Harbison-Walker Refractories Company
Harbison-Walker Refractories Company was founded in 1865 by J.K. Lemon. By 1910, the company had developed a diverse line of industrial products, such as, super-duty silica refractories for steel mills, fire clay, forsterite refractories for glass manufacturing, products for open-hearth steel furnaces, kilns and copper converters. Harbison-Walker manufactured high-grade, fireproof, ceramic refractory products, which are used for high-temperature environments. Such products are needed by many industrial settings, such as the cement, lime glass, iron and steel industries.
Harbison-Walker grew rapidly during the industrial expansion of the 20th century. The company’s operations spanned from Canada to Peru. The company operated many iron mills and clay mines. Eventually free trade lowered demand in the United States for domestic steel, however, and Harbison-Walker downsized its works force. In 1998, Halliburton Company bought Harbison-Walker for $7 billion.
Unfortunately, to make its products heat-resistant, Harbison-Walker used asbestos in great measure for decades. As early as the 1920s, physicians recognized that exposure to asbestos caused severe sickness when asbestosis was identified by British medical journals. At the same time, insurance companies in the United States and Canada stopped selling life insurance to asbestos workers. Moreover, safer substitutes for most asbestos uses were known as early as the 1930s. Nevertheless, Harbison-Walker chose to protect its substantial profit margins rather than discontinue use of the mineral.
Additionally, the asbestos fibers remain in a person’s lungs for years and symptoms may not develop for decades. Harbison-Walker’s victims might live for decades without knowing of the deadly injury they sustained.
The company placed its own employees and customers in grave danger of the serious health conditions caused by asbestos exposure. Harbison-Walker’s use of asbestos placed workers of many industries at severe risk, especially steel workers, chemical plant employees, potters, shipyard workers, glazers, miners and boilermakers.
In 2002, Harbison-Walker filed bankruptcy protection due to asbestos injury claims. In 2005, Halliburton settled Harbison-Walker’s asbestos claims with a $4.17 billion settlement. If you or a loved one has been injured by Harbison-Walker, it is important that you contact The Gori Law Firm immediately for more information on your rights.