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Oral History/Boyle - Richard Boyle's oral history (A Career in Slate/The Industry Worldwide) recorded by Steven Williams on 23 May 2004. Richard Boyle was sales Manager at the Evergreen Slate Company. Formerly, he worked for McAlpine (Penrhyn), 1964. He co-introduced excavators in the quarry; 1200 feet deep, 1 mile long, 1/2 mile wide, with 60 foot galleries; reconfigured the whole quarry. There were 56 mile of rail tracks in the early days, on each gallery. In the 1750's, quarrymen worked on "bargains" - small groups. There were 300 -500 million tons of waste. Port Penrhyn, fleet of ships, railway, 3500 - 4000 workers. Lots of water, constant removal necessary. Lord Penrhyn had tunnel dug to take water to river; pump made in Caernarvon, still underground.. Ogwen Valley: Penrhyn on one side, Dinorwic quarry on other side of mountain. 1969 - Boyle went there/were using 25 ton trucks. McAlpine used old hangars for work and storage. Converyor belts under all machines, each splitter trimmed his own slate. 1964 - 650 workers, quarry run by Lady Penrhyn (benevolent). When McAlpine took over, got rid of old workers, reduced work force, drilled into side 16 - 18 feet (more waste this way). 1969 bonus system led to geater production, broke up bargain system. Each worker had goal and bonus, superior intelligence of workers, many set really high production. 1970 - Boyle bought house in Llanfairfechan, lived there 19 years. Slate same variety of colors - "Penrhyn blue" - Cambrian vein same age as our (Slate Valley) vein. Architectural Dept: 1973 - Terminal E at Boston Airport. Penrhyn, 1870's - 170,000 tons per year with Dinorwic, largest in world. After great strike (1900 - 03), production declined; new materials developed. 1920's - Lord Penrhyn, ground to flour-like - made in 78 records - paint - road surface - pipe enamel. 1970's - Green vien, 40 feet wide, roofing felt. 1980's - Crushed dumps for road, building. 2% of slate extracted from rock, 98% waste. Mid-1980's (1986) - invested in US, bought Hilltop Slate (bought 600 acres of quarries). For 3 years, served as local president. Red, green slate unfading; structural, flagstone 1/3, roofing 2/3. Huge absenteeism rate, unlike in Wales; bonus system for everybody helped remedy this. Boyle spent 3 1/2 years here, then returned to UK to McAlpine, stayed for a year, then left, worked for a sandstone firm, formed a slate import company , US Slate Co. Late 1990's, business fell; 1999-2000, stoped his company. 2001, Boyle returned to US, went toChina. In China, wages for week are equal to one hour here in US. French are more advanced, had automatic splitters in 1970's, wouldn't share knowledge. Spain is largest producer, highly automated. Red slate is difficult to split Boyle is now working for Evergreen, largest seller in US. Vermont black, evergreen, mostly VT slate. Western VT, others sell to Evergreen, some from China. Export to UK, Japan, Canada, Uses? Restoration work (Yale) 1/3, new buildings, residential (S-1 slate lasts 75 -100 years). Boyle gives on-site advice to help customer and roofer. Changes noticed since he first came to US: Trucks are bigger, zip trimmers are now used. "We're well behind rest of the world in technology." Industry here is too fragmented, other countries are more monopolistic. Here, still "mom and pop" industries; vein at Penryhn (Wales) is 1000 feet wide and 4000 feet deep; large companies are gone here in Slate Valley. Germany produces "fish scale" slate, unique shaped product, high priced because rare, protected by the government. Anecdotal information: Substitutes for slate look good from a distance, 1/3 the cost of slate. Chinese slate is much cheaper to import, buy. In Brazil, use of slate on floor tiles is emphasized.

Object Type: Library

Oral History/Glowinski - Great, great grandfather, John C. Hogan from Fair Haven, married Mary in 1909 (Castleton, Ireland) imigrated during Potato Famine. Come on sailing vessel from Queenstown. Came to West Castleton, lived at the head of the street, now owned by Larlin family, "Hogans Meadow" still there in back of house, had 3 boys and 3 girls, some went to Pennsylvania. Grandfather was John, Bridgett Ellen, Mary Dynen, Dennis Patrick and John. Sold marbelized slate mantles for family company. Went to visit home village and grave yard "beautiful spot" Grandfather did circular staircase for Slate Capital in Albany of Marbleized slate. MARBLEIZING - Great grandfather brought process from Ireland, very secretive, did only after other workers had left, has mantte and checkerboard. As a child, age 7, he watched them "dipping" - Grandfather John, also became ill with silicosis and died at 62. - My father enlisted in world war 1 in the navy, still had Irish broque, she's now the only survivor of the family, sister and brothers are dead. - James Dolan (stone Cutter) Mary Ryan Gave ld 1st Catholic Church, across from Ben Franklin (Called Graves home) She visited the quarry on the Shannon River near Castleton. Hogan Family - Why Fair Haven? Heard from others who were in West Castleton at quarries there. Son Dennis entered the business with John Hogan. Where located? At River street in Fair Haven (Hogan and Sons Slate Company) Lived on So. Main Street after leaving West Castleton. -Visted slate company with grandfather. Wathced rubbing and sanding, putting in ovens, used stick to make designs, had shop and shower room, made to order. - Built home in 1898, when father was 4 years old. Had marbleized slate tile in bathroom, mantles, cellar floor, father avoided the business to health hazards. -Irish in Fair Haven? active group. Great grandmothers father was a stone cutter, did grave stones. No Hibernian Club, played cards ("45") for houses on Sunday entertainment (skits) at George Hall. Irish Wake ;lasted 3 nights. At West Caslteton, new glen lake, 1st home at end of street from Castleton to Castleton, walked into Fair Haven for Mass.

Object Type: Library