California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Gladding, McBean and Company, Lincoln

Gladding McBean letterhead
Gladding McBean letterhead. Courtesy of Lincoln Area Archives Museum.


History


In late 1874, while visiting San Francisco, a general contractor, Charles Gladding, read in a newspaper about the discovery of clay and coal at Lincoln, Placer County, California. He went to Lincoln to examine the clay that was found in the coal mine of Colonel Charles Lincoln Wilson and he had the clay samples tested. The clay turned out to be excellent for making sewer pipe and other terra cotta wares. Associated with the eight-foot thick coal seam was a 12-foot bed of white kaolin and other important clay layers. Gladding went to Chicago to form a new company with two friends, Peter McGill McBean and George Chambers. The Gladding McBean Company was born on May 1, 1875, with a capital stock of $12,000. The first main office was located at 6 California Street in San Francisco. Gladding became superintendent of the pottery plant at Lincoln while McBean and Chambers managed the sales office in San Francisco.

Charles GladdingPeter McGill McBean
Charles Gladding and Peter McGill McBean.
Courtesy of Lincoln Area Archives Museum.


On May 12, 1875, Gladding returned to Lincoln with a pipe-maker expert, Harry White, to help design and build the new pottery works. Property of a few acres was purchased and construction of the pottery began. A frame building with an 18-foot diameter down-draft kiln, boiler, engine, pumps, steam press with dies, and a roller crusher were installed. All of the machinery came from Chicago, Illinois. Production of sewer pipe began in July and, by August 9, 1875, the first shipment of salt-glazed vitrified sewer pipe arrived in San Francisco. Firebrick were also made but only for the pottery's own use. In 1876, the pottery building was extended and two more round kilns were added. The plant employed 30 workers.

Gladding McBean pottery, 1875
Original pottery works of Gladding McBean in 1875. From Gladding, McBean and Co., 1927.


By 1878, a new deposit of clay was mined one mile north of the pottery. The clay was reported to be 30 feet thick. Gladding McBean Company used this clay to make sewer pipe, chimney tops, and caps. By 1882, terra cotta ware, such as vases, urns, flower pots, and other decorative vessels were added to the product line. Firebrick also became commercially available. In 1883, the plant was producing mostly brick to enclose the plant covering two acres of ground so that it could operate year-round. Examples of the type of common brick made in 1883 can be seen in the brick building still standing on the southwest corner of 5th Street and Lincoln Boulevard in Lincoln. In the spring of 1884, the first architectural terra cotta was molded at the pottery. This terra cotta had a light buff color and was first used in the company's new two-story office building at 1358 Market Street in San Francisco, the first building on the Pacific Coast to have terra cotta ornamentation, such as tiles, window sills, lintels, cornices, arches, and panels. In 1886, the first commercial architectural terra cotta was put on the Pioneer Building in San Francisco and the terra cotta colors were available in buff and red.

Gladding McBean pottery, 1924
The Gladding McBean office was the first building to use architectural
terra cotta in San Francisco in 1884. From Pacific Rural Press, 1885.


On March 27, 1886, Gladding McBean Company was incorporated under its new name of Gladding, McBean & Company. Charles Gladding was president, Peter McBean was secretary, and George Chambers was vice-president. The company continued to grow, update, and expand its pottery, and add new clay products. Six teams of horses used to haul clay from the pit to the pottery were replaced by two locomotives and cars in 1908, and these were replace later by trucks. Initially, the kilns consumed 10,000 cords of wood per year, obtained from the Sierra foothills, until 1896, when crude oil was used and that was replaced by natural gas from Sutter Buttes in 1939. Two major fires destroyed the main plant in 1918 and 1931, and in each case the plant was rebuilt. In 1956, the world's largest tunnel kiln was built here. The work force grew to 750 in 1948, but that number has been reduced since by technology and automation.

Gladding McBean pottery, 1924
Gladding McBean pottery works, Lincoln, California, in 1924. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


The following description of the Lincoln pottery will focus on the bricks that were made. Brick and Clay Record in 1924 gave a description of the pottery works as follows. The pottery had grown to a total space of 30 to 40 acres under roof. It had 22 down-draft kilns, 10 muffle kilns, and a tunnel kiln. At the clay pits, a cap of about 12 feet of soft volcanic breccia covering the clay strata, had to be blasted with the aid of an Ingersoll-Rand pneumatic air drill. The pits were excavated by a Pawling & Harnischfeger three-quarter yard electric shovel. Crude clay was loaded on a train of large cars drawn by a 20-ton Porter locomotive. The main pit contained fire clay capable of withstanding a temperature of 3,000 degrees F. A second clay pit contained red-burning clay. Sand deposits, 10 to 15 feet thick, overlying the clay were also mined and added to the mix for some products. Clay cars delivered the material to the large storage shed, 450 by 75 feet, passing over a trestle along one side of the shed. The cars were of the side-dump type and dumped the clay into one side of the shed. A clam-shell bucket, operated from a crane which spanned the width of the storage shed, picked up the clay and placed it in a storage pile. Different types of clay were kept in separate piles.

View of the benches mined at the clay pit, Lincoln, California.
View of the clay pit, Lincoln, California. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


View of the steam shovel loading the clay cars at the clay pit, Lincoln, California.
View of the steam shovel loading the clay cars at the clay pit. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


View of the clay cars dumping the clay into the storage shed.
View of the clay cars dumping the clay into the storage shed. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


View of separate piles of clay placed by the grab bucket in the clay storage shed.
View of separate piles of clay placed by the grab bucket
in the clay storage shed. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


View of 10 bins holding clays ready for immediate use.
View of 10 bins holding clays ready for immediate use. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


View of where clays were mixed to proportions and put into the mixing car.
View of where clays were mixed to proportions and put
into the mixing car. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


Near one end of the storage shed was the grinding and screening department. At the same end were ten overhead bins, holding approximately 30 tons of clay each. The bins were slightly wider than the open bucket on the crane for easy filling. Bins were used for storing the different clays and the crushed grog used in the various bodies. Each bin had a bottom gate, which the operator opened to permit clay or grog to flow into one of the compartments of his measuring car. This measuring car was electrically driven so that its compartments may be adjusted to give whatever mixture of raw material was desired.

View of the dry pan clay grinder.
View of the dry pan clay grinder. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


When the full load was gathered, with the right proportion of clay from each bin, the car passed over one of four hoppers which fed an equal number of belt conveyors. Each of the conveyors in turn delivered the clay to one of four dry pans. The bottom of the car was let down by means of a trip to dump the load, and after dumping was lifted back into position by means of a racket lever arrangement. The total cost of handling the clay in this manner, including winning, storage, and delivery to the dry pans varied from 80 cents to $1 per ton.

The type of dry pan used were the 384 American Grinder, with an average daily capacity of 150 tons. Crushed clay from the dry pan was passed over one of the four hummer screens, from which belt conveyors carried the well-graded material to pug mills in different parts of the factory depending on the products made. Bricks were made on auger machines by the stiff-mud process. The bricks were hacked directly onto wooden platforms or skids and conveyed by means of industrial electric trucks to the dryer, where they were deposited without hand manipulation upon the floor of the tunnel. Heat for the brick dryer was waste heat from the round down-draft kilns. Heat was conveyed to the dryer in sheet iron pipes connected to fire holes on opposite sides of each kiln. The dryers were about eight feet high, ten feet wide, and 125 feet long, with slotted concrete floors. After the bricks were dried sufficiently, the same industrial electric trucks conveyed the bricks to the kilns to be fired.

View of the Russell tunnel kiln.
View of the Russell tunnel kiln. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


View of a round down-draft kiln.
View of a round down-draft kiln. From Brick and Clay Record, 1924.


The Lincoln plant made firebrick, hollow tile, face brick in both standard and Roman sizes, pressed brick, enamel brick, split pavers, and terra cotta brick. Firebrick, as was already mentioned, was made starting in 1875 for use at the pottery and it wasn't sold commercially until about 1880. Firebrick was sold commercially until 1962 when the plant was purchased by International Pipe and Ceramics Corporation (Interpace). Hollow tile was first made in 1890. Face brick and buff repressed Roman brick came out in 1891. Enamel brick production began in 1899. The Library Gray coated brick was produced in 1915 for the San Francisco Public Library at the Civic Center. Production of face brick and hollow partition tile ended in the 1950s as commercial brick production was being phased out of the production line. The Granitex coated terra cotta brick was developed in 1921 to match the granite used in the Standard Oil Building at Bush and Sansome streets in San Francisco. Terra cotta brick continued to be made along with architectural terra cotta to the present when Gladding, McBean & Company became a subsidiary of Pacific Coast Building Products in 1977.

View of the Gladding McBean plant at Lincoln in 1922.
View of the Gladding McBean plant at Lincoln in 1922. From Brick and Clay Record, 1922.


The catalogs of Gladding McBean listed smooth, ruffled, pressed, and coated (enameled) face brick in standard size of 8 1/4 x 4 x 2 3/8 inches and weighing 6 pounds. The ruffled face brick was wire-cut on the faces and had longitudinal bark-like texture on the sides. Colors included several shades of gray, buff, brown, and pink. The dark colors variegated in shade were considered the most artistic and durable, and were in the greatest demand. Examples of the variegated face brick can be seen at McBean Park (1925) in Lincoln and on the Southern Pacific Building (1916) at 1 Market Street in San Francisco. Pressed brick were made as standard shape, Roman shape, moulded brick, including mitre brick, semicircle arch brick, flat arch brick, and mantel brick. Enameled brick included Stretchers (enameled on one side), Headers (enameled on one end), Double Headers (enameled on two ends), Quoins (enameled on one side and one end), Returns (enameled on one face and two ends), and many styles of ornamental shapes.

Partition hollow tile came in one to six cells. Furring tile (two cell, 12 inches wide) and book tile for vault ceilings and roofings (17 1/2 inches long) were also made. One cell tile was 5 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches long and came in heights of 2-, 3-, 4-, and 6-inches. Three cell tile was 12 by 12 inches and came in the same heights as the one cell tile. The four and six cell tiles were called hollow tile building blocks and these were used in the walls of the plants at Lincoln. The four-cell block came in two sizes: 8 inches high, 16 inches wide, and 9 inches long, and 8 inches high, 7 3/4 inches wide, and 9 inches long. The six-cell block came in two sizes: 10 inches high, 12 inches wide, and 12 inches long, and 12 by 12 by 12 inches.

Firebrick was made in many different styles and shapes, including the 9-inch Straight, Split, Soap, No. 1 Arch, No. 2 Arch, No. 3 Arch, No. 1 Key, No. 2 Key, No. 3 Key, No. 1 Wedge, No. 2 Wedge, Tongue and Groove, 36-inch Circle, 48-inch Circle, 60-inch Circle, Boiler tile, and Furnace tile. The 9-inch Straight firebrick weighed 7 pounds. The boiler and furnace tiles were 2 inches thick and 12 by 10 to 12 by 18 inches in size; these came as square edge or flanged edge.

Some of the older firebricks and face bricks were branded with a name or logo, but it is not possible to tell from the markings alone if the brick came from this or one of the other brick plants owned by Gladding, McBean & Company prior to the 1950s, unless the mark included the name of the plant location. Some of the marked bricks that could be attributed to the Lincoln plant were stamped "LINCOLN" or "LINCOLN, CAL." or "PLACER." But other names and the Gladding McBean oval logo could have been made here or elsewhere. Knowing the composition of the brick can help to determine the plant origin. In the 1951 Refractories Handbook, published by Gladding, McBean & Company, the following brands were made in the Central California sales area, which included the Gladding McBean plants at Lincoln, Stockton, Livermore, and Pittsburg:

DIABLO, super duty dry press 33-34 pyrometric cone equivalent
No. 162 dry press 33-34 pyrometric cone equivalent
CARNEGIE D.P. high duty dry press 32-32.5 pyrometric cone equivalent
CARNEGIE S.M. high duty stiff mud 32-32.5 pyrometric cone equivalent
PINITE stiff mud 31 pyrometric cone equivalent
STOCKTON D.P. intermediate duty dry press 31-32 pyrometric cone equivalent
STOCKTON S.M. intermediate duty stiff mud 31 pyrometric cone equivalent
FIERRO dry press 31-32 pyrometric cone equivalent
GASCO XX intermediate duty stiff mud 31 pyrometric cone equivalent
MANTEL low duty stiff mud 28 pyrometric cone equivalent
S-G silica firebrick dry press 32 pyrometric cone equivalent

In addition to the firebricks just listed, should be added CAR-D, -L-, and the GM series as ones that I saw being used at the Lincoln plant that were probably made there. Most of the firebricks listed in 1951 were brands acquired by former firebrick makers, such as the Carnegie Brick and Pottery Company in 1916 and the Stockton Fire Brick Company in 1943. Exactly when the different brands of firebrick were discontinued has yet to be determined. Refinements of dates for firebricks should improve as additional data become available.

From 1891 to 1911, a fine pressed face brick sporting a round dimple centered on one of the faces was made at the Lincoln plant, as was verified by one seen by George L. Kennedy at the Lincoln plant. The dimpled face brick came in standard, Roman, and special shapes and in colors of buff, salmon, yellow, and red. I have mapped the distribution of this pressed brick in buildings in Central California. The oldest is in the Masonic Temple (1891), Alameda, using standard and ornamental red pressed brick. The next oldest was in the Cooper House (1894), Santa Cruz, which contained yellow Roman pressed brick, a sample of which was rescued by Bob Piwarzyk when it was demolished in 1989. The youngest is in the I.O.O.F. Building (1911), Sonoma, which has the salmon standard and special shaped pressed brick. Other buildings with the dimpled face brick are listed on the Made of Bricks page.

The Gladding McBean oval logo mark was put on the center face of some pressed face brick. Evidence suggest that the oval logo mark postdates the dimple face brick. One known example was seen in a Granitex face brick in the California Commercial Union Building (1921) at 315 Montgomery Street in San Francisco. Some enamel or glazed face brick also carry the marked logo. On some firebricks, the oval logo, usually of smaller size, was used along with a brand name, such as LINCOLN or PLACER.

An unmarked wire-cut face brick made by Gladding McBean is indicated only by transverse scoring on one of the longer sides of the brick. Dates of the side scored face brick appear to coincide with the dates of the previous two marked face bricks. The scores are usually in two sets of six and eight scores, 5/16 inch apart, and the two sets are about an inch apart. Some bricks may show only one set of scores and the number of scores may vary. These face bricks come in various shades of buff to reds and usually are streaked with white, yellow, and red clays, particularly noticeable on the wire-cut faces. Some face bricks contain no scores and are completely smooth on all sides. Two examples of the side scored face brick include the Veteran's Hall (1931) at 541 Fifth Street in Lincoln and a store building (1900) at 1141 First Street in Napa. The unmarked smooth face brick can be easily mistaken for the smooth wire-cut face brick made by the Stockton Enamel and Fire Brick Company of Stockton and Cannon and Company of Sacramento.

Atholl McBean, company president from 1923 to 1938.
Atholl McBean, company president from 1923
to 1938. From Brick and Clay Record, 1929.


Albert L. GladdingCharles Gladding
Augustus L. Gladding and Charles A. Gladding.
From Lincoln Area Archives Museum.


Continuing the managerial history of Gladding McBean, Albert J. Gladding, a son of founder Charles Gladding joined the business in June 1875. Albert's sons also joined the firm, with Charles A. Gladding joining in January 1906 and Augustus L. Gladding in August 1912. Original founders Charles Gladding died in 1894, George Chambers died in 1896, and Peter McBean died in 1922. Peter's son Atholl McBean joined the firm in 1889 and became the firm's president from 1923 to 1938. During this period, Gladding McBean acquired other clay manufacturing plants in the Pacific Coast region to expand its market and continued the production of its main products. In 1929, Charles A. and Augustus L. Gladding left the firm to start the Gladding Brothers Manufacturing Company at San Jose to produce clay pipes. After Atholl McBean resigned as president in 1938, he remained on the Board of Directors until 1962. Atholl McBean died in 1968. In 1962, Gladding, McBean & Company merged with Lock Joint Pipe Company of New Jersey and became the International Pipe and Ceramics Corporation (Interpace). Lock Joint Pipe Company was the largest producer of concrete pipes in the country. Clay pipes, roofing tile, floor tile, and architectural terra cotta became the main products at Lincoln under Interpace. Building restoration projects across the country relied upon the Lincoln plant for replacement architectural terra cotta pieces. In 1976, when Interpace announced the closing of the Lincoln plant, Pacific Coast Building Products purchased the plant, restored the old company name, and continued its long history of Gladding McBean clay products, except for bricks, to the present.

Gladding McBean and Co. yard, Lincoln
Plant of the Gladding-McBean Co., Lincoln, CA. Photo by Dan Mosier, 2001.


Gladding McBean Brick

Firebrick

The LINCOLN dry pressed firebrick is buff and has a perfect form with straight edges. The edges and corners may be dull. Brown flash may be seen on the sides. On the marked face is the name LINCOLN recessed in block letters that span 3 3/4 inches and stand 7/8 inch in height. A tight rectangular name plate one inch wide surrounds the name. The interior consists of 5 percent subrounded white quartz and round brown iron oxides, some blistered, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a matrix of coarse subangular cream alumina clay. Length 9, width 4 5/8, height 2 1/2.

Marked face of the Lincoln firebrick
View of the marked face of the Lincoln dry-pressed firebrick.

Side of the Lincoln firebrick
View of the side of the Lincoln dry-pressed firebrick.

Interior of the Lincoln firebrick
View of the interior of the Lincoln dry-pressed firebrick.

The LINCOLN arch firebrick is dry pressed and buff with perfect form. Straight edges that are sharp. Corners are sharp. The surface is smooth with tiny pits. The marked face has the GMcB logo over "1" over LINCOLN recessed and centered. The logo is 2 1/8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The number "1" is 1/8 inch in width and stands 7/8 inch in height. The name LINCOLN is in block letters that span 3 3/4 inches and stand 3/4 inches in height. The interior consists of 5 percent subrounded gray quartz and round brown iron oxides, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a blocky cream alumina clay body. Length 8 7/8, width 4 1/2, height 2 1/8 - 2 1/2 inches.

Marked face of the GMB/1/Lincoln firebrick
View of the marked face of the GMcB Lincoln 1 arch firebrick. Photo courtesy of George L. Kennedy

The LINCOLN wire-cut firebrick is salmon, buff, or light gray with perfect form. Edges are straight and sharp. Corners are sharp. The surface is smooth and often crackled. One side is marked LINCOLN in recessed letters that may be off-centered. The name spans 5 1/2 inches and stand 1 to 1 1/8 inch in height. Stack indentations may be present on the sides. The faces display curved wire-cut grooves. The interior consists of 10 percent grog of subangular to subrounded white quartz, 1/4 inch in diameter, and large round black iron oxide, some blistered, 1/8 to 3/8 inch in diameter, in a compact cream alumina clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 9 1/8, width 4 1/4, height 2 1/2 inches.

Marked side of the Lincoln firebrick
View of the marked side of the Lincoln wire-cut firebrick.

Marked side of the Lincoln firebrick
View of the face and marked side of the Lincoln wire-cut firebrick.

The LINCOLN No. 1 KEY firebrick is a dry pressed brick with smooth surface of salmon color. Form is perfect with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. Markings appear on both faces. Centered and recessed on one face is LINCOLN in block letters that span 3 3/4 inches and stan 3/4 inch. Two slightly raised round screw imprints 3/4 inch in diameter are positioned before and after the name. On the reversed face is "1KEY" in recessed block letters that span 2 3/8 inches and stand 3/4 inch. The interior consists of 5 percent subangular white quartz and round brown iron oxides, some blistered, all less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact cream alumina clay body. Length 9, width 4, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the marked face of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.
View of the marked face of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.

View of the marked face of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.
View of the reversed marked face of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.

View of the side of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.
View of the side of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.

View of the end of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.
View of the end of the Lincoln No. 1 Key firebrick.

The PLACER dry pressed firebrick is buff and has perfect form. The edges are straight, but may be dull and corners may be dull. The brick spalls easily. The surface is smooth with tiny pits. The marked face contains the name PLACER in recessed block letters that span 4 3/8 inches and stand 7/8 inches. The interior consists of 3 percent subangular gray quartz and round black blistered iron oxides, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a coarse granular subangular cream alumina clay body. Length 9, width 4 1/2, height 2 3/8.

View of the marked face of the PLACER dry pressed firebrick.
View of the marked face of the PLACER dry pressed firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.

The PLACER wire-cut firebrick is buff with a smooth crackled surface. The form is perfect with straight edges. The ends are cut, but may not be evident. Longitudinal striations may be present on the sides and faces. Marked face contains recessed GMcB logo over PLACER. The logo is 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The name PLACER is in block letters that span 3 5/8 inches and stand 3/4 inches. The interior consists of 2 percent subrounded gray quartz and round black blistered iron oxides, less than 1/4 inch in diameter, in a coarse granular subangular cream alumina body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process and repressed. Length 9, width 4 3/4, height 2 1/2 inches.

Marked face of the wire-cut GMcB PLACER firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.
Marked face of the wire-cut GMcB PLACER firebrick. Donated by Jack Bower.

The GMcB number 1 wedge dry-pressed firebrick is buff and has perfect form. The edges are straight and dull. Corners are dull. The surface is smooth and crackled. The marked face contains a GMcB oval logo over number 1, both recessed and centered. The logo is 2 inches long and 1 3/8 inches wide. The number 1 is 1/8 inch in width and 1 1/8 inches in height. Length 9, width 4 3/8, height 2 1/2 - 1 7/8 inches.

Marked face of the GMcB No. 1 wedge firebrick
View of the marked face of the GMcB No. 1 wedge firebrick.

Side of the GMcB No. 1 wedge firebrick
View of the side of the GMcB No. 1 wedge firebrick.

Interior of the GMcB No. 1 wedge firebrick
View of the interior of the GMcB No. 1 wedge firebrick.

The GMcB number 2 wedge dry-pressed firebrick is buff and has perfect form. The edges are straight and sharp. Corners are dull. The surface is smooth and crackled. The marked face contains the GMcB oval logo over number 2, both recessed and centered. The logo is 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The number 2 is 1 inch in width and 3/4 inch in height. The interior consists of 5 percent subrounded gray quartz, less than 1/4 inch in diameter, and round black iron oxides, some blistered, 1/16 inch in diameter, in a coarse granular subangular cream alumina body. Length 9, width 4 1/2, height 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches.

Marked face of the GMcB wedge no. 2 firebrick
View of the marked face of the GMcB No. 2 wedge firebrick.

Side of the GMcB wedge no. 2 firebrick
View of the side of the GMcB No. 2 wedge firebrick.

Interior of the GMcB wedge no. 2 firebrick
View of the interior of the GMcB No. 2 wedge firebrick.

The L split dry pressed firebrick is buff and has perfect form. Edges are straight and sharp. Corners are sharp. Surface is smooth. Marked face has a recessed capital "L" that is 2 1/8 inches in width and 3/4 inch in height in between two dashes. The "L" is centered inside a rounded rectangular shallow frog that is 6 1/2 inches in length, 1 inch in height, and 1/16 inch in depth. The interior consists of 50 percent subrounded to subangular white quartz in a coarse granular white alumina body. Length 9, width 4 1/2, height 1 1/4 inches.

Marked face of the -L- firebrick
View of the marked face of the -L- split firebrick.

View of the side of the -L- split firebrick.
View of the side of the -L- split firebrick.

View of the interior of the -L- split firebrick.
View of the interior of the -L- split firebrick.

The 1 3/4 arch firebrick is salmon with a smooth crackled surface. Tiny round brown iron oxide spots are barely visible on the surface. The edges are straight and sharp, if not broken. The corners are sharp, if not broken. Short longitudinal grooves are present on the faces. The marked face has a faint rounded rectangular name plate centered near the top and the recessed arch dimension of 1 3/4 centered near the bottom of the face. The name plate is 5 7/8 inches in length and 1 inch in width. The number 1 3/4 spans 7/8 inch and stands 1 1/4 inch in height. The interior consists of granular alumina with minor iron oxide. This is a tough and dense brick made probably using the power-pressed process. Length 9, width 4 1/2, height 2 5/8 to 1 3/4 inches.

View of the marked face of the Gladding, McBean and Company 1 3/4 arch firebrick.
View of the marked face of the Gladding, McBean and Company 1 3/4 arch firebrick. Donated by George L. Kennedy.

View of the end of the Gladding, McBean and Company 1 3/4 arch firebrick.
View of the end of the Gladding, McBean and Company 1 3/4 arch
firebrick. Left side is 1 3/4 inches. Donated by George L. Kennedy.

The "S-G" brand is a pressed silica refractory brick. Initially a white or light gray color that has turned to dark gray from use. The melted part is nearly black. The form is perfect with straight sharp edges. Corners are dull. The marked face contains the recessed block letters "S G" that span 3 inches and stand 3/4 inch. It is composed of silica (quartz) grains, less than 1/8 inch in diameter. Length 9 1/8, width 4 5/8, height 2 5/8 inches.

View of the marked face of the S G silica brick.
View of the marked face of the S-G silica brick.

Close-up view of the marked face of the S G silica brick showing the recessed letters.
Close-up view of the marked face of the S-G silica brick showing the recessed letters.

Examples of the GM series of firebrick are shown below. The dry-pressed bricks have perfect form with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. On the marked face are imprinted in recessed letters and numbers of the GM brand. The first example shows "GM-60-A" on the first line and "FB-1321" on the second line. The second example shows "GM-70-D" in a shallow rounded rectangular name plate and an X in a shallow round imprint.

Marked face of the GM-60-A/FB-1321 firebrick
View of the marked face of GM-60-A/FB-1321 firebrick.

Marked face of the GM-70-D X firebrick
View of the marked face of GM-70-D firebrick.

Special shape refractory block shown below is dry pressed with a smooth surface and dull edges and corners. Tiny specks of brown iron oxides can be seen on the surface. The marked face has three lines of recessed lettering slightly angled. First line of the company initials "G Mc B & Co" span 3 5/8 inches and stand 1/2 inch; the lower case letters stand 3/8 inch in height. The second line is LINCOLN that spans 2 3/4 inches and stands 1/2 inch. The third line is CAL, which spans 1 1/4 inches and stand 1/2 inch. The interior contains 3 percent subangular gray quartz, 1/16 inch in diameter, and smaller round black iron oxides, in a compact cream alumina clay body. Length 8 1/2, width 5 3/4, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the marked face of a special shaped refractory block.
View of the marked face of a special shaped refractory block.

Common Brick

Gladding McBean built a building on the southwest corner of Lincoln Boulevard and 5th Street in Lincoln in 1883. The bricks are of the common orange-red sand-molded type. It is irregular in form with dull edges and corners. Around the top face is a 1/4-inch thick lip. The sides display yellow flash patterns. Some bricks are burnt to black. The interior consists of 40 percent subrounded white quartz and granite, ranging in size to 1 inch in diameter, in a porous orange-red sandy clay body. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. Length 8, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the sides of Gladding McBean common brick at 490 Lincoln Blvd., Lincoln.
View of the sides of Gladding McBean common brick at 490 Lincoln Blvd., Lincoln.

View of the interior of Gladding McBean common brick.
View of the interior of Gladding McBean common brick.

Pressed Face Brick

The dimple-face brick is pressed and in shades of buff, yellow, salmon, or red. The form is perfect with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. The surface is smooth with minor crackles. Brown flashing may be present on the sides. Fine brown freckles of iron oxides 1/32 to 1/4 inch in diameter may be visible on the surface. One of the faces contain a round dimple centered that may vary in size from 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch in depth. A recessed number may be present at the bottom of the dimple indicating the shape for ornamental shapes. Some may display 3/4 inch diameter round screw imprints on each side of the dimple or on the reversed face of the brick. Often present is a thin ridge line on the face about 3/8 inch from the edges of the brick, which probably represents the edges of the mold plate holding the dimple. In the buff or yellow colored brick, the interior consists of 3 percent subangular gray quartz, less than 1/32 inch in diameter, and round brown iron oxides, some blistered, less than 1/4 inch in diameter, in a cream alumina clay body. In the red brick, the interior may contain 10 percent clasts of subangular granite, rounded siltstone, subangular black shale, and round black iron oxides, all less than 3/4 inch in diameter, in a fine sandy clay body. Length 8 1/4, width 4, height 1 3/4 - 2 3/8 inches.

View of the dimple face pressed brick.
View of the dimple-face pressed brick showing the round dimple.

View of the reversed face of the pressed brick. Arrows point to screw imprints.
View of the reversed face of the pressed brick. Arrows point to screw imprints.

View of the thin ridge lines near the edges of the face of the pressed brick.
View of the thin ridge lines near the edges of the face of the pressed brick.

View of the side of a salmon dimple face pressed brick.
View of the side of a salmon dimple-face pressed brick.

View of the side of a salmon dimple face pressed brick showing brown flashing.
View of the side of a salmon dimple-face pressed brick showing brown flashing.

View of the side of a yellow dimple face pressed brick.
View of the side of a yellow dimple-face pressed brick.

View of the side of a buff dimple face pressed brick.
View of the side of a buff dimple-face pressed brick.

View of the sides of salmon dimple-face pressed brick at the Odd Fellows Building in Sonoma.
View of the sides of salmon dimple-face pressed brick at the Odd Fellows Building in Sonoma.

View of the sides of roman buff dimple-face pressed brick at the Jose Theater in San Jose.
View of the sides of roman buff dimple-face pressed brick at the Jose Theater in San Jose.

View of the salmon dimple face pressed ornamental brick showing the number 55.
View of a salmon ornamental pressed brick showing the number 55 in the dimple.

View of the No. 55 ornamental pressed brick.
Illustration of the Gladding McBean No. 55 ornamental
pressed brick. From Gladding, McBean & Co., 1901.

View of the salmon ornamental pressed brick with no number imprinted 
in the dimple. A round screw imprint is visible right of the dimple.
View of a salmon ornamental pressed brick with no number imprinted
in the dimple. A round screw imprint is visible right of the dimple.

View of the salmon ornamental pressed brick.
View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks. Mitre No. 109 is the corner piece and adjacent Ornamental Stretchers No. 107.

View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks.
View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks. Examples shown include Flat Arch No. 202, Ornamental Headers No. 55, and standard straights.

View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks.
View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks. Examples shown include Arch, Flat Arch No. 202, Mitre No. 109,
Ornamental Stretchers No. 107 and No. 111, Ornamental Headers No. 55 and No. 102, and standard straights.

View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks.
View of the buff ornamental pressed bricks. Example shown are Ornamental Headers No. 96 and No. 102, and Roman straights.

View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks.
View of the salmon ornamental pressed bricks. Examples shown are Ornamental Headers No. 91.

GMcB iron-spotted salmon pressed brick has a smooth surface with flattened grains. The form is perfect with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. Iron oxides (or manganese oxides) are visible on the surface as round black blistered spots up to 3/8 inch in diameter. The marked face contains a GMcB oval logo recessed and centered. The logo is 2 7/8 inches in length and 2 1/4 inches in width. The interior consists of 5 percent subangular gray quartz, less than 1/32 inch in diameter, and round black iron oxides, less than 3/8 inch in diameter, in a granular subangular cream alumina clay body. Length 8 1/4, width 4, height 2 3/8 inches.

Marked face of the Gladding McBean face brick
View of the marked face of the Gladding McBean oval logo pressed brick

GMcB & Co. pressed brick is buff and has a smooth surface. The form is perfect with straight dull edges and dull corners. The marked face contains recessed block letters on two lines. "G. Mc. B. & Co." is on the first line and "LINCOLN CAL." is on the second line. The periods are round.

Marked face of the G.McB&Co Lincoln, Cal.
View of the marked face of the Gladding McBean pressed brick. Photo courtesy of Douglas S. McIntosh

Smooth Wire-Cut Face Brick

The Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick comes in shades of buff to salmon and may be mottled or streaky. It has perfect form with straight and sharp edges and sharp corners. The surface is smooth with minor pits. The faces contain strong shallow to steep curved wire-cut grooves, often streaked with red and yellow clays. One side contains one or two sets of prominent transverse grooves. Two sets of grooves are usually about 1 inch apart. The grooves, which vary in number from 5 to 8 are 5/16 inch apart. The grooves may be in different positions on the sides, beginning from 5/8 inch to 2 1/2 inches from the ends. These grooves are distinctive features for Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick. The interior consists of 20 percent subangular gray quartz, round red and yellow clays, and round black iron oxides, all 1/16 to 1/8 inch in diameter, in a fine compact clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 8 1/4, width 4, height 2 3/8 inches.

View of the sides of Gladding McBean wire-cut face bricks showing the transverse groove sets and range of colors.
View of the sides of Gladding McBean wire-cut face bricks showing the transverse groove.
View of the sides of Gladding McBean wire-cut face bricks showing the transverse groove sets and range of colors.

View of the reversed smooth sides of Gladding McBean wire-cut face bricks showing range of colors.
View of the reversed smooth sides of Gladding McBean wire-cut face bricks showing range of colors.

View of the face of Gladding McBean wire-cut face bricks showing the curved wire-cut grooves and streaks of red and yellow clay.
View of the face of Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick showing the curved wire-cut grooves and streaks of red and yellow clay.

View of the interior of Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.
View of the interior of Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.

View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.
View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.

View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.
View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.

View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.
View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.

View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.
View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.

View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.
View of the smooth side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut face brick.

Mat Face Brick

The mat textured face bricks are similar to the wire-cut smooth face bricks except the sides have been scored by randomly scattered short transverse grooves. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 8 1/4, width 4, height 2 3/8 inches.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean wire-cut mat face brick.

View of the wire-cut face of the Gladding McBean mat face brick.
View of the wire-cut face of the Gladding McBean mat face brick.

View of the wire-cut face of the Gladding McBean mat face brick.
View of the wire-cut face of the Gladding McBean mat face brick.

View of the wire-cut face of the Gladding McBean mat face brick.
View of the wire-cut face of the Gladding McBean mat face brick.

Ruffled Face Brick

Gladding McBean ruffled textured face brick are in different shades of buff and salmon. Form is perfect with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. The sides and ends have a longitudinal bark-like texture. Faces show steep wire-cut curved grooves. The interior consists of 5 percent subangular gray quartz, black iron oxides, both 1/8 inch in diameter, in a coarse to fine granular cream clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 8 1/4, width 4, height 2 3/8 inches.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean ruffled brick.

Enameled or Coated Brick

GMcB & Co. pressed white enameled brick is buff and has a smooth surface. The form is perfect with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. The marked face contains a deep rectangular frog with concave edges and recessed letters on two lines. The sample shown is missing the left half but probably was marked with "G. Mc. B. & Co." on the first line and "LINCOLN, CAL." on the second line. The periods are square shaped. The reversed face has a similar frog, but is unmarked. The frog is 2 3/4 inches wide and 1/2 inch deep. White enamel coats one side of the brick. The interior contains 15 percent subangular gray quartz, subangular yellow flint, and round black iron oxides, less than 1/32 inch in diameter, in a compact cream alumina clay body. Length ?, width 4 1/2, height 3 inches.

Marked face of the Gladding McBean Lincoln, Cal white enamel brick
Marked face of the white enameled Gladding McBean frogged pressed brick.

GMcB Granitex enameled brick is a dry pressed face brick. The brick is buff and has perfect form, with sharp edges and sharp corners. The example shown below is a quoin with enamel coating on one side and one end. The enamel is made to imitate granite by showing black spots on white or cream. The black spots are round to flattened ovals ranging from 1/32 to 1/4 inch in diameter. The marked face contains the GMcB oval logo that measures 2 3/4 inches long and 2 1/8 inches wide. The logo is recessed and centered on the face. Interior consists of 5 percent subangular white quartz and tiny black iron oxides, less than 1/16 inch in diameter, in a fine granular cream alumina clay body. Length 8 1/4, width 4, height 2 3/8 inches.

View of the marked face of the Gladding McBean Granitex enameled brick.
View of the marked face of the Gladding McBean Granitex enameled brick.

View of the side of the Gladding McBean Granitex enameled brick.
View of the side of the Gladding McBean Granitex enameled brick.

View of the end of the Gladding McBean Granitex enameled brick.
View of the end of the Gladding McBean Granitex enameled brick.

View of the Gladding McBean Granitex coated brick at the Central Bank Building in Oakland.
View of the Gladding McBean Granitex coated brick at the Central Bank Building in Oakland.

View of the end of the Gladding McBean Granitex coated brick.
View of the Gladding McBean Granitex coated brick at the Commercial Union Building, 315
Montgomery St., SanFrancisco. In this example, the black spots are coating the surface.

Ornamental Brick

Ornamental brick is orange-red, with smooth surfaces. There are two, deep, inversed pyramid-shaped frogs on one of the faces. The other face has a round dimple 1 1/4 inch in diameter. This brick was formed in a mold and pressed. Length 8 3/8, width 3 3/16, height 2 1/2 inches.

Crystal face Gladding McBean red pressed brick
View of the face of the ornamental red pressed brick.

Round dimple impressed on the face of a Gladding McBean red pressed brick
View of the face of the ornamental pressed brick displaying the dimple.



References

Atholl McBean - The Man and His Methods, Brick and Clay Record, v. 74, no. 9, 1929, p. 608.

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

Beverage, Gloria, Gladding, McBean in Lincoln One of a Kind, Auburn Journal, Dec. 26, 1982.

Bon Appetit, January 1993, p. 18.

Bower, Jack, written communications, 2010.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 59, no. 6, 1921, p. 447.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 60, no. 12, 1922, p. 925.

California Death Index, 1940-1997.

Crawford, J.J., Structural Materials, California State Mining Bureau 12th Annual Report of the State Mineralogist, 1894, p. 379-405.

Dietrich, Waldemar F., The Clay Resources and the Ceramic Industry of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 99, 1928, p. 151-156.

Elliot-Bishop, James F., Franciscan, Catalina, and other Gladding, McBean Wares, Ceramic Table and Art Wares: 1873-1942, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2001.

Federal Census Records, 1880.

Federal Census Records, 1900.

Federal Census Records, 1910.

Friends of Terra Cotta, Fall 1981 newletter.

Gladding, McBean & Co., no date, 5 p. (Lincoln Area Archives Museum).

Gladding, McBean & Co., Catalogue No. 30, San Francisco, Oakland, and Lincoln, California, 1901.

Gladding, McBean & Co., Clay Products, Price List No. 50, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California, June 1, 1923.

Gladding, McBean & Co., Gladding, McBean & Co. 1875-1927, Shapes of Clay, v. 3, no. 4, April-May 1927.

Gladding, McBean & Co., Shapes of Clay, April 1925.

Gladding, McBean & Co., Refractories Handbook, 1951.

Gladding, McBean & Co.'s Methods of Producing 50,000 Tons of Clay Ware, Brick and Clay Record, v. 64, no. 11, May 27, 1924, p. 807-815.

Gurcke, Karl, Bricks and Brickmaking, The University of Idaho Press, 1987.

Kennedy, George L., personal and written communications, 2015.

Lincoln Area Archives Museum, Lincoln, California.

Lincoln Pottery, Mining and Scientific Press, Dec. 23, 1876, p. 415.

Logan, Gerald E., Tales of Western Placer County, Lincoln News Messenger, v. 2, Lincoln, California, 1985.

McBean, P. McG., Gladding, McBean & Co., Letter, December 10, 1918, 2 p.

News Messenger, 1875-Gladding, McBean ... Interpace-1975, Lincoln Plant Centennial Issue, May 29, 1975.

Peter McGil McBean Co-Founder The Gladding, McBean and Company, The Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society, v. 16, no. 7, July 1937, p. 314-315.

Piwarzyk, Bob, personal communications, 2008.

Russell, Shirley L., Lincoln Area Archives Museum, Lincoln, California, personal communications, 2010.

Sacramento Daily Union, July 2, 1887.

San Francisco City Directory, 1876.

San Francisco City Directory, 1887.

Terra Cotta in Architecture, Pacific Rural Press, February 28, 1885.

The History of Clay Pipe In America, unknown publisher, no date, 16 p. (Lincoln Area Archives Museum).

The House of Gladding Passes From Lincoln, Sacramento Bee, January 12, 1930(?) (Lincoln Area Archives Museum).

Tucker, W.B., and Waring, Clarence A., The Counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yuba, California State Mining Bureau 15th Report of the State Mineralogist, part 3, 1916, p. 267-459.

Youtsey, Diane, and others, The City of Lincoln and "The Pottery," Lincoln, California, no date.

Copyright 2015 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.