Rock Wool Manufacturing Co. (Leeds)

Rock Wool Manufacturing Company was founded in Leeds, Alabama in 1943. The company began as a manufacturer of blown wool insulation, primarily for residential properties and expanded over the next decade. Its product line grew to include industrial insulation products, including mineral wool board and insulating cement. The industrial insulation market proved successful and Rock Wool Manufacturing Company continued to produce its current product line into the 1980’s. At that time, high temperature pipe insulation fabrication was added to the company's commercial product line. Asbestos was a key material used in insulation production throughout the United States and Rock Wool Manufacturing Company was no exception. Asbestos was known to be a reliable insulation material, even in high temperatures applications. In addition, it was inexpensive and easy to obtain since it was mined in several countries around the world. Asbestos remained the material of choice for 30 years for the Alabama-based manufacturer. Due to the common use of asbestos in its insulation products, employees of Rock Wool Manufacturing Company were subject to asbestos-related diseases. These included mesothelioma, a form of cancer, and asbestosis. These diseases are not uncommon and in fact, have been diagnosed in plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, construction workers, U.S. Navy veterans, shipyard workers and others in construction-type professions. Rock Wool Manufacturing Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996, as a result of a number of asbestos-related lawsuits brought against the company by its employees. These lawsuits included property damage claims and personal liability claims. In order to process the claims, the manufacturer organized the Rock Wool Manufacturing Company Asbestos Trust in 1999. All unsettled or future claims are handled by the trust. Rock Wool Manufacturing Company continues production today. Markets served by Rock Wool Manufacturing Company include the industrial, commercial and marine industries, with pipe insulation manufactured as well. A recent expansion increased Rock Wool Manufacturing Company's ability to meet demand for its pipe insulation products, both in production and order fulfillment. Products in high demand include metal mesh blankets, Delta board, Lamella, sound insulation board and Delta pipe insulation.