The Star Aluminium Company Limited was founded in 1933, and quickly acquired half of the vacant A.J.S. site at Graiseley Hill.

The business was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss Aluminium Group, Alusuisse. The factory, which in the early days fronted onto Marston Road, was called Alustar Works.

The firm’s main product, aluminium foil, was produced from aluminium ingots, which after casting into slabs were rolled in a rolling mill to produce a range of foil thicknesses, down to less than one-tenth the thickness of a human hair.

 

An advert from 1953.

 

An advert from 1956.


One of the rolling mills on the Graiseley Hill site.

The foil’s primary use was for packaging such items as cigarettes, confectionary, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, and also for cooking and storing food.

It became a familiar sight as a cap for milk bottles, and a popular packaging for dairy products, baked foodstuffs, and frozen food.

Star House-Foil and Star Garden Foil were marketed for the housewife and the gardener.

Because the foil could be produced in a range of thicknesses to suit the customer, it found applications in many industries, including shipbuilding, aircraft manufacture, electronics, and engineering construction.

Its many applications in electronics included foil for capacitors, cable screening and transformer windings.

Star foil was supplied in reels of up to 56 inches wide, the widest foil made in the UK. It could be laminated to paper, film, or board, and readily accepted colouring, or printing.

Other applications included rigid foil containers (‘Sealway’ containers) for the bakery trade to house cakes or meat pies, and for convenience food.

It also found a use in the decorating trade as ‘Star Wall Foil’, an effective protection against damp.


Reducing foil thickness in the rolling mill.


Double foil rolling.

The foil sold extremely well, and by 1946, 50 tonnes were produced each week.

In the mid 1960s further extensions were made to the Marston Road site, extending it the Penn Road, with a new entrance at number 97 Penn Road.

Additional premises were acquired in Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton, Primrose Avenue, Fordhouses, and in 1956 at Bridgnorth, making the firm the largest manufacturer of aluminium foil in Britain.

By 1961 the company had over 1,000 employees.

 

Star foil became a household name, and sales greatly increased. From the two rolling mills at Wolverhampton and Bridgnorth, the company's fleet of lorries delivered foil to all parts of the country, and directly to Europe via the cross-channel ferries.


The new factory extension on the Penn Road.


The finished product coming off the rolling mill.

The company ran a successful sports and social club at 72 Temple Street, Wolverhampton. It was above the Palais de Dance.

The works at Wolverhampton continued to operate in parallel with Bridgnorth until 1981 when the decision was taken to concentrate production at Bridgnorth. This resulted in the closure of the Wolverhampton factory.

In 1996 production at Bridgnorth exceeded 1,000 tonnes per week. A lot of investment has been made at the site, including a new hot mill, slitting line, and annealing furnace.

In 2000 the business merged with the Canadian company Alcan, and in 2001 the Bridgnorth factory, now called Bridgnorth Aluminium, was acquired by Elval S.A., the sole Greek producer of flat rolled aluminium products.


A slab of aluminium enters the hot mill at the start of the rolling process.


A final view of a rolling mill.


An advert from 1959.


An advert from 1972.


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