R. N. RAWSTRON,
manager of the American Asphalt Company at Lawrenceville, Illinois, is a son of Great Britain by birth, casting his lot with America and Americans as lately as in 1909. Since his arrival in America he has been manager of the Asphalt Company mentioned above, and has, through his excellent business ability and his proven fitness for the position he holds, established himself most firmly in Lawrenceville and the surrounding country.
Born in Levenshulme, England, April 16, 1860, Mr. Rawstron is the son of William Rawstron, also born in England, and a cotton manufacturer near Rochdale, England. His mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Nicholson. He was the second child in a family of six, and received good educational advantages, attending Rossall College, near Fleetwood, Lancashire, and later completing his education at a private school in Weisbaden, Germany, conducted by Herr Kiindermann. his education completed, he entered the British army and served thus for a period of twenty-eight years, from 1881 to 1909. in July, 1898, he was ordered out to Egypt to take part in the Soudan expedition, then about to start, with the purpose of smashing the Khalifa at Khartoum. When the campaign was over he remained in the country for the following six years, during the tedious period of pacification, finally returning home in 1904, where, after completing a tour of duty at the War Office, he retired from military life.
Throughout his military career Mr. Rawstron was an enthusiastic cricketer, and so little was his health affected by the hardships of service in Egypt that on returning home he was elected captain of the regimental crickst team, a position that he subsequently proved himself to be eminently fitted for and thoroughly deserving of holding by making the largest number of runs and the biggest individual score of any member of the team, and leading to victory his men in twelve out of sixteen matches during the first year of his captaincy. He continued playing with success this typically British game until he was forty-nine years of age.
In 1909 Mr. Rawstron came to the United States, coming directly to Lawrenceville, where he assumed charge of the new factory of the Amen-can Asphalt Company, a large and fast growing concern with head offices in Chicago. This company manufactures various kinds of asphalt, their specialty being the product known as Pioneer Road Asphalt, a grade of asphalt entirely different from the product of any other manufacturing plant, and generally conceded to be the superior in elasticity and general endurance to any other asphalt known to the trade. Its basic element is gilsonite, and its component parts are gilsonite and oil. A very speaking tribute to the superior qualities of the product of this company was given by Hon. James C. Wonders, state highway commissioner of Ohio in September, 1910, when he reported officially on a stretch of road constructed as an experiment in Columbus for the sole purpose of ascertaining the various values of the different preparations for preventing dust and for binding the surface of macadam roads. Sev
enteen different materials were used in making seventeen separate stretches of road, each four hundred feet in length, the sections forming a continuous road. The report of the state highway commissioner reads as follows: In this section all of the pieces of stone are perfectly bound. No excess of binder is in evidence, the surface is smooth, and its whole condition is excellent. This report referred to the section of road prepared by the American Asphalt Company with Pioneer Road Asphalt. It follows but naturally that Mr. Rawstron should take special pride in his management of a factory that produces something so manifestly superior, and it is safe to assume that his own peculiar ability, with that of his able band of assistants, has something to do with the excellency of the output at this plant. The Lawrenceville factory, erected there in 1910, is built on the most improved lines, and the process used differs much from the old methods prevailing in the manufacture of asphalt. In 1911 the almost new factory at Lawrenceville was destroyed by fire, wrought through carelessness on the part of a new workman at the plant. It was rebuilt in less than six weeks time, and is now as nearly fireproof as such a plant could be. It has most complete fire equipment and all conveniences for dealing with fire, and is altogether a splendid specimen of the most approved and modern plant. The company, which operates another plant at Grand Grossing, Illinois, also manufactures roofing, paint, etc. The average number of men employed at the Lawrenceville factory is twenty-five, and the average output of asphalt is fifty tons daily. This factory was established here in order that it might be easily accessible to the oil fields, oil being one of the principal parts of the product.
In 1885 Mr. Rawstron married Miss Josephine Hennessy, of England, and they have one daughter, Mary. Mrs. Rawstron and their daughter are at present sojourning in London.. Mr. Rawstron is a communicant of the Church of England and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.