California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Castaic Brick Company

History

The Castaic Company began operations in 1950 at their brickyard at 32300 Old Ridge Route Road, Castaic, Los Angeles County, California. Mike Mallow was the owner. This company produced 2 1/4 x 3 7/8 x 8 1/4-inch common brick, 1 1/2 x 3 7/8 x 8 1/4-inch split pavers, 3 x 3 x 10-inch commercial oversize, and thin brick of various shades of red.

Castaic Brick Co. brickyard
Overview of the Castaic brick plant and clay pit, Castaic, CA.

The red-burning clay from the Upper Miocene Modelo formation of fine-grained siltstone and shale, was mined from an open cut using Catepillar bulldozers and power shovels. The clay was passed through an 8-mesh screen. Large size material was sent to the W.C. Stoll and Sons hammermill capable of grinding 100 tons per hour. The clay was conveyed to the storage bin capable of holding 8 days worth of production. The ground clay next was conveyed to the pugmill, where it was mixed with ground up brick. Then the mix was loaded into a Stoll hopper and sent to the J.C. Steel and Sons vacuumed extruder to make a clay column. A Lingl slug wire-cutter sliced the column into standard-size common brick. The bricks were fed into a Lingl setter, which loaded 7,056 brick per car.

Castaic Brick Co. brickyard
Castaic brick plant and brickyard, Castaic, CA.

After the bricks were cured they were placed into two Lingl tunnel driers, which were 316 feet long and 17 feet wide. Each drier was capable of handling 28 cars of bricks and it required 42 hours of drying using waste heat from the kilns. The driers reduced the water content of each brick to less than 3 percent. From the driers, the bricks were then fired in a Lingl tunnel kiln of the same dimensions as the drier. The kiln contained 5 zones, each with 18 burners and a preheat zone with 16 burners. The top-fired unit also contained a flashing zone. The cars took 42 hours to complete the trip through the kilns, with temperatures reaching 1,865 degrees F in the hottest zone.

The finished bricks were removed from the cars by a Stoll crane. Sorters hand blended the brick. The Stoll unloading machine placed the brick on pallets and then they were moved to the stretch wrap machine for final packaging. The bricks that needed additional treatment for that manufactured "used brick" look were sent to the company-made tumbling machine, where the bricks were mixed with cement, lime, and asphalt during tumbling.

Castaic Brick Co. brickyard
Stacked Castaic bricks in the brickyard.

Plant capacity in 1950 started at 30,000 brick per day. This was increased to 75,000 brick per day in 1953. By 1984, the plant was producing 13.5 cars per day, or 95,000 brick per day. By 2004, this was increased to 200,000 brick per day. The company had 80-85 employees. Bricks were shipped internationally and, in 2004, was the primary supplier of Home Depot stores. The antique red brick often splashed with white cement can be seen in such buildings as Wendys restaurants in Southern California. A good variety of colors is produced. Some of the names of the brick are Tumbled Red, Typic, Antique, Flash Classic, Chocolate Brown, Tumbled Flash Chocolate Brown, Red, Classic, Chocolate Typic, Flash Burned, and Tumbled Flash. Manganese was added to the clay to create the Chocolate Brown brick that was popularly used in Tudor-style houses.

The Castaic plant closed about 2012 with a large inventory of bricks in the yard.


Castaic Brick

The brick is red to cherry red or brown with smooth sides. White cement on certain bricks was applied to give the brick a used look. The top and bottom faces display curved wire cut marks and longitudinal grooves and pits. Smooth sides show minor transverse grooves and stacking impressions. Minor crazing is present. The broken surface displays tiny red specks of ground up brick within a compact clay body. This brick was made by using the extruded stiff mud process. Length 7 5/8 - 8, width 3 5/8 - 3 3/4, height 2 1/4 inches.

Castaic Antique brick face
One of the faces of the Antique Castaic brick showing the longitudinal groove and pit marks with cement wash.

Castaic Antique brick side
Side view of the Antique Castaic brick showing the smooth cement wash face.

Castaic Red Smooth brick face
One of the faces of the Red Smooth Castaic brick showing the longitudinal groove and pit marks.

Castaic Red Smooth brick face
Side view of the Red Smooth Castaic brick showing the smooth face with transverse grooves.

Castaic Red Smooth brick end
View of the end of the Red Smooth Castaic brick.


Castaic All White brick
Castaic All White

Castaic Arroyo brick
Castaic Arroyo

Castaic Bostonian brick
Castaic Bostonian

Castaic Chocolate brick
Castaic Chocolate

Castaic Chocolate Flash Matt brick
Castaic Chocolate Flash Matt

Castaic Chocolate Primero brick
Castaic Chocolate Primero

Castaic Chocolate Ruffle brick
Castaic Chocolate Ruffle

Castaic Chocolate Typic brick
Castaic Chocolate Typic

Castaic Classic brick
Castaic Classic

Castaic Diablo brick
Castaic Diablo

Castaic Encenita brick
Castaic Encenita

Castaic Flash brick
Castaic Flash

Castaic Flash Classic brick
Castaic Flash Classic

Castaic Flash Matt brick
Castaic Flash Matt

Castaic Flash Primero brick
Castaic Flash Primero

Castaic Flash Tumbled brick
Castaic Flash Tumbled

Castaic La Costa brick
Castaic La Costa

Castaic Montecito brick
Castaic Montecito

Castaic Old Pasadena brick
Castaic Old Pasadena

Castaic Red brick
Castaic Red

Castaic Red Brash brick
Castaic Red Brash

Castaic Red Matt brick
Castaic Red Matt

Castaic Red Primero brick
Castaic Red Primero

Castaic Red Ruffled brick
Castaic Red Ruffled

Castaic Red Tumbled brick
Castaic Red Tumbled

Castaic Sacramento Blend brick
Castaic Sacramento Blend

Castaic San Rafael brick
Castaic San Rafael

Castaic San Rafael Primero brick
Castaic San Rafael Primero

Castaic San Rafael Tumbled brick
Castaic San Rafael Tumbled

Castaic Santa Cruz brick
Castaic Santa Cruz

Castaic Sherwood brick
Castaic Sherwood

Castaic Typic brick
Castaic Typic

References

Castaic Brick Company, www.castaicbrick.com (accessed 2004).

Endicott, Wayne A., New Plant Makes "Used Brick" With High Fuel Efficiency, Brick and Clay Record, v. 1, 1983, p. 38-40.

Gay, T.E., and Hoffman, S.R., Mines and Mineral Resources of Los Angeles County, California, California State Mining Bureau, California Journal of Mines and Geology, v. 50, no. 3-4, 1954, p. 467-709.

Higgins, Josh, written communications, 2013.

Howser, Huell, Brickyard, VHS video.

Copyright 2004 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.