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Home > Family Histories > Occupations & Trades > Wax Sweating Plant Operator

Wax Sweating Plant Operator

also Assistant Wax Sweating Plant Operator

  Henderson type sweating houses for refining wax R11-00022

A wax sweating plant operator was employed in wax sweating department at the oil refinery. Wax sweating was the first stage in the purification of crude solid paraffin and was carried out in sweating houses or stoves. A series of residual oils were sweated out of the solid paraffin by heating the paraffin to increasing temperatures and subsequent cooling. This was a fairly long process due to the slow cooling times, especially in warm weather. Consequently, as many as 24 sweating houses were required to cope with the throughput. Each grade of wax coming out of the process was steamed and further filtered into final products.

Many paraffin process workers suffered from skin disorders as a result of working in clothes saturated with oils and waxes. Upper arms and ankles inevitably became heavily soiled, resulting in skin infections, growths and cancers. Scrotal and facial cancers were also reported, often with fatal consequences.

wax plant

Wages & Working Hours

In 1958, an Agreement Between the Scottish Shale Oil Companies and the National Union of Shale Miners & Oil Workers records that a wax sweating plant operator earned 29s 10d per shift. An assistant wax sweating plant operator earned 29s 4d per shift. Day workers worked an average of 44 hours per week (5 days one week and 5.5 days the next week). Three shift or double shift workers worked a 6 day week of 48 hours.


  Wax Sweating Stove R10-00346





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