California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Fresno Brick and Tile Company East Yard

Prescott Brick and Lumber Company

Advertisement of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company.
Advertisement of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company. From the Fresno City Directory, 1915.

History


On May 4, 1901, the Fresno Brick and Tile Company was incorporated with $25,000 capital stock and E. Riggins as president, F.M. Miller as secretary, and F.D. Prescott, E.M. Prescott, and W.F. Beard as directors. The first brickyard was established at Andrews siding on the Santa Fe railroad, 3 miles north of Fresno, California (see
Fresno Brick and Tile Company North Yard). By 1911, the company had moved its brickyard to the southwest corner of Cedar and California, at Mars Siding on the Southern Pacific railroad line, about one mile east of Fresno. This second yard is the subject of this article.

View of the wire-cutting machine of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company.
View of the wire-cutting machine of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company. From Bradley, 1916.

The brickyard consisted of six field kilns, three of which were permanent kilns, and were oil-fired. Each kiln had a capacity of 600,000 brick. Sandy loam clay was mined from the property. The material was crushed fine, screened, and mixed with water in a pug-mill. The bricks were formed using a stiff-mud machine, wire-cut, and repressed in a brick press. Some of the bricks were marked with the company's abbreviation inside a rectangular frog on the face of the brick. Hollow tile and firebrick were also made here. Clay for the firebrick was shipped from elsewhere. The brick required seven days for burning, using 60 Tate-Jones Company burners. The plant employed 35 workers. A sales office was set up at the Prescott Lumber Company's yard at the corner of Mono and H streets in Fresno.

Fresno pressed bricks and tiles were used mostly in Fresno and surrounding towns. Occasional shipments were made by rail to points outside of Fresno County and as far away as San Francisco.

In 1919, the company changed its name to the Prescott Brick and Lumber Company and had closed the brickyard by 1920. Since then, the company became a brick dealer and sold bricks made by other local brick companies.

Fresno Brick and Tile Company Brick

Wire-cut Repressed Brick

The wire-cut repressed brick is in shades of red and mostly uniform in color. The sides are smooth with sharp straight edges and dull or broken corners. The sides may display stack indentations, minor pits, cracks, and transverse grooves. Some have parallel dash imprints probably made by the conveyor belt. The faces have a velour texture made from the wire-cuts. Some faces may show curved grooves. One of the faces contain a rectangular frog with beveled sides that measures 7 inches in length, 2 1/2 inches in width and 1/8 inch in depth. Centered in the bottom of the frog is the company abbreviation in recessed block letters "F.B. & T. CO." that span 5 1/8 inches and stand 3/4 inch. The periods are square shaped. Round screw imprints 3/8 inch in diameter may be visible. Around the outer perimeter of the frog can be seen a 3/8 inch wide depression, but this depressed margin is not always present. Not all repressed bricks are marked. Most have flat faces with strong velour texture. The interior contains about 5 percent subrounded white to orange-stained gray quartz, golden mica, and black iron oxide, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter in a compact, red, quartz-rich sandy clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process, face cut, and repressed. The brick size is larger than standard size. Length 8 3/4, width 4 1/8, height 2 1/4 inches.

View of the marked face of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.
View of the marked face of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.


View of the side of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.
View of the side of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.

View of the unmarked face of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.
View of the unmarked face of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.

View of the interior of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.
View of the interior of the Fresno Brick and Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick.

interior clay boMicroscopic view of the interior clay body of the Fresno Brick and <br /> 
Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick, with white and orange-stained <br />
gray quartz and black iron oxide (50x, field of view 1/4 inch wide).
Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the Fresno Brick and
Tile Company wire-cut repressed brick, with white and orange-stained
gray quartz and black iron oxide (50x, field of view 1/4 inch wide).

References

A Brick Plant Near the Raisin City, The Clayworker, v. 41, no. 3, March 1904, p. 366-368.

Bradley, W.W., Brown, G.C., Lowell, F.L., and McLauglin, R.P., Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Part 4: The Counties of Fresno, Kern, King, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, California State Mining Bureau 14th Report of the State Mineralogist, for the Biennial Period 1913-1914, 1916, p. 429-634.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 38, no. 6, 1911, p. 345.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 40, no. 6, 1912, p. 237.

Fresno Bee, Fresno's Yesterdays, Fifty Years Ago, June 12, 1969.

Fresno City Directory, 1915.

Huguenin, E., and Castello, W.O., Fresno County, California State Mining Bureau 17th Report of the State Mineralogist, 1921, p. 68-73.

Report of Secretary of State, State Incorporations, Appendix to the Journal of the Senate and Assembly, v. 1, Sacramento, California, 1903, p. 43.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.