|The Star Aluminium Company Limited was founded in
1933, and quickly acquired half of the vacant A.J.S.
site at Graiseley Hill.
The business was a wholly owned subsidiary of the
Swiss Aluminium Group, Alusuisse. The factory, which in
the early days fronted onto Marston Road, was called
The firm’s main product, aluminium foil, was produced
from aluminium ingots, which after casting into slabs
were rolled in a rolling mill to produce a range of foil
thicknesses, down to less than one-tenth the thickness
of a human hair.
An advert from 1953.
An advert from 1956.
One of the rolling mills on the
Graiseley Hill site.
|The foil’s primary use was for packaging such items
as cigarettes, confectionary, foodstuffs,
pharmaceuticals, and also for cooking and storing food.
It became a familiar sight as a cap for milk bottles,
and a popular packaging for dairy products, baked
foodstuffs, and frozen food.
Star House-Foil and Star Garden Foil were marketed
for the housewife and the gardener.
Because the foil could be produced
in a range of thicknesses to suit the customer, it found applications in many industries, including shipbuilding,
aircraft manufacture, electronics, and engineering
Its many applications in
electronics included foil for capacitors, cable
screening and transformer windings.
Star foil was supplied in reels of
up to 56 inches wide, the widest foil made in the UK. It
could be laminated to paper, film, or board, and readily
accepted colouring, or printing.
Other applications included rigid
foil containers (‘Sealway’ containers) for the bakery
trade to house cakes or meat pies, and for convenience
It also found a use in the
decorating trade as ‘Star Wall Foil’, an effective
protection against damp.
Reducing foil thickness in the
Double foil rolling.
The foil sold extremely well, and
by 1946, 50 tonnes were produced each week.
In the mid 1960s further extensions
were made to the Marston Road site, extending it the
Penn Road, with a new entrance at number 97 Penn Road.
Additional premises were acquired
in Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton, Primrose Avenue,
Fordhouses, and in 1956 at Bridgnorth, making the firm
the largest manufacturer of aluminium foil in Britain.
By 1961 the company had over 1,000
|Star foil became a household name, and sales greatly
increased. From the two rolling mills at Wolverhampton
and Bridgnorth, the company's fleet of lorries delivered
foil to all parts of the country, and directly to Europe
via the cross-channel ferries.
The new factory extension on the
The finished product coming off
the rolling mill.
The company ran a successful sports
and social club at 72 Temple Street, Wolverhampton. It
was above the Palais de Dance.
The works at Wolverhampton
continued to operate in parallel with Bridgnorth until
1981 when the decision was taken to concentrate
production at Bridgnorth. This resulted in the closure
of the Wolverhampton factory.
In 1996 production at Bridgnorth
exceeded 1,000 tonnes per week. A lot of investment has
been made at the site, including a new hot mill,
slitting line, and annealing furnace.
In 2000 the
business merged with the Canadian company Alcan, and in
2001 the Bridgnorth factory, now called
Bridgnorth Aluminium, was acquired by Elval S.A., the
sole Greek producer of flat rolled aluminium products.
A slab of aluminium enters the hot mill at the
start of the rolling process.
A final view of a rolling mill.
An advert from 1959.
An advert from 1972.