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Aluminium Cored Foundation

This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.



The above is a rendition of an old advert and the definition of the picture does not do justice to the product. I include the drawing at right to give a more accurate impression of what the material looked like.

The above prices look attractive by today’s standards. I am not sure of the manufacturing process, but I suspect that the aluminium core was passed through liquid wax to get a coating on both sides, with some sort of plain rollers to control the overall thickness of the sandwich. Followed by milling through conventional rollers and guillotining to size.

The cellsize has been measured by Allen Dick… He reports 5.00 mm exactly. The drawing at right was produced from one of Allen’s photos. There are more details and a photograph on Allen’s diary page that mentions it’s discovery.

The original pictures and text? were provided by Allen Dick and Barry Birkey, I have rendered them to mimic the layout and style, of the original advertisement that appeared in the November 1959 issue of Bee Culture, on the back cover. I do not know if this material is still manufactured.

The only concerns that I have about the use of this type of foundation are firstly that aluminium is a reactive metal that would taint any honey that it came into contact with, whether the bees would repair a wax film that was damaged is something that I am unsure of (I would hope that it was the case).

Secondly I am concerned that the bees are unable to nibble ‘pop holes’ in it.

Others have commented that the aluminium, being a good conductor, will remove heat from a winter cluster. I am of the opinion that the thickness of the aluminium core material is minimal and so the conduction path has a high resistance to heat flow, and as the cooler extremities of the comb will be insulated by the layers of cells that contain still air, so that should not be a big problem, maybe someone who has direct experience of it’s use can comment?

On 5th April 2002 I can now add that Allen has measured the thickness of material used for the aluminium core and that it is 0.125 mm (0.005″). Further to this Brian Cramp tells me that he has a sample of the actual material… I will be meeting Brian over the next few days and I will report further after handling it.



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