California brick

California Clay Manufacturing Company

Advertisement from the Los Angeles City Directory, 1909.


This was the former plant of the California Sewer Pipe Company, located on the northwest corner of Slausen and McKinley avenues in Vernon, Los Angeles County, California. The plant stood on 40 acres of ground. In 1904, California Sewer Pipe Company President William H. Perry and Secretary Stephen H. Mott reorganized the company under the new name of the California Clay Manufacturing Company, to reflect a wider range of products than just sewer pipe. Alex Caskey became the new plant manager. The main office was located at 235 South Los Angeles Street in Los Angeles.

In 1904, the new company purchased from W. G. McVicar 480 acres of clay land at Alberhill in Riverside County. This property contained fire clay of the Paleocene age Silverado Formation. The clay was excellent for making firebrick, sewer pipe, and terra cotta. The Santa Fe railroad traversed the area and provided shipment of clay to the plant at Vernon. In 1905, the company made a contract with the Alberhill Coal and Clay Company to be furnished 5,000 tons of clay per year at a cost of 80 cents to $1 per ton for the next five years.

The plant was equipped with a Barber pipe press for making sewer and drain pipes. Bricks were manufactured using a Brewer wet-mud machine and a Berg press, each capable of making 20,000 bricks per day. Stiff-mud bricks were repressed and marked with the company abbreviations "CAL. CLAY M. CO. LOS ANGELES." The wares were fired in eight downdraft kilns, varying from 30 to 16 feet in diameter. The fuel used was oil. The plant employed about 30 workers.

Little was reported about the production from this plant. In 1908, it had supplied sewer pipe at Bakersfield. The plant manufactured products from 1904 to 1910. In June 1910, the company had announced that it was planning to erect an eight-story building on South Los Angeles Street, between Second and Third, in Los Angeles. At that time, the company was acquired by the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company, which was consolidating several sewer pipe plants in Los Angeles and Riverside counties. Shortly afterwards, Pacific Sewer Pipe Company closed and dismantled the Vernon plant and took over its clay property at Alberhill.

California Clay Manufacturing Company Brick


The firebrick is salmon and somewhat mottled in color. Its form is excellent with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. The surface is smooth with minor pits. A faint velour texture and curved wire-cut grooves are displayed on the faces. The curved grooves form a low-angled arc of 12 to 18 degrees across the face. The marked face has recessed block letters on two lines. The first is "CAL. CLAY. M. CO" and the second is "LOS ANGELES." The periods are square shaped. The interior is composed of a light colored alumina clay. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process and repressed. No dimensions are available.

Marked face of the Cal. Clay M. Co. firebrick
View of the marked face of the California Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick. Photo courtesy of George L. Kennedy


Aubrey, Lewis E., The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, California Mining Bureau Bulletin 38, Sacramento, CA, 1906.

Brick, v. 21, no. 2, 1904, p. 59.

Brick, v. 22, no. 1, 1905, p. 7.

Brick, v. 29, no. 6, 1908, p. 531.

Brick, v. 33, no. 4, 1910, p. 182.

Clay Record, v. 36, no. 12, June 1910, p. 25.

Daviess, S. N., and Bramlette, M. N., The Alberhill and Other Clay Deposits of Temescal Canyon, Riverside County, California, U. S. Geological Survey Open File Report, September 1942.

Gray, Cliffton H., Jr., Geology of the Corona South Quandrangle and the Santa Ana Narrows Area, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties, California, and Mines and Mineral Deposits of the Corona South Quadrangle, Riverside and Orange Counties, California, California Division of Mines Bulletin 178, 1961.

Kennedy, George L., written communications per brick, 2016.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1904.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1909.

Merrill, F. J. H., Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Riverside County, California State Mining Bureau 15th Report, pt. 4, December 1917.

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