A new, small industry has been established at Alberton, P. E. I. where Stephen M. Burke is beginning to manufacture concrete blocks. This is the first such plant to be put into operation west of Summerside. It is hoped that the new industry will expand and provide much needed employment for men in the area.” “The Guardian,” 26 July 1962.
“Perceiving that there would be a sale for a limited number of concrete blocks in the locality, Mr. Burke began to experiment in their manufacture two years ago but was not satisfied with the results. Further experiments were made last year but he still felt his product was not good enough for the construction market.”
“From time-to-time he has received assistance from the National Research Council and during the past winter and spring he has secured additional equipment. Much thought and many hours of labour have gone into his present set-up and he expects to have his product ready for government inspection within a short time.”
“One ingredient of concrete blocks, known as ‘aggregate’, is a mixture of sand and four different sizes of gravel. Mr. Burke obtains his supply at Brae and hauls it the twenty-five miles to Alberton in his own truck.”
“To manufacture the blocks, aggregate, cement and water, in the proper proportions, are combined in a mixer and then carried by a conveyer to the block machine. In this mould box, which holds enough for one block, a fifteen second vibrating process brings the mixture to a semi-solid state. It is then transferred to a platform and left to set. After twenty-four hours the blocks may be piled up but they must be handled carefully for three or four additional days. Complete drying by air takes several weeks.”
“Mr. Burke says his facilities for curing are not perfected yet but he hopes to build a suitable kiln this season. Of concrete block construction, it will be fourteen feet by twenty-two feet with a low roof so there will be a minimum of air to heat. When the kiln is ready for use the concrete blocks will be conveyed to it in the semi-solid state. Its capacity will be six hundred blocks.”
“The blocks will remain in the kiln for three hours with the steam temperature being brought up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This will be followed by a three-hour period of forced air drying. This process will give them eighty percent of their maximum strength.”
“It is unlikely that the demand for concrete blocks will provide steady employment at the plant but part-time work will be provided for two employees. Mr. Burke estimates that three men can manufacture four hundred blocks a day.”
Post Script, “The Guardian,” 19 April 1963.
“Stephen M Burke passed away in the Prince County Hospital on 18 April 1963 as the result of serious injuries sustained the day before while he was attempting to launch a boat at Alberton South.”