- The business was established in 1800 as a partnership between the Parkinson family and the Spencer family. Caleb Spencer (1766-1847) is credited as its founder and early activities involved the two families mining stone and fireclay to support their traditional farming activities. The refractoriness of the local fireclay led to the manufacture of firebricks and its purity found particular application in the early glass melting industry.
- In 1921 the business was incorporated as a limited liability company, establishing the framework for investment in the kilns, plant and machinery required for the industrial manufacture of refractories.
- In 1970 the company was awarded the licence from Emhart Glass for the manufacture of feeder expendable refractories to Emhart design.
- In 1976 the original name of Parkinson & Spencer Ltd, Ambler Thorn Fireclay Works, was changed to Parkinson-Spencer Refractories Ltd to better represent the modern nature of the business.
- In 1992 the company commenced the design and manufacture of its System 5oo forehearth and distributor systems, changing the direction of the company from being solely dependent upon refractory manufacture to encompassing engineering as well.
- In 2000 we celebrated 200 years of service to the glass industry.
Today we sell our products to more than 60 countries with exports accounting for more than 90% of sales revenue.
Glass manufacture is a continuous process and our customers require products that can be guaranteed to perform without failure under the most demanding conditions. Consistency of manufacture is essential for the maintenance of uniform production standards and we operate a quality management system certified by Lucideon CICS Ltd to the requirements of ISO 9001: 2015.
Caring for the environment
We take pride in our work and are committed to ensuring it is carried out in a manner that is kind to the environment. We have an environmental management system certified by Lucideon CICS Ltd to ISO 14001:2004. We also operate two wind turbines capable of generating up to two thirds of the factory’s electrical power requirements.
This assists compliance with national and local authority regulations and demonstrates our commitment to operating a long term commercially profitable business in an environmentally ethical and sustainable manner.
Glass conditioning is a complex part of the glass manufacturing process and our team of engineers is experienced in all areas of forehearth and distributor design and operation. In addition to regular forehearth commissioning we also provide the following services:
- After sales service
- Maintenance contracts
Research and development
Developing knowledge and expertise is a key component of research and development at PSR and we are committed to maintaining not only the ongoing performance of our existing refractory materials but also to the development of new refractory materials that will benefit the operations of our customers.
Our laboratory serves the functions of both quality control and research and development.
We work closely with the relevant institutes and societies. We have a particularly close relationship with the University of Leeds and have collaborated with them on a number of occasions for the development of new refractory materials and processes, enabling us to benefit from their academic knowledge base.