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KraftTile (1 replies)

This really cool write-up was found at http://www.tileheritage.org/THF-TileoftheMonth-July-05.html. It is preserved here because pages like this often go away.

Kraftile Company
Niles, California

Quoting from the company’s 1931 product catalog, “In Kraftile it is our privilege to offer a faience tile of rarely beautiful colorings and texture - - - outstandingly economical - - - and with greater durability than any tile yet produced” — a boastful exaggeration but not unlike those made by many of the company’s competitors.

It is correct to assume a connection between Kraftiles and Kraft Foods, which are found on grocery shelves throughout the world. The original Kraft company, founded by four Kraft brothers in Chicago, produced cheese beginning just after the turn of the last century. The cheese was shipped in wooden boxes that were made by a company-owned business in Niles, nestled in the hills on the east side of San Francisco Bay where wood was cheap. By the mid-1920s, as the story goes, the owners recognized an opportunity to dispose of its by-products, using the excess wood to fire kilns, and thus supplying roof tiles for the ever-increasing number of new houses in the area. The clay was plentiful, the market was a given, and the talent in the person of A. Clay Myers was available to superintend the operation. And with Myers having come from California Art Tile in nearby Richmond, it is understandable that the roof tile company would expand its product line to include decorative tiles.

The technique used to produce the art tiles was an ancient one, cuerda seca, where a resist line is applied to the tile’s surface to keep the glaze colors separate from one another. The company also produced cuenca (raised-line) tiles. All the tiles were molded from plastic (wet) clay, dried, decorated by hand and then single-fired at a “tremendously” high temperature. “High Fired” was the company’s catch phrase; the method of manufacture was referred to as “monolithic,” which was responsible for Kraftile’s enduring qualities.

Posted – 09/07/05 1:06pm by Lynn R Slater, updated or replied 09/07/05 1:15pm

Fast-Track Slag Site Closure

From http://www.w-e-s-t.com/Fast.htm


WEST implemented an expedited remedial action plan to address the presence of 50,000 tons of slag waste discovered during the construction of a residential development in Fremont, California. The property was the original site of Kraft Cheese in  the early 1900s. When it was discovered that the native clay at the site made a usable clay product, the founders of Kraft Cheese formed Kraftile. During Kraftile’s operations, the southern portion of the site was mined for clay. The clay mining operations resulted in excavation of large clay pits. The clay pits were backfilled with approximately 50,000 tons of metal slag to depths approximately 30- to 35-feet below the ground surface.  In addition, site use had resulted in the presence of residual fuel oil in shallow soil and groundwater.

<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->WEST conducted site characterization work, prepared a Removal Action Workplan (RAW) including a health based risk assessment, evaluation of lead mobility in groundwater, prepared the CEQA initial study, community relations plan, and obtained approval to begin work from the California

Environmental Protection Agency’s (CalEPA) Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in less than 60 days. The removal actions included the off-site beneficial reuse of the slag as a road construction material, resulting in significant cost savings. The use of slag containing hazardous concentrations of metals as a road construction material was performed pursuant to the beneficial reuse exemptions in the California Health and Safety Code.  Certification of completion was obtained from DTSC within 100 days of the beginning of the project. The former Kraftile property has been developed into a residential community.

Posted – 09/07/05 1:15pm by Lynn R Slater

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