL or not... Marsulex... they distilled acid there... i believe it came and left by tank cars...

Joe
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Bill Uffelman
Crew Chief

USA
924 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  8:48:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not sure which plant it came from but NL dumped in the "dead zone" in the Atlantic. In the early 1980s I worked for Allied Corp and we dumped liquids -- made the ocean saltier as I recall -- but NL was dumping solids. At the same time New York City was dumping waste but that's another story. http://www.cleanoceanaction.org/fileadmin/editor_group1/Policy_Comments/FINAL_COZ_Info_Packet4.pdf

Bill Uffelman
Las Vegas NV
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Tom_E_Reynolds
Engine Wiper

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  9:37:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Snarlman! John said it best back in this thread:

http://railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10174&SearchTerms=lead

ilmenite ore was brought in by rail, about 15-30 cars every day or two.

Acid and other leftover products were shipped out, about 2-4 cars every day or two.

Here are some details from 1979: http://www.raritanriver-rr.com/PDFs/1.2.4.pdf

If we look at National Lead, we see $415,000 in revenue. That about 5200 cars received for the year, or about 14 cars/day average. If we want details, we can look further at the document and see that in November 1979, National Lead was billed $63,000. That would amount to about 788 cars for the month, or 27 cars inbound per day average. The reality is that they probably received 30-60 cars every couple days. Now thats a lot of cars for a busy customer.

Outbound details for 1979 can be seen here: http://www.raritanriver-rr.com/PDFs/1.2.3.pdf


National Lead forwarded $115,000. Thats 1438 cars per year, or about 4 cars/day.

Also, I have a detailed biography from someone who worked at the plant. I will find that and post it tomorrow.

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RSCo
Section Hand

USA
76 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2010 :  12:25:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit RSCo's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Not an expert - but this is what I know:

The ore was mined deep in the high-peaks region of the Adirondack Mountain in upstate New York. Originally the mine was the site of the Adirondack Iron Company in the 19th century - this operation failed partially because of the high titanium content in the iron ore. This iron ore/titanium combo was mined and processed to some extent in New York - the structures associated with this operation were just demolished a few years ago. Someone told me once that the ore left the mine hot and that the paint on the hoppers didn't hold up too well. The mine was reached by a D&H Branch from the Saratoga area. The RPI Model Railroad Club modeled the mine and processing facility.

The plant in Sayreville was built in the early 50s I believe. It was built to produce Titanium Dioxide, a non-toxic white pigment that was being substituted for lead in paint. Previously, the National Lead plant in Perth Amboy had produced the white lead pigment using the "Dutch process" which was the source of the name of their Dutch Boy line of paint.

The ore was processed with sulfuric acid to produce the titanium pigment. Are large portion of the plant was in-fact devoted to the production of sulfuric acid for use in house. The pigment manufacturing produced large quantities of acid waste and consumed large quantities of water - both factors in locating the plant on a tidewater site. National Lead was granted permission to dump the acid waste off shore in the New York bight and did so while the plant operated using a specially designed barge. As early as the late 50s the NOI from Woods Hole Mass was studying the effects of this dumping on the marine habitat. I presume that in addition to the ore for manufacturing titanium dioxide, quantities of sulfur and maybe nitric acid were shipped in to make the acid. I am not sure how the titanium dioxide was shipped, although I have seen model NL tank cars so presumably in solution.

Jim Musser
Hainesport, NJ
blog - http://mussersteelmill.blogspot.com
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Pennsyjohn
Engine Wiper

USA
121 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2010 :  10:59:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ah, the good old days. I lived in SA on Raritan Street. Actually, my father worked in National Lead, so I'll tell you what I know about the place.

National Lead actually made Titanium White Pigment for paints. They brought in sulfur, burned it to make sulfur dioxide, then started to make acid (hence it's other name "The Acid Plant")

They then added water to the sulfur dioxide, generating a weak sulfuric acid. It was then boiled to strengthen the acid until it was 99% pure (and VERY nasty).

They then treated the titanium ore to make titanium dioxide pigment. This was shipped off to paint manufacturers, replacing lead oxide white. This is why it was called National Lead, it originally manufactured lead oxide for paints.

The titanium dioxide part of the plant stopped when it became cheaper to take the acid to Mexico and do the manufacture there. The sulfuric acid side of NL came to an end when it became cheaper to buy it from somewhere else than have a manufacturing facility.

The plant was sold to a Canadian company, who eventually closed it. They had to deal with the environmental problems at the site.

The spent acid was temporarily held in a clay basin just east of the Parkway bridge. It was the nastiest green color and every child was warned about swimming in the "green water". The acid was pumped into the barge every so often, and taken offshore and dumped into the Atlantic, thus forming the famous "Acid Waters" that every party fishing boat skipper knew of. The fishing was always good there.

If you have any further questions about NL, just ask.

P.S. The fumes from the burning sulfur escaped from the stacks, and when it rained formed the same weak acid, but in the atmosphere. NL eventually had to put up sheds for their employees to park under. Repair / repaint claims were costing too much.

Edited by - Pennsyjohn on 04/20/2010 11:10:33 AM
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snarlman
Fireman

USA
1416 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2010 :  9:49:02 PM  Show Profile  Send snarlman an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Wow Thank you all so much for all of your replies. I would really like to model the Raritan in HO in the future. Right now I am collecting information and supplies, and doing what I can.
Thanks again.

~Jeff
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RSCo
Section Hand

USA
76 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2010 :  12:15:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit RSCo's Homepage  Reply with Quote
One thing I don't have are photos of the National Lead facility in Sayreville. If anyone has any please post. The plant sat dormant for a number of years and I meant to take a few photos all that time, but now of course, it is too late.



Jim Musser
Hainesport, NJ
blog - http://mussersteelmill.blogspot.com
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umtrr-author
Engine Wiper

132 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2010 :  10:32:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit umtrr-author's Homepage  Reply with Quote
With respect to photos of the plant, I wonder if the "Historic Aerials" site might be of any value. Sayreville (and South Amboy) are definitely covered.

http://www.historicaerials.com
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Pennsyjohn
Engine Wiper

USA
121 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2010 :  4:38:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yep, the Historic Aerials photos have some good pictures of NL.

The parking sheds are up to the NE, the holding pool is visible by the Parkway Bridge, and the stacks for the sulfur reduction are visible as a group of shadows on the ground. The tanks were for acid storage, and for TiO slurry. The tracks of the RRRR are visible, and I think I saw (in the picture I looked at) some hoppers and tank cars there.

Brings back memories.

John
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Tom_E_Reynolds
Engine Wiper

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2010 :  8:25:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here is a link to the 1956 edition of the RRRR maps for the Kearney Spur showing the NL yard and sidings into the plant.

http://www.raritanriver-rr.com/Maps/scanned/1940/61KearneySpur.pdf

Zoom in to see the details of the map.

Here is a link from historic Aerials, zoomed in to 600ft, showing two red RRRR engines switching the plant back in 1979. What a moment in time! Zoom out to see the whole plant.

http://www.historicaerials.com/?poi=10797

Here is the same location, focused on the 2 engines, zoomed out 1:9600, showing most of the plant.

http://www.historicaerials.com/?poi=10798

Let me know if you cant see the images, i can always copy them and post them on my site.

-Tom
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Tom_E_Reynolds
Engine Wiper

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2010 :  8:34:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Walter F. Schmaus, NL Industries, retired

He wrote the following autobiography in 1987 detailing the operations of NL.

After I graduated from CCNY with a BChE in June 1944, my main objective was to stay out of the service. I went to work for Seagram Calvert in Baltimore, MD, where they made grain alcohol for synthetic rubber. The laps had cut off our natural rubber supply. It was a poor job where I was practically a chemical operator. This lasted not quite three and one half months, since the draft board reclassified me from IIA to IA.

I opted for the Navy at the Induction Center. I went to Boot Camp, Radio Tech Schools, and Midshipmen's School at Cornell. The U.S. Navy didn't pay any attention to my degree and I went wherever they sent me, naturally. I was discharged from the U.S. Navy in September 1946 and was then concerned with getting a job or position. Jobs were not plentiful so I settled for an oil training program at Cities Service Company (Citgo).

I needed some experience in a chemical related field just to get started. I could always embellish what I did when applying for my next job. Cities Service wanted to place me in petroleum distribution after the one and one half year training period. I told them that I would prefer production or refining. They let me go or discharged me. Apparently oil companies are like the Navy: that is, you go where they send you or else-an important lesson!

I then obtained a position (as technical assistant to the acid plant superintendent) in July 1948 with National Lead Co. in Sayreville, New Jersey. Since pure engineering doesn't pay as much as supervision or administration, I became assistant acid plant superintendent and finally acid plant superintendent. My predecessor moved to the titanium metal division in Henderson, Nevada.

Supervising acid production was interesting enough. Under my administration, the acid plant was expanded from 600 Tons Per Day to 1600 TPD. Aside from this, I proposed and followed through on many improvements in both the old and new units.

I was also in charge of the waste disposal system, which essentially was barging iron sulphate and weak sulphuric acid to sea. As the acid plant and pigment plant expanded, anew larger barge was built to cover waste acid production. The plant would only send one barge out at a time to avoid any public outcry.

Prior to barging, the company reclaimed a portion of the waste acid and sulphate in the iron sulphate using dehydration and roasters (kiln type). This was supplemented with pyrites to produce SOS gas in the roaster discharge. The SOS was then converted to SO, and HMSO, in a pair of contact units. The roasting and dehydrating operation was abandoned because of exorbitant costs. Sulphur furnaces and waste heat boilers were then used to generate both SO, and steam for the plant. The SO, was fed to a contact acid plant.

One proposal in which I was unsuccessful was in purchasing Mexican sulphur. I made two trips to the sulphur mines south of the border and found that their mine and plant operation was as good as that of Texas Gulf Sulphur or Freeport Sulphur. It was cheaper than U.S. sulphur since foreign cargo ships could be used at a lower freight rate. Any shipment from one U.S. port to another had to be done by American shipping (U.S.). American crewmen and shipyards received higher pay. The difference in freight was $2.50 per ton. This, added to a lower price of $1.00 per ton for Mexican sulphur, came to $3.50 per ton. Since we used 200,000 tons of sulphur per year, this would have amounted to $700,000 annually.

As a result the company obtained a somewhat lower price, but short of this difference, from American suppliers. Also, they didn't want to depend on a foreign supply. I think there was more to it than that, but that's as far as I could go.

At the end of my stay at the acid plant, I was able to obtain the approval for receiving bulk liquid sulphur instead of solid. This installation was completed at the time I was transferred to the pigment department. The use of purchased liquid sulphur directly precluded the use of melting pits, fitters and settling pits, saving maintenance and labor costs.

In the pigment department where the main product Titanium Dioxide pigment was manufactured, it was a different story. I didn't have the freedom I had in the acid plant as a production superintendent. In pigment it was more difficult to get worthwhile changes effected. There was process control and lab, engineering, both industrial and mechanical, technical services and the R&D departments, plus a more hostile union faction. Everyone was protecting their domain and telling production how to operate.

I did the best I could and managed to get things done by persistence and perserverance. After becoming accepted as a fact of life, I did receive substantial help from the various groups and better operating procedures and equipment. One was the elimination of antimony sulphide as a settling agent for clarification (Dorr tanks). It was replaced with an organic flocculant. With cooperation of others, the plant eliminated a lot of bad piping and equipment by substituting plastic even on pressure filter plates.

The main problem on any change was getting good justification and/or pay-off. Three years was tops. Also one must get a good estimate so that no overexpenditure would occur. Overexpenditures fouled up the justification and made management more cautious and reluctant on future requests.

After being in Solution Hydrate or Feed Processing for several years, I was assigned to be a member of the Management Negotiating Team for contract bargaining with the union. This was in addition to my regular duties. I did not enjoy this since the union committee was an abrasive bunch, quite different from the average worker. But you had to deal with them to get a contract, absorbing many insults in the process. You could not, however, lower yourself to their level since it would accomplish nothing.

This situation only lasted several contracts for me since I was then transferred to the chloride plant.

The chloride plant, a process for making titanium pigment, was about to go on line in 1965. And I was asked to be chloride superintendent. I accepted since I remembered my experience with the oil company (i.e., take it or leave it). I eventually realized that was not the case with National Lead.

The chloride process made superior pigment when compared with the sulphate process. Titanium tetrachloride was burned in superheated oxygen in a chamber where a hot plasma was generated by burning CO to CO2,. All presence of nitrogen was avoided, since it would also oxidize, generating poisonous gas and wasting oxygen. The process was rather involved since it included the reclamation of chlorine, which was routed to chlorinators containing rutile (TiO2) ore. The gas mixture was Cl, and CO and the chlorinator contained a fluidized bed of coke and rutile. The off-gases were TiCl4 CO and CO,. The TiClg was extracted in a liquid TiCl, tower and the ends were condensed in a refrigeration unit. The CO and CO, were scrubbed in a tower and separated in a monoethanolamine unit-TiCl, was purified by distillation. The CO was used in the TiCl, burners and the CO, was used as a pulse gas to clean the TiO, powder off the monel bag filters after the TiCl, burners.

As you can see, one breakdown in the entire loop stopped operation throughout. This was a poor situation and led to many outages. The basic problem was that development did not run the pilot plant continuously. They would have 4 or 5 runs of 6-S hours each per week, and shut down on weekends. The only way to discover the possible problems was to run continuously. Major pieces of equipment had to be changed and/or added after the production unit was operating: a COS absorption unit had to be placed in the loop circuit. Also an entirely new burner had to be installed on all TiCl, oxidizing units. The latter were designed in Germany and one was shipped here for starting.

These problems with the chloride plant continued and since there was an opening in the Sulphate Section, I transferred back to it. A Dr. Hans Thumm from Leverkusen, Germany took over running the chloride plant. His efforts did not help and the chloride plant was shut down and abandoned. It was eventually leveled to reduce taxes. The whole chloride fiasco translated to about $25 million down the drain, plus the aggravation and loss of good operating supervisors to other industries.

It is interesting to note that E.I. DuPont had success in operating their chloride plant. This was probably due to good or better R&D work prior to building the actual plant.
After returning to the sulphate section, I became General Superintendent of plant operations. This included acid, utilities pigment production and warehousing. Mechanical, transportation and purchasing were in a separate group.

One of the major problems of the sulphate plant at that time was its lack of proper maintenance during the operation of the chloride plant. Instead of adding additional mechanics for chloride, the company merely took men and material from the sulphate portion of the plant. It took quite a bit of time and money to try to regain what was lost. But, of course, it couldn't be totally successful. The plant did however put out good tonnage and quality at a competitive price.

This lasted until the Division changed the quality of the ore, not chemically but physically. At the mine they terminated the use of vibrating Wetherill tables and went to 100% flotation to separate and classify the ore for shipment to Sayreville. The change saved money at the mine, but raised havoc with our ore handling system-drying, milling and conveying.

The ore became too dusty and abrasive, wearing out equipment at an abnormal rate. Flotation ore also presented some dissolving problems using concentrated sulphuric acid in digestion. The latter was probably due to the flotation agent. The plant tried to convince top management that flotation ore was poor and affected operations adversely but the comment received in return was ore is ore and it was the plant's problem to process it. It was later learned that the changes made at the mine were irreversible.

Finally we got the mine to change their flotation agent and ship finer ore, which would not require milling. This material was digested directly. The solution was weaker and overall production was reduced to about 85% of what it was with Wetherill or tabled ore.

There were a few personnel changes in division and plant management, so the resolution of the problem never was complete. The plant manager from St. Louis' National Lead plant became Sayreville's plant manager.

The production manager in division and the plant manager experienced a "successful" strike in St. Louis. Consequently they felt employee relations should push the union into concessions to increase productivity and reduce costs.

On February 1, 1976, when the union contract was not renewed, a strike took place. The salaried employers from the plant and from division then operated the plant. Outside warehouses were already stocked and plant production was mainly limited to critical grades of pigment. Production was about 40% of what it was before the strike. The plant was able to ship via railroad since interference there was a federal offense. Access to the plant by road was impossible for several months. The police, both local and state, merely observed the harassment by the union. It was a good mile from the plant to the traffic circle. The local police had many relatives in the union and the state police were playing it "cool" politically. Boats and helicopters were used by personnel to gain entry and egress from the plant.

The company finally got a court injunction to open the road and salaried people were allowed to drive in and out via the road (with a police escort only). There was still trouble such as damage to cars and outlying buildings plus some homes. The company ceased operations at the plant in September 1976 due to continued harassment and endangerment at the picket line. The company laid off many salaried people in October, leaving only a small crew for plant surveillance. The hourly strike ended in January 1977, almost one year later. Both the men and the company lost a great deal. We never really recovered.

There was an enormous amount of repair due to poor maintenance or lack of it during the strike and the bitter cold winter of 1976-1977. Pipelines burst, tanks leaked, kilns cracked, etc. The best way to keep a chemical plant is to maintain operations.

The plant was eventually restarted after about two months of repair work. The plant did manage to get up to about 165-170 TPD, a far cry from previous outputs.
We had a plant manager imported from the Leverkusen Plant in Germany where he was plant manager. He was surprisingly more sympathetic to the hourly men than anticipated. He kept making speeches to the men stating he believed in "Human Relations" as practiced in America. The men interpreted this policy as one that would permit them to return to their old ways of working prior to the strike.

The next major problem was atmospheric pollution, particularly at ore digestion, where a long plume emanated at each batch. The plant under the direction of the manager attempted to dissolve the ore with an essentially weaker acid than previously used. This did get a fair amount of TiO2 in solution as a sulphate but resulted in building up solids in the clarification section. This led to the shutdown of the plant since clarification and auxiliary equipment were plugged up. This process was tested on a laboratory scale in Germany and found to be a feasible operation. Once again National Lead used a production plant for testing a different process without development work.

In summary, digestion of ore was effected with strong sulphuric acid as Sayreville once did. The difference was that they had excellent scrubbers yielding satisfactory stacks. They couldn't or wouldn't apply this idea to Sayerville since the digestion section would require complete renewal.

The plant manager went back home to Leverkusen, Germany to resume his plant manager's job there.

For a brief period after shutdown, the plant slurried pigment from abroad. It was sold as a local product. This however could not sustain a large plant's costs and the operation was discontinued.

The plant wound up with one man, a watchman or "site manager."

The acid plant which had been completely renewed using the latest state of the art, was sold to a Canadian company. They sold acid in the chemical market. As far as I know it is still operating.
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snarlman
Fireman

USA
1416 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2010 :  2:38:30 PM  Show Profile  Send snarlman an AOL message  Reply with Quote
My friend Joe send me an artilce (PDF) on a kit bash of the NL/D&H hoppers, so I built one. Here is the link.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=29890

~Jeff
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