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TITLE
Tin of Di-Atom car cleaner
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_ARCH_0001
PLACENAME
Lealt, Valtos
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmuir
PERIOD
1950s
CREATOR
Rollo Di-Atom Co., Bonnybridge
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
12813
KEYWORDS
industry
diatomite
Tin of Di-Atom car cleaner

This red metal tin of car cleaner is a product of the diatomite industry which was once a significant employer in the Isle of Skye.

The original red and yellow paper label reads:
Scottish Di-Atom car cleaner and polish containing diatomite from Loch Cuithir in the Isle of Skye and Silicone. Made in Scotland.

The label on the reverse reads:
INSTRUCTIONS
Apply liberally with a soft duster using a circular motion of the duster so as to cover every part of the section being cleaned. In a few seconds the surface will dry to a pink-white covering. Polish lightly with a clean soft duster and a brilliant polish which is water repelling will come up without labour.
Do not apply in Hot Sun.
The Original Car Polish to use Diatomite.
The ROLLO DI-ATOM CO. BONNYBRIDGE, SCOTLAND

The label on one edge reads: Shake before using. Contents 10 Fl Ozs.
The other edge reads: Diatomite is found and worked in the bed of Loch Cuithir in the Isle of Skye.
It is composed of the prehistoric remains of very minute animal life which will not harm paint work or chrome. Di-Atom polish has Diatomite held in suspension with Wax, Silicone and other ingredients.
A Product of Highland Industry

Diatoms are microscopic unicellular algae, with an outer shell of silica. When the diatoms die, the minute shells sink and accumulate on the floor of the marine or freshwater environment in which the algae lived, forming a silica-rich mineral called diatomite. Being inert and virtually indestructible, diatomite has many uses in industry including as a filter for beer, juices and oils, in sound proofing material and heat resistant products, and as a filler in many products from cement to dynamite. It also has low abrasive properties which make it suitable for toothpaste and other cosmetic applications, and for polishes for silver and vehicles, hence the Di-Atom car cleaner pictured.

The deposits of diatomite on Skye are the most significant Scottish examples. High quality deposits were discovered at Loch Cuithir, Lealt in the Trotternish area of Skye, a few miles north of Portree. From 1899 until 1914, some 2,000 tons of diatomite were extracted, involving transporting the wet mineral across three miles of rough moorland to the cliffs above a small bay. Ruined buildings on the shore below show where the diatomite was dried and processed before being transferred to ships for export. Around fifty people were employed during this time.

Extraction ceased in 1914, but interest revived at various times in the following decades. An assessment in the 1930s proved that the Loch Cuithir deposit amounted to around 30,000 tons but the isolated location and wet site which meant that flooding of equipment was a constant problem, lead to delays in development. In the mid-1950s, a factory which could produce a higher quality product was built in Uig on the other side of the island. However the costs of transportation and processing outweighed any profits and the factory closed in 1960. Further studies were carried out with a view to reviving the industry but without success


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Tin of Di-Atom car cleaner

INVERNESS: Kilmuir

1950s

industry; diatomite

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

Artefact Collection, Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

This red metal tin of car cleaner is a product of the diatomite industry which was once a significant employer in the Isle of Skye. <br /> <br /> The original red and yellow paper label reads:<br /> Scottish Di-Atom car cleaner and polish containing diatomite from Loch Cuithir in the Isle of Skye and Silicone. Made in Scotland.<br /> <br /> The label on the reverse reads:<br /> INSTRUCTIONS<br /> Apply liberally with a soft duster using a circular motion of the duster so as to cover every part of the section being cleaned. In a few seconds the surface will dry to a pink-white covering. Polish lightly with a clean soft duster and a brilliant polish which is water repelling will come up without labour.<br /> Do not apply in Hot Sun.<br /> The Original Car Polish to use Diatomite.<br /> The ROLLO DI-ATOM CO. BONNYBRIDGE, SCOTLAND<br /> <br /> The label on one edge reads: Shake before using. Contents 10 Fl Ozs.<br /> The other edge reads: Diatomite is found and worked in the bed of Loch Cuithir in the Isle of Skye.<br /> It is composed of the prehistoric remains of very minute animal life which will not harm paint work or chrome. Di-Atom polish has Diatomite held in suspension with Wax, Silicone and other ingredients.<br /> A Product of Highland Industry<br /> <br /> Diatoms are microscopic unicellular algae, with an outer shell of silica. When the diatoms die, the minute shells sink and accumulate on the floor of the marine or freshwater environment in which the algae lived, forming a silica-rich mineral called diatomite. Being inert and virtually indestructible, diatomite has many uses in industry including as a filter for beer, juices and oils, in sound proofing material and heat resistant products, and as a filler in many products from cement to dynamite. It also has low abrasive properties which make it suitable for toothpaste and other cosmetic applications, and for polishes for silver and vehicles, hence the Di-Atom car cleaner pictured.<br /> <br /> The deposits of diatomite on Skye are the most significant Scottish examples. High quality deposits were discovered at Loch Cuithir, Lealt in the Trotternish area of Skye, a few miles north of Portree. From 1899 until 1914, some 2,000 tons of diatomite were extracted, involving transporting the wet mineral across three miles of rough moorland to the cliffs above a small bay. Ruined buildings on the shore below show where the diatomite was dried and processed before being transferred to ships for export. Around fifty people were employed during this time.<br /> <br /> Extraction ceased in 1914, but interest revived at various times in the following decades. An assessment in the 1930s proved that the Loch Cuithir deposit amounted to around 30,000 tons but the isolated location and wet site which meant that flooding of equipment was a constant problem, lead to delays in development. In the mid-1950s, a factory which could produce a higher quality product was built in Uig on the other side of the island. However the costs of transportation and processing outweighed any profits and the factory closed in 1960. Further studies were carried out with a view to reviving the industry but without success <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a><br />