African Pegmatite

A Brief Family History

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1837, Albert Francis Wenger joined his great uncle Mr. Richard’s pottery company, Nyon Porcelain, in Switzerland in 1854. He soon began working with Richard Ginori of Milan Italy and quickly became chief chemist. Albert was chosen by the Municipality of Milan to report on ceramics at the Empire Exhibition in London in 1871. Impressed by the standard of quality achieved by British potters, he decided to relocate.

Wenger established Wengers Limited (incorporated as a Ltd company in 1895) in Staffordshire, the home of English pottery, in 1870. Wengers Ltd produced colours, glazes, and chemicals for the pottery, tile, and glass industries. The original works were in Cobridge and moved to Parker Street, Hanley (Helvetia Works) by 1877, then to Etruria around 1900 Wenger had also been in two partnerships with John T Cope (J.T. Cope & Co.) and James Best (Mine Owners and Clay Merchants), but these partnerships were dissolved in 1886 and 1896 respectively.

Albert became a naturalised British citizen in 1893. Fluent in French, German, and Italian, he travelled through Europe, creating and maintaining valuable business connections. Quickly earning a reputation as a connoisseur with considerable artistic prowess, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Chemical Society. He was one of the leading chemists in Europe.

Wenger introduced numerous modern improvements to pottery manufacturing, such as vaporisers for spraying colours, and was the first manufacturer of lustres in England. He also created liquid gold and was the sole supplier in the UK. He died in 1924.

Francis Edward Wenger was the fifth child born to Albert. He was educated at Heidelberg University, graduated with a first-class degree in chemistry, and spoke fluent German. Francis, also known as Edward Francis, joined the Territorial Force soon after it’s creation. The following year, he was commissioned into the 5th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment. By the end of his impressive military career, Francis was in command of his battalion as a Brevet Colonel. He retired in 1932, but volunteered for duty during the second World War. He was awarded the Military Cross, two bars, and the Territorial Decoration.

Francis Edward was invited by the British government to assess the state of the German chemical industry in 1945 because of his excellence in chemistry and his interpreter-grade German. He died in 1946 at his home at Brampton, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Edward James Wenger was born in 1938 to Henry Wenger and Mary Kent, daughter of James Kent, James Kent Ltd (millers and pottery manufacturers). Edward attended Ampleforth College, Homdelschule Dr Leipold Munich (1956), University of Madrid (1958), and Ceramic College of Technology (1959).

After working for Wenger’s Ltd for five years while attending University of North Staffordshire, Edward immigrated to South Africa for the beneficial climate and milling opportunities. He worked at Vaal Potteries as the resident Ceramist and as the Ceramic Manager for Ferro Enamels, Ferro Corporation of Ohio USA. High demand and a premium location encouraged Edward to found African Pegmatite Ltd in 1971.

African Pegmatite has remained a family business based on quality and experience, with Edward’s son Andrew Wenger as the current COO. He and his capable team of managers continue to research and develop a broader range of products that ships worldwide to provide precise solutions for a variety of industries.


About African Pegmatite

African Pegmatite is a one-stop shop for high-performance industrial materials. We began in 1971 filling orders for fine-milled coal dust and slate for coal-tar paints that were applied as lagging for reticulation pipes. Business soon expanded to include the milling of specialised coal dusts for the foundry industry.

For almost fifty years, African Pegmatite has provided vital compounds to many industries, including brick, tile, glass, water filtration, and foundry, using raw materials from premium sources. A large part of our business has developed into the milling of organic and inorganic minerals and chemicals made to customers’ specifications for specialised applications.

These compounds enable production in many industries and contribute considerably to the quality of finished products in still more. Imperfections are reduced and eliminated, colours and textures are enhanced, and the performance of many finished products is improved by having the right materials for each job.

Over these five decades, we’ve developed cost-effective manufacturing practices that allow us to remain competitive. Our well-established logistics channels and custom shipments and deliveries offer a smooth and enjoyable experience for our customers, helping them to maintain low manufacturing costs and uninterrupted production.