California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company

Advertisement from the Los Angeles City Directory, 1904
Advertisement from the Los Angeles City Directory, 1904

History


The Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company was incorporated on July 1, 1902, with a capital stock of $25,000, at Corona, Riverside County, California. The directors were C. E. Kennedy and A. A. Caldwell of Riverside, and M. W. Findley, E. A. McGillivray, and A. F. Legay of Corona. Findley was president and plant superintendent. The works stood on the property of 10 acres, west of the Corona Gas and Electric Company plant on Railroad Street and west of the depot, about one-half mile west of Corona. Findley, McGillivray and Legay were also directors in the adjacent gas and electric plant. The company office from 1904 to 1908 was in the Stimson Building at 256 South Spring Street in Los Angeles. Afterwards the office was located at 411 South Main Street in Los Angeles.

Post card of the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona.
Post card of the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona.

In September 1903, work began on constructing the brick plant on the south side of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Robert Baldwin of Corona furnished 120,000 bricks for the kilns and stacks. By November, the kilns were built and the machinery was installed, which included a dry-press brick machine made by the American Clay Manufacturing Company. In January 1904, a large reservoir for holding crude oil was built. In December 1904, the company built a warehouse in Los Angeles to store bricks. In March 1905, the plant added an 80 by 250 foot corrugated iron building to accommodate new stiff-mud machinery, which was made by Taplin-Rice Company of Akron, Ohio, for the manufacture of wire-cut bricks. The initial grinders and mixers were made by the Riverside Foundry and Machine Works. The new machinery at that time was powered by electric motors aggregating a capacity of 80 horsepowers. Steam was used to power the plant. It also added a 50- by 250-foot building and six additional 28-foot kilns, which totaled to 10 downdraft kilns. Oil was used for watersmoking and firing the kilns.

Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.
Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.

Prior to April 1905, the machine capacity was 250,000 pressed brick per month and the kiln capacity was 100,000 pressed brick per month. After April 1905, the output was increased to 500,000 per month, including firebrick. In August 1906, the company announced a two-year plan to double the plant capacity and run a day and night shift. The plant was to be enlarged by 15,000 square feet to the south and west of the original dry room by the addition of boiler and dry rooms and a machine shop. By February 1909, there were a sewer-pipe press, two dry pans, and three wet pans, all manufactured by Taplin-Rice-Clerkin Company. The drying room was 450 by 100 feet. The buildings were constructed of wood and corrugated iron. The steam power plant contained 60- and 100-horsepower Atlas engines, an 80-horsepower Atlas boiler, a 60-horsepower Atlas boiler, and an 80-horsepower Erie boiler. There were also four 20-horsepower motors for driving individual machinery. In July 1909, three additional kilns were added and plans to build more to accommodate increasing sewer pipe demands were anticipated.

Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.
Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.

The clay deposit in the Santa Ana Mountains south of Corona, supplied blue clay, which burned to a buff color for making pressed brick, white clay for making pressed brick and pottery ware, and red clay for making red pressed brick. The material was transported by rail to the plant, where it was passed through a perforated steel screen to the wet or dry pans and then to a home-made pugmill, where water was mixed with the clay and grog.

Machine Room at the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.
Machine Room at the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra
Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.

Products made at this plant included sewer pipe, terra cotta pipe, terra cotta fireproofing, firebrick, and pressed brick in various shades of color. Pressed brick were mainly white, buff, and spotted of high quality. From May 1904 to March 1905, dry-pressed firebricks and pressed bricks were made. After March 1905, wire-cut firebricks and hollow tile blocks were made along with pressed bricks. By 1909, brick production appeared to have been almost completely replaced by sewer pipe as the main product. All production ended in June 1910. The following are the details of reported production from this plant.

Drying room at the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.
Drying room at the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.

The first shipment went out during the last week in May 1904, with a carload each of firebrick and pressed brick. August 1904 was a busy month with shipments of 45,000 pressed brick to Los Angeles, 100,000 pressed brick for Riverside, two carloads of pressed brick for Long Beach. Pressed brick was used at the new high school at Whittier. At that time, pressed brick sold at $35 per 1,000. In December 1904, a carload of firebrick was sent to Daggett and another for the light plant at Santa Barbara. In October 1905, gray and buff pressed bricks were used in the Carnegie Library at San Pedro. It was also reported that orders for 60 carloads of pressed brick were ready to be shipped over the next 30 days. In August 1906, an order for vitrified conduits came in from San Francisco, which took two years to fulfill. In October 1906, a pressed brick mantel was donated to the new Santa Fe depot at Corona. In July 1908, there was an increased demand for pressed brick and sewer pipe.

In January 1909, 80,000 feet of sewer pipe was shipped to San Diego. In February 1909, three miles of 8-inch sewer pipe was furnished Los Angeles. In July 1909, 36 miles (250 carloads) of sewer pipe were made for Whittier. In September 1909, sewer pipes were shipped to Mountain View. In December 1909, sewer pipes were shipped to Porterville. In January 1910, 10 miles of sewer pipe went to Los Angeles, 11 miles of sewer pipe went to Corona, and 3 miles of 14- and 16-inch pipes for a private irrigating system. The plant was shipping 120 carloads a month. In June 1910, 15 miles of sewer pipe, 8 to 15 inches, were made for Winslow, Arizona, and a similar amount for Silver City, New Mexico. These were the last jobs for the plant.

Top of the kilns at the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.
Top of the kilns at the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Company plant, Corona. From Brick, 1909.

In January 1906, the company increased its capital stock to $150,000, to help finance the rapidly growing plant expansion. In August 1907, new officers were elected with C. E. Kennedy of Riverside as president and treasurer, G. F. Dean as vice-president, and E. J. Genereau of Ogdensburg, New York, as secretary and manager. The new directors elected were M. W. Findley, N. W. Stowell, C. E. Kennedy, Newman Esick, and G. F. Dean. M. W. Findley remained the superintendent of the works. In 1909, N. W. Stowell was president, Charles Stansbury was vice-president, C. H. Bennett was secretary, M. W. Findley was general manager and superintendent, and C. P. Findley was plant foreman, in charge of 50 workers. Directors elected were N. Essick, M. W. Findley, and J. T. Hammon. In June 1910, the company merged with the California Fireproof Construction Company at Terra Cotta, Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company at Corona, California Clay Manufacturing Company at Vernon, and the Douglass Clay Product Company at Los Angeles. These companies were consolidated under a new company called the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company, which was incorporated with a capital stock of $1,000,000 at Los Angeles. The directors were Foster C. Austin, Paul E. Greer, Fred W. Esgen, and S. M. Simpson. This marked the end of the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta plant as it was closed and eventually dismantled by the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company.

Corona Brick

Corona Firebrick

Corona wire-cut firebrick is dark buff. It has very good form with nearly sharp straight edges and dull corners. The surface is smooth but pitted and crackled. Shallow to steep curved wire-cut marks are displayed on the faces. The marked face has the company initials "C.P.B.CO." in recessed block letters on the first line and "CORONA, CAL." on the second line. The periods are square shaped. The letters stand 3/4 inch in height. The first line spans 4 1/2 inches and the second line spans 5 1/4 inches. Interior contains 5 percent subangular white quartz, as much as 1/2 inch in diameter, and brown iron oxide, less than 1/8 in diameter, some blistered, in a cream compact alumina clay body. Some of the quartz grog are stained red from the iron oxide and the alumina is studded with tiny iron oxides. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 8 3/4, width 4 3/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

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View of the marked face of the Corona wire-cut firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.

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View of the side of the Corona wire-cut firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.

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View of the unmarked face of the Corona wire-cut firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.

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Close-up view of the surface of the Corona wire-
cut firebrick, showing abundant quartz grog,
brown iron oxide, and red iron oxide stains.

References

A Large Sewer-Pipe Contract, Brick, v. 31, no. 1, July 1909, p. 314.

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

Boalich, E.S., Castello, W.O., Huguenin, Emile, Logan, C.A., and Tucker, W.B., The Clay Industry In California, California State Mining Bureau Preliminary Report 7, 1920, p. 90.

Brick, v. 19, no. 3, September 1903, p. 111.

Brick, v. 19, no. 5, November 1903, p. 38.

Brick, v. 19, no. 5, November 1903, p. 170.

Brick, v. 20, no. 1, January 1904, p. 3.

Brick, v. 21, no. 1, July 1904, p. 24.

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

Brick, v. 21, no. 2, August 1904, p. 69.

Brick, v. 21, no. 2, August 1904, p. 215.

Brick, v. 21, no. 6, December 1904, p. 257.

Brick, v. 22, no. 2, February 1905, p. 107.

Brick, v. 22, no. 3, March 1905, p. 200.

Brick, v. 23, no. 1, July 1905, p. 16.

Brick, v. 23, no. 4, October 1905, p. 257.

Brick, v. 24, no. 2, February 1906, p. 131.

Brick, v. 25, no. 2, August 1906, p. 83.

Brick, v. 25, no. 4, October 1906, p. 165.

Brick, v. 27, no. 2, August 1907, p. 78.

Brick, v. 27, no. 3, September 1907, p. 96-97.

Brick, v. 29, no. 1, July 1908, p. 376.

Brick, v. 30, no. 1, Janaury 1909, p. 79.

Brick, v. 30, no. 4, April 1909, p. 229.

Brick, v. 31, no. 1, July 1909, p. 341.

Brick, v. 31, no. 3, September 1909, p. 104.

Brick, v. 31, no. 3, September 1909, p. 116.

Brick, v. 31, no. 6, December 1909, p. 241.

Brick, v. 32, no. 1, January 1910, p. 42.

Brick, v. 32, no. 1, January 1910, p. 77.

Brick, v. 32, no. 6, June 1910, p. 302.

Brick, v. 32, no. 6, June 1910, p. 312.

Brick, v. 32, no. 6, June 1910, p. 318.

Brick, v. 33, no. 1, July 1910, p. 42.

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

Clay Record, v. 31, no. 3, August 1907, p. 39.

Clay Record, v. 34, no. 4, February 1909, p. 31.

Clay Record, v. 35, no. 2, July 1909, p. 27.

Clay Record, v. 35, no. 3, August 1909, p. 35.

Clay Worker, v. 41, no. 6, June 1904, p. 746.

Clay Worker, v. 42, no. 2, August 1904, p. 157.

Corona, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1904.

Curry, C. F., State Corporations, Biennial Report of the Secretary of State of the State of California for the Fifty-Eighth and Fifty-Ninth Fiscal Years Beginning July 1, 1906, and Ending June 30, 1908, State Printing, Sacramento, California, 1908.

Holmes, Elmer Wallace, History of Riverside County, California, with Biographical Sketches, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California, 1912.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1904.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1909.

Model California Enterprise, Brick, v. 30, no. 2, February 1909, p. 95-96.

News Notes of Corona, Los Angeles Herald, October 8, 1905.


Copyright 2016 Dan Mosier

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