American Asphalt

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Asphalt shingles and roofing materials are made at the East St. Louis plant at 31st Street and the  L. & N. tracks. It is a division of American Asphalt of Kansas City, Missouri, that sells products bearing the name "Old American."

The basic material is rag felt, made, as its name implies, entirely from scrap rags. These rags come from all parts of United States and a great many are imported from foreign countries such as Australia, Japan and Germany. From the sorting room where rags are sorted and graded, they pass through shredding machines to be chopped into small pieces. From shredder the rags are blown through pipes to the beater room into the several beaters. Five beaters are needed to keep the felt mill running at its capacity output of 45 tons of dry felt every 24 hours. The beaters are large oval-shaped tubs with rollers that crush the rags and thoroughly mix them with water, to a consistency and smoothness that removes all the lumps and coarseness. From the beaters, the pulp is now pumped through dehydrating machine where excess water is removed. The pulp is now pressed by cylinders into the form of a sheet and the roll of stock felt becomes compact enough to support its own weight. The felt stock now moves through steam heated rolls that remove nearly all the remaining water. As it comes off the last stack of dryers, it goes onto the winding machine where it is wound up into jumbo rolls, after being trimmed to the proper width.

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Next the rolls are sent to the saturating machine where it is immersed in a tank of hot saturant and then a coat of asphalt tar applied. It then passes to another looper where the surface coat of asphalt is applied, giving the shingle its weather-resisting qualities.

As it leaves this machine a coating of colored stone granules is applied and pressed on to give a smooth, even surface. A 1 of 202 different designs and colors are manufactured at the local plant. Finally, the sheet travels over the cutting table ,ere it is cut into the desired shapes and sizes. The shingles are then packaged into bundles called "squares."




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