Back to Photo Gallery


Glynwed South Bank Iron Works (Star Foundry)  Kirkintilloch 1972

Star Foundry Cupolas


 drying bogies.jpg

A first impression of the Star Foundry was a bit like waking up to find you'd died and gone to Hell.....

Fire, smoke, boiling metal, noise and dust.

Above: Drying the ganister lining of bogies and ladles. The foundry cat used to keep her kittens warm in the bogies, sometimes with tragic results.


Filling a bogie from the "steel"cupola, which produced various different alloys. -e.g. Meehanite

. A bogie full of metal weighed about a ton and was pulled by 2 men. In the late afternoon when the roadways were scattered with debris- (sand, core irons etc.), pulling bogies became a bit more difficult and the metal would slop about and splash out the back.

You would be paid 15p/day extra for the privelege of.pulling bogies and pouring metal



Filling a gantry ladle from the cupola

Mechanised Plant


Skimming bogie



Filling Cran Ladle, for casting in the Heavy Foundry


Tony Zabaraskas,  'Moscow' Meechan and Gibby Meechan

The Pig Bed. Spare metal was poured into sand beds for pig iron. The first two bogies from the cupola were usually a bit too cold for casting and were poured  into the pig bed.  The metal would be covered with a couple of shovels of sand and when cooled a bit, broken into lumps with a steel bar, so that it could be lifted next day. If it set before you could do this, you had to step onto the bed and break it with a sledgehammer. By late afternoon you could be standing on a thin layer of sand, below which were several tons of red hot metal. No sauna can compare with this ordeal.





Casting with a hand-shank ladle 1.5cwt


Mech. Plant


Jimmy Bryston

 Casting -Mech. Plant


Pouring spare metal into a pig mould





Moulder casting with a hand ladle- half hundredweight. Couldn't find his gloves either.


Tam ............   &  Jackie Ryan

 Casting Gutters


Mrs. McAuley   Mick Finnigan

Core Shop: Silica sand mixed with linseed oil binder was rammed into moulds (coreboxes), and baked hard in a rotary oven.  In the foreground, a half core for the inside of a branch pipe casting.



M. Hermit, Andy Cairns and Willie Irvine

 Casting, Petrol Bends



Ready and steady - to take baked oil-sand cores from the oven. The fumes from linseed oil were quite acrid and stung the eyes. In the Mech. Plant, shell cores were made, by blowing resin bonded sand into hot metal coreboxes on a machine, The fumes from this were even worse. The crane operator observed that a foundry was "the only place ye can laugh, greet and choke at the same time."


This man, who delivers cores to the moulders, is efficiently warming up his barrow in readiness for action.



Red hot pipe castings, at the "rap- oot"-Mech Plant. This process was incredibly noisy.



The last residue of fire, metal  and slag was dropped out of the cupola at the end of the shift. You didn't want to be anywhere near it when it dropped.



Moulding Boxes. These are aluminium but cast iron ones were often used, made in-house, cast in sand on the moulding shop floor. The  engineer would then fix any hooks and shackles where required.


machine moulding.jpg 

Machine moulders Charlie Martin & John Gallagher

Machine moulding. The pattern was fixed to a plate and the greensand jolted and squeezed firm around it to form the mould in two parts. the top part or "cope" and the bottom part or "drag". A sand core was put in the middle to form the cavity in the casting .This was a particularly heavy job -Raeburn boilers (?)

Greensand was a mixture of Mansfield Red sand,(with a natural clay which helped to hold its shape when moulded), recycled floor sand, coal dust, a synthetic binder such as dextrin - and a little water.

assembling mould.jpg 

John Gallagher and Charlie Martin

Assembling Mould



 Floor Moulding, using loose patterns, as seen on left. Mick - (far left) liked to sing as he worked- nothing operatic mind, "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" was a favourite.



Floor Moulding The covered container holds CO2 sand, (Silica sand with Sodium Silicate binder), which was rammed around the pattern and then gassed with Carbon Dioxide, which set the sand hard. Usually the mould faces would be painted with a graphite blacking and burnt hard before assembling the moulds, to give the castings a smooth finish.   Note the CO2 gas bottle precariously leaning against a moulding box!


Moulds ready for casting



Casting - Jimmy Bryston

Mechanised. Plant. Sand was delivered to hoppers above 2 jolt and  press machines, for cope and drag, cores inserted and boxes clamped together on the rollers. The boxes cast and rapped out, sand recycled in a continuous operation. Mostly cast-iron pipes and drain goods.The cupola produced a continuous stream of metal pouring into ladles and bogies.



Joe MacKay

 Moulding shop, near the end of a busy day.


Charlie Martin

Last cast of the day.



Geordie Mewes and William McSherrie

Rapping out. Hot heavy work. The castings were removed, cores knocked out, gates and runners hammered off and the sand re-conditioned for using again.



Geordie Mewes and William McSherrie

Rapping out



William McSherrie and Geordie Mewes

Rapping out



Removing gates and runners.  The sand cores can still be seen in place.



William  'Doo' Murphy and Gibby Meechan

 Foundry work was hard, hot, dirty and not without its dangers. The boots worn have quick release fastenings,so they can be kicked off if hot sand or metal gets into them.  Leather gaiters,goggles and gauntlets were also issued for handling hot metal, but few wore them. There is a distinct lack of shiny asbestos suits here too!



Geordie Mewes, William 'Doo'Murphy and William McSherrie

Gaun- tak oor photie!

The bogie on the left was used for slag tapped off the surface of the metal  in the cupola.

  Click to return to top of page


 Images Copyright Alastair MacIntosh 2010                         Glynwed South Bank Iron Works (Star Foundry)  Kirkintilloch 1972