California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Continuous Brick Kiln Company of Inglewood

History

Daniel Freeman.
From Workman, 1935.


In early 1888, Daniel Freeman had discovered a deposit of brick clay on his property at Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, and was interested in developing it. Freeman was born in Nissouri, Ontario, Canada, in 1837. In 1866, he married Catherine Christie and they raised three children. While traveling by train through the Southern States in 1873, wife Catherine was suffering from consumption. A newsboy gave Freeman a book entitled Nordhoff's California, and after reading it, Freeman decided to take his ailing wife to California. They first arrived in San Francisco and Freeman set out to look for property. In September 1873, he chose the Centinela rancho at Inglewood, comprising 25,000 acres, and leased it for 5 years with an option to purchase it. He purchased this and additional land in the area and became a major landowner. He raised sheep and later grew barley and wheat. Unfortunately, his wife died in 1874 after they had settled on the rancho.

Map of part of Inglewood showing the location of the Continuous Brick Kiln<br /> 
Company yard on the far right as Brick Yd Reserve.
Map of part of Inglewood showing the location of the Continuous Brick Kiln
Company yard on the far right as "Brick Yd Reserve." From Rueger, 1903.

The clay deposit of interest was along a narrow strip of land on the north side of the Ballona branch of the California Central Railway (now Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway). The clay pit extended from La Brea Avenue on the west 3,500 feet to North Park Avenue on the east and was about 600 feet wide and over 30 feet deep. On March 23, 1888, Freeman and his partner Charles Silent contracted with the Continuous Kiln Company of Omaha, Nebraska, to build the Boehncke patent continuous kiln on his property at Inglewood. Silent assigned all his interests to Freeman in May 1888. The patent rights for the kiln and drier cost $7,000. Max A. Boehncke, the inventor of the kiln, was the plant superintendent. Boehncke had formed his own company called the Centinela Brick-Kiln and Drier Company to promote his new kiln and drier. Boehncke began ordering the materials and equipment for the Inglewood yard in April 1888. The brickyard was completed by September 1889. The plant stood about where La Colina Drive is currently located.

Max A. Boehncke, Plant Superintendent.
Max A. Boehncke, Plant Superintendent.
From The Clay-Worker, 1894.

The continuous kiln was an oblong structure in plan view with a 130-foot tall round stack sitting beside it on one end connected to the kiln by an underground flue. The kiln contained 16 compartments and the whole structure was 93 feet long, 45 feet wide, and 12 feet high, and protected inside a wooden building. The unusual feature of this permanent kiln was the use of green brick sandwiched between burnt brick in the walls. It's capacity was 10,000 bricks per day or 9 million per year. Coal screenings were used for fuel. There were three large drying sheds containing 100,000 pallets to set the green bricks upon for drying using waste heat from the kiln. This allowed the brickyard to manufacture bricks all year round.

The brick plant consisted of two Creager crushing and grinding mills, two Quaker pug mills with a total capacity of 70,000 bricks per day, one Perfection repress machine, and one power repress machine. The engine house contained a 90-horse power engine and boiler. The storage shed capacity was 4 million bricks.

Advertisement showing the continuous kiln at Inglewood.
Advertisement showing the continuous kiln at Inglewood. From The Brickmaker, 1893.

On June 13, 1888, the Continuous Brick Kiln Company of Inglewood was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000, divided into 50 shares of $1,000 each. The directors were Daniel Freeman, president; Lionel A. Sheldon, vice-president; Charles H. Howland, secretary; A.C. Freeman, treasurer; and W.H. Bonsall. Archibald C. Freeman was the eldest son of Daniel Freeman and Charles H. Howland was married to Daniel's daughter Grace. On August 21, 1890, the Southern California Continuous Kiln Company was incorporated to handle the patent rights assigned to Daniel Freeman and the business transactions with the Continuous Kiln Company of Omaha. The capital stock was $60,000, divided by 60 shares at $1,000 each. The directors were Daniel Freeman, Archibald C. Freeman, Charles Freeman, George Cochran, and Frank H. Suffel. Daniel Freeman was president and George Cochran was secretary and treasurer.

The bricks produced were described as being uniform in color and quality. Hard bricks were the most desired but apparently soft bricks constituted about 20 percent of each burn. Common bricks were formed in sanded six-brick molds and pressed bricks were made in the repress machines. In June 1888, the California Central Railway ran a spur line into the brickyard and the brick company contracted with it to supply cars for shipping the bricks to Inglewood for 56 cents per 1,000 and to Los Angeles and Redondo Beach for $1.12 per 1,000 bricks.

The first order for bricks came in September 1889 for the Los Angeles Orphan Asylum at Boyle Heights. In March 1890, 8,000 bricks were sent to the State Reform School at Whittier. In December 1890, 600,000 bricks went into the buildings at the Soldiers Home at Sawtelle. From December 1891 to May 1892, 3.5 million bricks were manufactured for the Bradbury Building at Broadway and Third streets in Los Angeles. These were used in the rear, side, and inner walls of the building and provide the examples of their common bricks shown below. In December 1892, 650,000 bricks went into the depot for the Southern California Railway in Los Angeles. In 1892 and 1893, nearly 3 million bricks were used in the sewer outfall line. In 1894, bricks were shipped to the Irvine Building on Broadway in Los Angeles.

On December 20, 1894, the brick company was indebted to Daniel Freeman to the amount of $40,000. As a result the brick company filed a quit claim and assigned all its properties to Freeman. The Continuous Brick Kiln Company was dissolved. For many years afterwards, Daniel Freeman leased the brickyard to other parties. He died in 1918.


Continuous Brick Kiln Company Brick

Common brick is pale orange red, orange-red, and red and mostly uniform in color. The surface has a gritty feel due to the quartz-sand coating of mostly subangular, orange-stained, translucent quartz. The external surfaces of the sides contain pits as much as one inch across and exposed clasts of subrounded to subangular red sandstone, yellow clay, and white quartz and granite, as much as 3/4 inch in diameter. The percentage of clasts seen on the surface ranges from 4 percent to 10 percent, apparently increasing with higher degree of erosion. However, most of the bricks in the building are painted over so these numbers may not be representative and other features that may be present are hidden. On some bricks, irregular lip up to 1/4 inch thick is seen around the top edges of the brick, some with double lips. The form is good with slightly undulating and nearly sharp edges and nearly sharp corners. The edges are often chipped. Some bricks show stack indentations, some oriented at an angle to the sides. The lighter colored bricks, which are underfired, tend to spall easily, some turning to a soft powder that erodes easily. These may be the soft bricks that are usually rejected, but they were apparently used in the walls of the Bradbury Building. The top and bottom faces of the brick could not be observed. The interior clay body has quite a range of internal clasts. In some bricks, the clasts are 3 percent, while in others, they are as high as 15 percent, perhaps reflecting different types of material from the clay pit. The clasts are mostly subangular white quartz and granite, rounded yellow clay, and subrounded red sandstone, ranging up to 1/4 inch in diameter. Some bricks contain mostly fine white quartz and granite clasts, while others have mostly white granite and red sandstone. These are in a porous (5 percent) orange-red clay body. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. Length 8, width 3 3/4, height 2 1/4 inches.

View of the painted sides of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company common brick in the rear wall of the Bradbury Building.
View of the painted sides of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company
common brick in the rear wall of the Bradbury Building.

View of the sides of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company common brick showing the range of exposed clasts.
View of the sides of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company
common brick showing the range of exposed clasts.

View of the end of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company common brick showing some spalling.
View of the end of the Continuous Brick Kiln
Company common brick showing some spalling.

Close-up view of the variety of clasts in the Continuous Brick Kiln Company common brick.
Close-up view of the variety of clasts in the Continuous Brick
Kiln Company common brick. The largest clast is 1/4 inch across.

View of the interior clay body of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company common brick showing mostly fine quartz and granite.
View of the interior clay body of the Continuous Brick
Kiln Company common brick showing lots of fine quartz
and granite. The largest clast measures 1/8 inch across.

View of the interior clay body of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company common brick showing few quartz and red sandstone.
View of the interior clay body of the Continuous Brick Kiln
Company common brick showing few quartz and red sandstone.

References

A Remarkable Career, Clay-Worker, v. 21, no. 6, June 1894, p. 47.

Agreement, Continuous Kiln Company of Inglewood and California Central Railway Company, June 30, 1888, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Continuous Kiln Company of Inglewood and W.A. Doyle, July 10, 1890, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Continuous Kiln Company of Omaha and Charles Silent and Daniel Freeman, March 23, 1888, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and A.F. Mackay and F.C. Young, April 5, 1893, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and A. McNally, September 24, 1889, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and Duvall, Mills and Company, December 29, 1892, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and F.C. Kurrle, October 23, 1894, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and Henry Martz, W.A. Frick, and J.S. Frick, December 30, 1892, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and Henry Martz, W.A. Frick, and J.S. Frick, January 25, 1893, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and J.B. Hughes and August Mayer, January 21, 1893, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman and L.L. Bradbury, November 18, 1891, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, Daniel Freeman, Max A. Th. Boehncke and F. Hasper, and Southern California Kiln Company, March 30, 1891, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Agreement, F.C. Young and Inglewood Brick Co., March 12, 1890, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Articles of Incorporation of the Continuous Brick Kiln Company of Inglewood, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Articles of Incorporation of the Southern California Continuous Kiln Company, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Assignment, Charles Silent to Daniel Freeman, May 29, 1888, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Assignment, Continuous Kiln Company of Omaha to Daniel Freeman, February 18, 1892, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Boehncke and Rohwer Continuous Brick Kiln of Inglewood advertisement, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Boehncke, Max A., Continuous Brick Kiln of Inglewood drawings, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Boehncke, Max A. to Charles Silent letter, 1888, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Boehncke, Max A. to Daniel Freeman letter, April 10, 1888, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Boehncke, Max A. to Daniel Freeman letter, March 9, 1888, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Boehncke's Improved Common-Sense Kiln, The Brickmaker, v. 17, no. 5, November 15, 1893, p. 42.

Continuous Brick Kiln Company of Inglewood minutes, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Continuous Brick Kiln Company of Inglewood sales ledger, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Federal Census Records, 1900.

Federal Census Records, 1910.

Guinn, J.M., Historical and Biographical Record of Southern California, Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago, 1902, p. 1279-1280.

Hasper, F., Continuous Kilns - Driers Attached, Clay-Worker, v. 13, no. 5, May 1890, p. 376.

Inglewood Patent Continuous Brick Kiln Co., undated flyer, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

MaryEllen, Daniel Freeman, Ancestry.com Family Trees (accessed September 23, 2014).

Rueger, Henry, Rueger's Atlas of Los Angeles City, 1903, p. 76.

Southern California Continuous Kiln Company Minutes, Loyola Marymount University Library, Los Angeles, Daniel Freeman Family Papers CSLA-33.

Staff of the William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, Daniel Freeman Family Papers, special thanks for locating all of the brick company documents from CSLA-33.

U.S. Geological Survey, 15-Minute Quadrangle Topographic Map, scale 1:62,500, 1930 edition.

Workman, Boyle, The City That Grew, The Southland Publishing Co., Los Angeles, 1935.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.