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Oil Hose in the Ocean

Melville Castle Training

Rush Order for Hose for Korea

Sanctuary for Super Tanker

Esso Refinery at Milford Haven

Markets for our Products in Monsoon Asia

Europe's most modern Hose Factory

Hose Sales conference 1959

Centre Block Rehabilitation

Drawing of New Factory

New Foundations

Hose Production at Castle Mills


November 17 2014
An explanation of Oil Hose out in the oceans

Thanks to Bruce Stewart


October 20 2011

This was from a training meeting for Superintendents and Foreman 
at the Melville Castle Hotel in 1969

The Poet was either Jim Daly or Willie Williamson--Editor

January 15 2011

Another excellent example of the cooperation between International Sales and all the Factory

January 4 2011
Another great example of the first class technology and quality that came out of Castle Mills--
This was from the N B News of January 1962

November 25 2010
Another example of the excellent products produced at Castle Mills

and below is the remainder of the story

November 7 2010
There are two pages below with the heading "Markets for our Products in Monsoon Asia

November 7 2010
The Story of Europe's most modern Hose factory


November 7 2010

September 26  2010
This report was taken from a 1959 NB news

Apologies but this was the best I could do with the photos
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March 22 2008

From NB News of July/August 1957

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March 22 2008

f From the NB news of July/August 1957

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March 21 2008

This article below appeared in the NB News in the December issue of 1957

 Please Note

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January 2008

An interesting story of Fire hose taken from N B News of 1956

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  March 7 2006

Our thanks to Jim Finlay for this article, Jim says he had  help from Clive Thawley whom we also  thank.

Hose Production at Castle Mills

The Castle Mills factory produced an extensive range of Industrial hose.  Most was mandrel made in lengths up to 60 ft. which was the Industry standard at that time. Water, Air, Oxy-Acetylene, Oil, Brewers, and Wire Braided Hydraulic hose were  manufactured for both domestic and  export markets.
 Some interesting applications were ;-

1.                  Water hoses externally armoured over heat resistant covers.  This type was regularly supplied to the Steel Company of Wales to protect the hose in the  high temperatures environment of  the steel making process.

2.                  Wire Braided Hydraulic hose for industry and in particular the National Coal. This hose was regularly assembled for the N.C.B.  by  Flexaulic Ltd in Wrexham. 

3.                  Wire Reinforced steam hose, externally armoured, and supplied to oil refineries fitted with boss type couplings for fire fighting applications.

4.                  Fire engine textile hoses processed by fitting an internal rubber tube blown into the carcase and cemented to the hose under pressure. Tricky one!

5.                  ‘Helicord’ Long Length Moulded hose of a textile spiral construction.


The manufacturing area at Gibson Terrace was reserved for the production of a range of large bore suction and discharge hoses  with built in flanged steel fittings.   The maximum bore size was 24 inch.    These units were  supplied to the major oil companies for oil suction and discharge purposes at Oil Terminals and on sea tankers.   Each was tested and certificated before despatch.  A variety of tube compounds including Neoprene, Nitrile, Butyl, and Viton were used to produce hoses for specific and demanding applications.  It was a regular sight in Edinburgh to see these giant hoses with their long wooden slatted protective covers being transported through the City on their way to oil terminals in the U.K. and  in export markets. 

Rotary and Vibrator hoses, used for pumping mud at high pressure to the drilling bits in the oil drilling process, were produced for export markets. Each unit was fitted with  built in A.P.I. fittings and lengths up to 55ft. were standard.


Oil is only too often found in remote regions of the world and where this is offshore in the sea it is often uneconomic to build production pipelines to transfer the product to the the nearest shore. The berthing of sea tankers offshore to load the crude oil from the production point is an attractive and economic alternative. The initial development of  large bore Floating hose lines, still widely used today for this type of application, was conducted by NBR technicians at Castle Mills.

Shell Petroleum challenged our hose engineers and technicians to develop a strong and reliable floating hose construction that could be used for the oil transfer flexible link between offshore production and the sea tanker. This was usually  through a buoy system or a moored tanker. The hose was required to float and resist the action of waves and abrasion over extended periods. (Some initial applications required the hose to sink when not in use and float when filled with oil!)

The development team was headed up by John Black in London, and Ian Cameron, and John McWilliams at the factory. They were joined by George Dunnet, Stan Watt,  and Clive Thawley, who headed up the development of the floating hose constructions. . Stan Watt was the engineer responsible for the installation of the hose into the loading systems. He worked closely with the major buoy manufacturers such as S.B.M. Systems of Monaco, and  Imodco of the U.S.A.   Extensive trials of various types of hose lines and floatation collars was carried out.  Sea trials were conducted at the May Island site in the Firth of Forth.

The May Island was selected as being ideally situated for the sea testing of the various floating hose designs during the development stages and was reasonably close to the factory. The development involved the attachment of floatation collars along the length of the hose and these were fitted over rubber bands vulcanised onto the hose covers during manufacture. The floats, produced in Italy, and bright orange in colour for identification purposes were subjected to the very severe sea conditions existing in the Firth of Forth.   There are many stories of members of the Development group being quite ill on their various trips by the small boat transporting them from Granton  Harbour which was used to regularly check the hose lines anchored at sea.   There were reports from time to time of ‘strange orange floats’ being reported floating in the Firth of Forth. This usually indicated that further development work was required and also perhaps a search for the hose line usually under water at this stage!

The product development continued and eventually produced an acceptable design and production was commenced. The hose designs continued to be developed as actual system operating conditions were evaluated in the field.  The floatation collars, always vulnerable to external damage which in turn caused a loss of floatation in the hose, were gradually phased out over the years in favour of floatation incorporated into the hose carcase just below the cover.  The maximum hose bore size also increased to 24 inch allowing greater throughput through the systems and enabling a quicker loading time for the tankers.

 The ongoing hose development eventually produced a twin carcase hose construction offering greater resistance to damage and minimising the danger of oil pollution the ever present threat to the environment.

With the closure of the Castle Mills factory the equipment and the building expertise built up over many years was transferred to the Manuli Group in Italy.  George Dunnet, who was involved over many years in the Gibson Terrace product lines supervised the production transfer and start of production at the Ascoli Piceno factory in southern Italy.  Stan Watt and Ian Cameron also transferred to the Manuli Group and continued with the customer contact in system design and marketing.

The concept is widely used today offering economic oil production from remote offshore areas in many parts of the world.

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