239 - Edward RILEY (1831 - 1914)

Riley was a British citizen whose invention entitled « Improvement in manufacture of refractory bricks, crucibles, etc. » was patented in a number of countries, including the USA. The US patent explains the object of the invention as follows: [1]

This invention has for its object improvements in the manufacture of refractory bricks, crucibles, and other articles, and also refractory linings for furnaces and converters, and in the preparation of lime to be moulded into forms adapted to metallurgical and other uses.

I prepare lime for these purposes in such manner that without converting it into hydrate of lime, the lime is made plastic or coherent, or in such a condition that it may be used for the manufacture of bricks, crucibles, tuyeres, or any other form or shape used in furnaces or otherwise as a refractory lining. I also use lime in a plastic, soft, or moistened state for lining furnaces by means of ramming round a mould or core, as usually carried out in lining Bessemer converters, ladles, and steel- furnaces with ganister sand or any other refractory material.

Hitherto there has been great difficulty in using lime for moulding bricks and the like, and for lining furnaces, on account of lime becoming hydrate of lime when moistened with water, in the usual way. I have discovered that when lime is mixed with crude petroleum-oil, petroleum-oil, or other like oils, or crude and waste products from the distillation of petroleum-oils, or tar free from, or practically free from water, lime may be moulded with or without pressure, but preferably with pressure. In this state it may be mixed with silica, oxide of iron, alumina, magnesia, or other materials, to make it more coherent after burning, as practiced in the manufacture of other refractory bricks.

The Luxembourg patent application was filed on 4 July 1879 under the title of:

Perfectionnements dans le fabrication des briques réfractaires, des creusets et des revêtements réfractaires pour fours, fourneaux et convertisseurs

RILEY was represented by Auguste LIGER, avocat-avoué.

The patent was directed to a lining composition for Bessemer converters. [2] It was one of the many proposals made around 1878 specially designed for use in the Bessemer converters.

The patent was granted on 27 September 1880 under the 1880 Patent Law. [3]

RILEY’s patent also played an important part in the THOMAS process [4]. It formed part of the package that was licensed to the steel industry together with eight THOMAS patents [5] and three HARMET patents [6].


[1] US patent No 218,315 and GB patent No 4,780/1878

[2] Riley’s English patent was involved in an unusual court case where the Court had to decide whether two patents, filed by different inventors on the same day and concerning substantially the same invention, could both be granted and co-exist; the Court decided in the affirmative and allowed both patents (Law Reports, Chancery Division, 1880, « in re Dering’s patent ».

[3] LU patent No 66 

[4] Das Thomas-Verfahren in Europa, 2009, Klartext-Verlag,  Jacques MAAS,  pages 133-169

[5] see No 235, No 240No 242, No 243, No 251, No 259, No 268, No 274 and No 275

[6] see No 246No 256 and No 278