Independently owned British manufacturer since 1800

Our History

We are an independent, family-owned, British manufacturer, dating back to 1800 with origins in the mining of stone and fireclay.

Over the last 220+ years our business has evolved, now specialising in bonded refractory materials for the feeder, forehearth and distributor, as well as engineered products and services  for the glass conditioning process.

Read out more about our journey as an independent manufacturer of specialist refractory products and glass conditioning equipment.

19th Century

PSR was established in 1800 as a partnership between the Parkinson family and the Spencer family. Caleb Spencer (1766-1847) is credited as our founder with early activities involving 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 factored in the early glass melting industry.

20th Century

In 1921 the business became 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 500 forehearth and distributor systems, changing the direction of the company from being solely dependent upon refractory manufacture to encompassing engineering solutions.

21st Century


In 2000 we celebrated 200 years of service to the glass industry.

In 2005 we designed and supplied the distributor and forehearths for the largest container glass furnace in the world, subsequently rebuilding and expanding these in 2020.

In 2019 Simon Parkinson, the 8th generation of the Parkinson family, took over the reins from his father, David who had been Managing Director since 1985. 

In 2021 we celebrated 100 years since incorporation as a limited liability company.