HiTemp Blocks

During the 20th century, a number of businesses produced and sold products made from asbestos. One of these companies was the Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation and they were the biggest manufacturer of asbestos products available at one time. The Ohio-based company’s products included commercial and industrial supplies and building materials.

The most commonly used product made with asbestos was insulation. Philip Carey made a number of insulation products under the name HiTemp and one of these was HiTemp block. This was a block of insulation made in bricks that was used in innumerable private homes and commercial buildings around the country. The product’s name refers to its ability to withstand high temperatures. These blocks were brick-shaped, cheap, durable and considered excellent insulation.

Eventually people at Philip Carey, as well as those who were using their products, could no longer ignore the fact that their asbestos products were unsafe. In the 1950s, the Philip Carey Manufacturing Company hired Dr. Thomas Mancuso to provide medical evidence refuting the dangers of their products. The company hired Mancuso in response to compensation claims emerging from construction and even plant workers who were becoming ill and dying from respiratory illnesses due to exposure to these products.

However, the report produced about Philip Carey’s products not only supported worker claims, but added to their claims. That report even became the basis for future lawsuits and government regulation, including warning labels that were later required on asbestos insulation. The Philip Carey Manufacturing Company was eventually succeeded by Rapid-American, which was the holding company for the defunct construction product manufacturer. Even in the early 1990s, Rapid-American had around 1,000 personal-injury cases pending against it, which included injury and death suffered by the electricians and carpenters who used the company’s products from the 1950s to the 1980s.