California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Davidson Brick Company

New Davidson Brick Company

History


On July 5, 1982, the reorganized Davidson Brick Company, which was incorporated on April 23, 1982, purchased 17 acres of land for a new plant at 24100 Orange Avenue in Perris, Riverside County, California. On July 7, 1982, the Lingl Corporation was contracted to build the new brick plant and kiln. The grinding plant was installed by Walter C. Stoll and Sons Company. Ground-breaking began on July 20th and on December 21, the kiln and dryer were completed and fired up. On February 23, 1983, brick manufacturing began. Ken Roath was president.

The clay was ground in a rim discharge grinder, where barium carbonate was added. After grinding, manganese was added to the mix. A clay feeder moved the clay to the pug mill, where the clay was mixed with water. Then the clay was sent to two extruding lines. One line was for smaller units ranging from 4 by 8 inch pavers through 11 1/2 inch long bricks. The other line was for the larger units, including the Davidson's through-the-wall clay block units 16 inches long. The smaller units were cut with a reel cutter and conveyed to steel pallets, 120 inches long by 12 inches wide. The larger units were cut using a push-through wire cutter and a turner before set by a setting head directly on steel pallets.

The pallets then moved automatically to the loading elevator, which loaded from the bottom up eight tiers of 5 pallets per tier. When fully loaded, an automatic finger car transferred the loaded pallets into the dryer, which was capable of holding 88 dryer cars. After 24 hours of drying, using waste heat from the kiln, the dryer cars were moved to the unloader and unloaded in reverse order. The dried bricks were hacked automatically by a setter onto the kiln cars. Each kiln car was 11 feet long and 18 feet wide and held 26 tons of product.

The top-fired kiln was 314 feet long and capable of holding 27 cars. A storage track was capable of holding an additional 35 cars of unfired ware. The kiln was divided into 5 firing zones, each with 24 gas burners. There were 20 burners in the preheat zone. The burners could be controlled in groups of 24 or 12 by computers in the control room for maintaining closer tolerances. The bricks were fired in 36 hours at a maximum heat of between 1,950 and 2,050 degrees F. About 18 cars of brick were fired per day. The kiln had a rapid cooling section and a final cooling section. It also had a flashing zone.

This plant manufactured bricks and blocks in six different sizes, ranging from a 4 by 8 by 1 3/8-inch paver to an 8 by 8 by 16-inch block weighing 33 pounds. These were available in a range of colors from red to buff to brown. The units came in solid or cored. The larger block units were the most in demand at the time and competed directly with concrete blocks. The Davidson blocks and bricks were shipped throughout the state. Thanks to a list of jobs provided by Josh Higgins, I was able to find several examples of their products to describe and show below. Examples of bricks and blocks are from Cost Plus Store in San Francisco, Century Theater 16 in Mountain View, Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, FedEx in Ventura, and Holmby Park in Westwood.

On September 25, 1985, the company changed its name to the New Davidson Brick Company. In 1993, Atkinson Brick Company acquired the plant to manufacture clay blocks. Although the plant is now closed, New Davidson Brick Company was active as late as 2014, with Alan L. Hall as president.

Davidson Brick

Davidson Imperial Red Block

Imperial Red block is dark brownish red. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The ends display curved wire-cut grooves. The edges and corners are sharp. A screen-like pattern impressed into one of the sides may be from the conveyor belt. The interior contains 10 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 15 1/4, width 7 1/2, height 3 3/8 inches.

View of the side of the Davidson Imperial Red block.
View of the side of the Davidson Imperial Red block.

View of the side of the Davidson Imperial Red block showing the screen-like imprint probably made by a conveyor belt.
View of the side of the Davidson Imperial Red block showing the screen-like imprint probably made by a conveyor belt.

View of the interior clay body of the Davidson Imperial Red block.
View of the interior clay body of the Davidson Imperial Red block.

Davidson Red Velour Block

Red Velour block is red to orange red. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. A screen-like pattern impressed into one of the sides may be from the conveyor belt. The interior contains 10 to 15 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 11 1/2, width 5 3/4, height 3 1/2 inches.

View of the side of the Davidson Red Velour block.
View of the side of the Davidson Red Velour block.

View of the side of the Davidson Red Velour block.
View of the side of the Davidson Red Velour block.

View of the face and side of the Davidson Red Velour block.
View of the face and side of the Davidson Red Velour block.

Davidson Red Flash Velour Block

Red Flash Velour block displays a spectrum of colors from brown to dark red to red to orange red. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. A screen-like pattern impressed into one of the sides may be from the conveyor belt. The interior contains 10 to 15 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. No dimensions available.

View of the side of the Davidson Red Flash Velour block.
View of the side of the Davidson Red Flash Velour block.

Davidson Old Hickory Velour Block

Old Hickory Velour block is light brown. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. A screen-like pattern impressed into one of the sides may be from the conveyor belt. The interior contains 10 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz, subangular cream feldspar, and subrounded orange-red crushed brick, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a light brown compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 15 3/8, width 9 3/8, height 3 3/8 inches.

View of the sides of the Davidson Old Hickory Velour block.
View of the sides of the Davidson Old Hickory Velour block.

Davidson Mocha Velour Block

Mocha Velour block is light to dark orange-brown. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz and round black blebs of manganese. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. A screen-like pattern impressed into one of the sides may be from the conveyor belt. The interior contains 3 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz and 15 percent black manganese, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 11 5/8, width 3 1/2, height 3 1/2 inches.

View of the side of the Davidson Mocha Velour block.
View of the side of the Davidson Mocha Velour block.

View of the side of the Davidson Mocha Velour block in a darker shade.
View of the side of the Davidson Mocha Velour block in a darker shade.

View of the end of the Davidson Mocha Velour block.
View of the end of the Davidson Mocha Velour block.

Close-up view of the surface of the Davidson Mocha Velour block.
Close-up view of the surface of the Davidson Mocha Velour block.

View of the Davidson Mocha Velour blocks.
View of the Davidson Mocha Velour blocks.

View of the Davidson Buff Velour block that was with the Mocha Velour suite.
View of the Davidson Buff Velour block that was with the Mocha Velour suite.

Davidson Dark Brown Block

Dark Brown block is dark brown. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz and round black blebs of manganese. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. A screen-like pattern impressed into one of the sides may be from the conveyor belt. The interior contains 5 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz and black manganese, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 15 1/4, width 7 1/2, height 3 3/8 inches.

View of the side of the Davidson Dark Brown block.
View of the side of the Davidson Dark Brown block.

Davidson Burgandy Velour Block

Burgandy Velour block is purplish brown. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz, green serpentine, and black manganese. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. The interior contains 15 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz, black manganese, black slate, and subrounded greenish black serpentine, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This block was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 15 5/8, width 7 3/4, height 5 1/2 inches.

View of the sides of the Davidson Dark Brown block.
View of the sides of the Davidson Burgandy Velour block.

View of the interior clay body of the Davidson Dark Brown block.
View of the interior clay body of the Davidson Burgandy Velour block.

Davidson Standard Brown Brick


Standard Dark Brown brick is dark brown. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz and round black blebs of manganese. Short transverse grooves are present on the sides. The edges and corners are sharp. The faces display curved wire-cut grooves. The interior contains 5 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz and black manganese, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 8 1/4, width 3 3/4, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the ends of the Davidson Standard Dark Brown brick capping a wall.
View of the ends of the Davidson Standard Dark Brown brick capping a wall.

View of the face of the Davidson Standard Dark Brown brick.
View of the face of the Davidson Standard Dark Brown brick.

View of the side of the Davidson Standard Dark Brown brick.
View of the side of the Davidson Standard Dark Brown brick.

Davidson Red Paver

Red Paver brick is dark red. The surface is smooth with lots of pits and visible quartz. The edges and corners are sharp. The faces display curved wire-cut grooves. The interior contains 5 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact sandy clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire cut. Length 7 3/4, width 3 1/2, height ? inches.

View of the face of the Davidson Red Paver brick.
View of the face of the Davidson Red Paver brick.

References

Atkinson Brick Company, Company Information, www.atkinsonbrick.com (accessed June 18, 2012).

Davidson Brick Company in Los Angeles CA - Company Profile, www.corporationwiki.com/California/Los-Angeles/davidson-brick-company/40751038.aspx (accessed April 25, 2014).

Endicott, Wayne A., Pallet Plant Turns Brickmaker Into Blockmaker, Brick and Clay Record, v. 4, 1984, p. 30-33.

Higgins, Josh, written communications, 2013.

Jobs Using Davidson Brick, updated April 16, 1987 (from Josh Higgins).

Lingl Delivers State-of-Art Plant in Record Time, Brick and Clay Record, v. 1, 1984, p. 41.

New Davidson Brick Company, Inc. in Villa Park CA - Company Profile, www.corporationwiki.com/California/Villa-Park/new-davidson-brick-company/41323239.aspx (accessed April 25, 2014).

Wysk Company Profile for Davidson Brick Company, http://www.wysk.com/index/california/los-angeles/9vgkkhe/davidson-brick-company/profile (accessed April 25, 2014).

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.