Harbison Walker

Established in 1865 as the Star Fire Brick Company, the Harbison-Walker Refractories Company underwent a name change to Harbison-Walker in 1875. Specializing in fireproof bricks and industrial materials resilient to high temperatures, the company frequently incorporated asbestos into its products due to its fire-resistant properties.

In 1967, Harbison-Walker merged with Dresser Industries Inc. The 1990s witnessed a surge in asbestos-related lawsuits against Harbison-Walker, with individuals developing asbestos-related diseases after using its products. Responding to this legal challenge, Dresser Industries Inc. merged with energy industry giant Halliburton in 1998, with an agreement to manage all asbestos-related claims originating from Harbison-Walker products.

The acquisition, during which former Vice President Dick Cheney served as the CEO of Halliburton, initially seemed positive. However, the ensuing asbestos-related lawsuits proved financially burdensome for Halliburton, leading to a significant impact on the company’s legal liabilities. In 1999, RHI AG, an Austrian company specializing in refractory products, purchased Harbison-Walker from Halliburton.

Post-acquisition, Halliburton and Dresser continued to handle asbestos-related claims linked to Harbison-Walker products. In 2015, the company rebranded as HarbisonWalker International, solidifying its position as the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the United States.

Harbison Walker produces many items, including KS-4+, a monolithic refractory castable material that can be used to build pizza oven domes, using either a single-sided or double-sided mold.