California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Home Page | Brickmakers

Stockton Fire Brick Company, Pittsburg

Gladding, McBean and Company, Pittsburg

International Pipe and Ceramics Corporation (INTERPACE), Pittsburg

History


The Stockton Fire Brick Company, which started in 1920 with their main plant in Stockton, was looking to expand their refractory products prompted by high market demand during the late 1920s. They needed to install large tunnel kilns but lacked the space at their Stockton property. Their search for a new plant site in 1930 led them to Pittsburg in Contra Costa County. In Pittsburg, they located 22 acres of flat land next to the Southern Pacific railroad on the south side of Parkside Drive, at its intersection with Cannery Avenue. The construction of the Pittsburg plant was started in August 1930, at a cost of $500,000. John T. Roberts was the president and manager of the company. The company office was in the Russ Building at 235 Montgomery Street in San Francisco. In 1943, Gladding, McBean and Company purchased the plant and continued to operate it until 1962, when the plant was acquired by the International Pipe and Ceramics Corporation (INTERPACE). INTERPACE continued to operate the plant until 1982. I will combine the histories of all three operators here because the products are the same and, with the exception of a few, are indistinguishable among them.


Stockton Fire Brick Co. brickyard at Pittsburg
View of the plant of the Stockton Fire Brick Company in Pittsburg, California,
when it was owned by the Gladding, McBean and Company. From Turner, 1951.


The company owned or leased the clay properties from which it mined the clays. The main source of clay came from their Edwin clay mine at Jones Butte near Ione in Amador County. Ione sand was obtained from the pit of the Ione Fire Brick Company, and Lincoln fire clay was mined by a subsidiary company, the Clay Corporation of California. Quartz for grog was mainly from Amador and Placer counties. All raw material was delivered to the Stockton plant by rail. A spur line from the Southern Pacific railroad was run to the plant.


Stockton Fire Brick Co. dry-press machine at Pittsburg
Worker removing bricks from the dry-press machine. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburg Historical Society.


The following description of the plant is from a 1951 state report. The plant used numerous grades of fire clay that were stockpiled in the yard. These clays were first calcined in a counter-current, gas-fired rotary kiln, which was 7 feet in diameter and 100 feet long. The water content of the clays, usually 15 percent, was eliminated in this kiln. The clays were then taken to the storage bins. The desired quantity of each clay was withdrawn by chute to a batch-loading car operated in an underground tunnel. These batches were sent on conveyor belts to the dry-grinding pans. After grinding, the crude clay was conveyed to the screens that ranged in size from 6- to 14-mesh. The screened clay was then sent to a series of 18 overhead storage tanks, each holding 100 tons. Screened clay was withdrawn to a second batch car and delivered to a Simpson mixer for further conditioning.

The plant used three processes in working the clay. The stiff-mud process was used for ladle products. The dry-pressed process was used for boiler and furnace linings, and similar products. The hand-molded process was employed for special shapes.

In the stiff-mud process, the clay was extruded through a die. The extruded ribbon was cut by a wire, repressed, and sent to the stiff-mud drying kiln. The shapes required about two days to pass through the drying kiln, where the moisture content was reduced to approximately half of one percent. After drying, the shapes were sent to the tunnel-kiln dryer and then to the tunnel kiln.

In the dry-pressed process, movable trays filled the molds with clay. The clay was then subjected to two periods of compression, the first from the top and the second from the bottom of the molds. The pressed brick was then elevated to the tray level, removed, passed through the tunnel-kiln dryer, and then fired in the tunnel kiln. The 400-foot long Harrop tunnel kiln was used to burn products up to cone 17 (2,680 degrees F). It operated at a rate of 32 cars per 24-hour day, each car remaining in the kiln for two days.

In the hand-molded process, each special shape was individually handmade by filling a mold with clay. The special shape was removed, dried, and fired in the kiln. This plant made about 1,500 different shapes.

Production began in February 1931 by the Stockton Fire Brick Company. Many of the brands made at their Stockton plant were duplicated here, which makes it difficult to distinguish the products between the two plants. However, the 1931 date is an important way to assign the plant to the brick. All pre-1931 firebricks were made at the Stockton plant and most post-1931 firebricks were made at the Pittsburg plant. Excellent firebricks were made and they were in great demand by steel mills, iron foundries, and shipyards throughout the west. The firebricks were made in standard 9-inch lengths as well as larger blocks of different shapes.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. brickyard at Pittsburg
View of the loading dock of the Stockton Fire Brick Company in Pittsburg, California, 1937.
Stacked ladle blocks are ready for shipment. From Pittsburg Independent Progress Number, 1937.

Under the Stockton Fire Brick Company, the "CARNEGIE" brick was the best grade of standard brick for resisting high temperatures under adverse load and spalling conditions. It was made of quartz grog and calcined fire clay, formed in sanded molds, and repressed. Manager Roberts and other former employees of the former Carnegie Brick and Pottery Company continued to make the CARNEGIE firebrick, which was a well-known brand in the local market. When Gladding, McBean and Company took over, the CARNEGIE brand was made their lower temperature product, capable of withstanding a temperature of about 2,600 degrees F. The brand "GASCO XX" was made of fire clay and quartz grog, shaped in an auger machine, and single pressed. Both the "GASCO R" and "STOCKTON" were made of fire clay and quartz grog, formed in an auger machine, and repressed.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg brickyard employees
View of the employees of the Stockton Fire Brick Company in Pittsburg, California, 1939. Courtesy of the Pittsburg Historical Society.

Under Gladding, McBean and Company, the "DIABLO" brand was their highest temperature brick, capable of withstanding a temperature of about 3,400 degrees F. Most of the products they made were either the DIABLO or the lower temperature "CARNEGIE" brands. They also made "GASCO", "GASCO XX", "FIERRO", "MANTEL", "STOCKTON", "PINITE", and "No. 162". "LITH-O-CAST" was their cast product.

The distinguishing features of the firebricks from this plant is the buff to yellow color, medium-grained clay body, lack of large grains of quartz grog, and the slightly recessed, rounded rectangular plate with the recessed brand name. The brand name sporting a lower case "n" in CARNEGIE or STOCKTON came from this plant. From the bricks found in association at some mill sites, it appears that the firebricks made by the Gladding, McBean and Company were all dry-pressed bricks, indicating that they did not use the stiff-mud process in making their bricks as had been done by the former Stockton Fire Brick Company.

This plant was reported to be one of the largest refractory products manufacturer in the west. The production capacity of the plant was 30,000 brick per day, or 5,000 tons of products per month. Some of the places where the Pittsburg firebricks were used include the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, the Bremmerton Navy Yard near Seattle, the Pacific Coast Steel Company in South San Francisco, and the Hercules Powder Works at Hercules.


Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg brickyard employees
View of the employees of the Gladding, McBean & Company in Pittsburg, California, 1947. Courtesy of the Pittsburg Historical Society.

In 1933, Joseph Casey became the superintendent, and in 1935, he was superceded by I.W. Carson.

In August 1962, Gladding, McBean and Company merged with Lock Joint Pipe Company of East Orange, New Jersey, to form a new firm called the International Pipe and Ceramics Corporation (INTERPACE). Allan M. Hirsh, Jr., of Lock Joint was made president and chief executive officer and Gladding, McBean and Company's president, C.W. Plange, was made the senior vice president, a position he held until February 1963. In November 1962, Jack Liske replaced Walter Karnes as plant manager. In 1971, Roy Allenbach was plant manager, followed by D. Gerrine in 1975, William F. Miley in 1978, and Keith T. Snider in 1979.

In 1982, the North American Refractories Company purchased the plant and operated it until 1985. The plant has since been razed and a housing development was built over the site.

Stockton Fire Brick Company Bricks

STOCKTON Wire-Cut Firebrick


The wire-cut firebrick is gray with smooth surfaces. White subangular quartz grog up to 1/4 inch across and blotchy brown iron spots 1/4 inch across, each constitutes 5 percent of the clay body. The edges and corners were originally sharp, but often chipped or broken. The sides display transverse grooves, minor crackles, orange flashing, and stack indentations. The faces show curved wire-cut grooves. The marked face contains a raised round-rectangular name plate measuring 6 1/4 inches in length and 1 inch in width. The name "STOCKTON" is recessed in block letters. It spans 5 1/8 inches in length and is 3/4 inch high. This brick was made by the stiff-mud process with an extruding and wire-cut machine and then repressed. Length 9 1/8, width 4 1/2, height 2 1/2 inches.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. marked firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON wire-cut firebrick. The round-rectangular name plate is raised and it contains the recessed brand name.


Another style has a recessed name plate that is 6 1/8 inches long and 1 inch wide with round holes of 3/8-inch diameter at each end of the plate. Between the holes is the brand name "STOCKTON" in block letters that spans 5 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick is smaller, measuring 8 3/4 in length, 4 3/8 in width, and 2 3/8 in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton wire-cut firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON wire-cut firebrick with a recessed name plate containing the recessed brand name set between two holes that spans 5 inches.

Another style with a raised name plate has a slightly longer plate and no visible screws on the letters. The round-rectangular name plate is 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch wide, with the brand name "STOCKTON" in recessed block letters that spans 5 1/8 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 1/8 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton wire-cut firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON wire-cut firebrick with a slightly raised round-rectangular name plate.


STOCKTON Pressed Firebrick


The Stockton dry-pressed firebrick was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by Gladding, McBean & Company. The firebricks are white, gray, or yellow in color with smooth surfaces. Most surfaces display tiny pits, crackles, and medium to coarse grains. In the bricks that contain quartz grog, subangular white quartz up to 1/4 inch across constitutes up to 5 percent of the clay body. Similar amounts of brown, blotchy or round iron spots up to 1/4 inch across, some with blister holes, can be seen on the surface. The internal clay body crumbles or spalls easily making the brick quite fragile. The sides may display orange flash patterns and stack indentations. The edges and corners were originally sharp, but often chipped or broken. The unmarked face may show longitudinal grooves. The marked face shows a variety of styles, some of which are described individually below.

One type, which is believed to be an early version, has a large round-rectangular name plate that is slightly raised in the center of the face. The plate measures 7 5/8 inches in length and 1 5/8 inches wide. At each end of the plate are round holes 1/4 inch in diameter. Between the holes is recessed the name "STOCKTON" in block letters. The name spans 6 1/4 inches in length and is 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton dry-pressed firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON dry-pressed firebrick with a large raised name plate containing the recessed brand name set between two holes that spans 6 1/4 inches.

Another version of this brick has a recessed name plate 7 3/4 inches long and 1 inch wide with round holes of 3/8 inch in diameter at each end of the plate. Between the holes is the brand name "STOCKTON" in block letters that spans 6 1/8 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Stockton dry-pressed firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON dry-pressed firebrick with a recessed name plate containing the recessed brand name set between two holes that spans 6 1/8 inches.


Another style is with the round-rectangular name plate without the two end holes, but one is slightly raised and the others are slightly recessed. In the raised plate, which is 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, the brand name is recessed with closely spaced letters. The name spans 5 1/8 inches and is 3/4 inch high. There are 3/16-diameter screws on the letters "S" and "N". This is a yellow, fine-grained brick with smooth, crackled surfaces. It measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton dry-pressed firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON dry-pressed firebrick with a slightly raised round-rectangular name plate. Note the screws marks on the "S" and "N".

Another style has a recessed round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch wide. The recessed brand name "STOCKTON" is in block letters that spans 5 1/4 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton dry-pressed firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON dry-pressed firebrick with a slightly recessed round-rectangular name plate. Recessed name spans 5 1/4 inches.

Another style has a recessed round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch wide. The recessed brand name is in block letters that spans a wider 5 3/4 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton dry-pressed firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON dry-pressed firebrick with a slightly recessed round-rectangular name plate. Recessed name spans a wider 5 3/4 inches.

A Stockton dry-pressed firebrick with a lower case "n" is buff with smooth surfaces and dull edges and corners. It has a fine, granular clay body with feldspar grains up to 1/16 inch across and 10 percent white quartz grog up to 1/8 inch across. On a face is centered and raised a faint round-rectangular name plate 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name "STOCKTON" is recessed and spans 5 1/4 inches in length and stands 3/4 inch in height. The letters are in capital block letters with the exception of the lower case "n". Beneath the name plate is a faint raised circle one inch in diameter. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Stockton dry-pressed firebrick
View of the face of a STOCKTON dry-pressed firebrick showing the brand name with a lower case "n". Donated by James Freedner.

The Stockton arch-shaped firebrick is pressed, with yellow crackled surfures. It has a medium grained clay body with 5 percent round brown iron spots up to 1/4 inch across. The edges and corners are sharp, but often chipped or broken. Stack indentations may be seen on the face. The marked face shows a recessed number "2 1/8", indicating the thinner dimension of the arch. This is set inside a slightly raised circle plate 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Length 8 7/8, width 4 1/2, height 2 1/2 - 2 1/8 inches.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton arch firebrick
View of the marked face of a Stockton arch brick displaying "2 1/8" for the thinner side of the brick. Donated by Stuart Guedon.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Stockton arch firebrick
View of the end of a Stockton arch brick. The left side is 2 1/2 inches long and the right side is 2 1/8 in long.

GASCO Wire-Cut Firebrick


GASCO brand firebricks, started by the Stockton Fire and Enamel Brick Company and continued here, were wire-cut and repressed in three different styles. A buff GASCO firebrick has 10 percent subangular white quartz grog up to 1/4 inch across and one percent round brown iron spots up to 1/4 inch across. The face displays curved wire-cut grooves. The sides display transverse grooves and crackles. The brand name "GASCO" on the face spans 4 1/2 inches and 3/4 inch high and is recessed in block letters. This brick measures 8 3/4 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height. There were at least two styles of the GASCO XX firebrick. The one with the smaller size "XX" is a yellow wire-cut with 5 percent subangular white quartz up to 1/4 inch across and 2 percent round brown iron spots and blister holes up to 1/4 inch across. The face displays curved wire-cut grooves. The sides are crackled and some may show stack indentations. The brand name "GASCO XX" on the face spans 4 1/4 inches and 3/4 inch high in recessed block letters. The "XX" beneath the brand name spans 1 3/4 inches and 5/8 high, also recessed. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height. In the larger size "XX", the brand name spans 3 1/8 inches and 5/8 inch high in recessed block letters. Note that the letters are set closer in this brick than the previously mentioned brick. Yet another version has a space between GAS and CO. Beneath the brand name the larger "XX" spans 2 inches and 1 inch high. This brick measures slightly smaller in width at 9 inches in length, 4 3/8 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. GASCO firebrick
View of the marked face of a GASCO firebrick.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. GASCO XX firebrick
View of the marked face of a GASCO XX firebrick. The double X is 5/8 inch high.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. GASCO XX firebrick
View of the marked face of a GASCO XX firebrick. The double X is 1 inch high and with closer set letters in the brand name.

Another version of the wire-cut GASCO firebrick shows the brand name split on two lines in block recessed letters. The top line contains the name "GAS" and the bottom line contains "CO". An error version contains "CAS" on the top line, where the "G" was replaced by a "C". The face shows curved wire-cut marks and 1% subangular white quartz grog up to 1/4 inch across. This brick measures 9 inches in thickness, 4 3/8 inches in width, and 2 1/4 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard CAS/CO dry-pressed firebrick
View of the marked face of a CAS/CO firebrick, which is a misspelling for GAS/CO.

GASCO Pressed Firebrick


GASCO brand firebricks that are dry pressed were started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by Gladding, McBean & Company. A buff GASCO firebrick has a fine, granular clay body with cream feldspar, one percent irregular brown iron spots, and 5 percent white quartz, all up to 1/8 inch across. Surface is smooth with crackles. Edges are sharp and corners often broken. On a face is centered and recessed a round-rectangular name plate 6 3/8 inches long and 1 inch high. The name "GASCO" is recessed in block letters that span a length of 4 inches and stand 3/4 inch high. The brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 3/8 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard GASCO dry-pressed firebrick
View of the marked face of a dry-pressed GASCO firebrick.

DIABLO Pressed Firebrick


A DIABLO dry-pressed firebrick, started by the Stockton Fire and Enamel Brick Company and continued here, is buff with smooth, pitted surfaces. The clay body is medium grained with 2 percent round brown iron spots up to 1/8 inch across. The bottom face has longitudinal striations. The marked face has the brand name "DIABLO" in recessed block letters that span 5 5/8 inches and is 3/4 inch high. The example shown has the face mostly destroyed or covered by mortar so that only the "D" and "B" are shown. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Diablo firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO firebrick. Donated by Petter L. Rosenquist.

A DIABLO dry-pressed firebrick, started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company, is salmon with smooth surfaces, sharp edges, and dull corners. The clay body is fine grained with 5 percent round brown iron spots, some with blistered holes, up to 1/4 inch across. The marked face has the brand name "DIABLO" in recessed block letters that span 5 1/4 inches and is 3/4 inch high. The brand name sits in a recessed round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/2 inches long and 1 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo marked face firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO firebrick. Donated by Petter L. Rosenquist.

A DIABLO dry-pressed firebrick, started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company, is yellow with smooth, crackled surfaces, sharp edges, and dull corners. The clay body is coarse grained with subangular feldspar up to 1/4 inch across. The marked face has the brand name "DIABLO" in recessed block letters that span a tight 3 3/8 inches and is 3/4 inch high. The letter "A" has a rounded top. The brand name sits in a recessed round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/2 inches long and 1 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO firebrick. Donated by Petter L. Rosenquist.


The DIABLO-D firebrick is a buff, dry-pressed brick. This brand was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. It contains a coarse granular clay body with subrounded feldspar and clay grains up to 1/4 inch across and 20 percent white quartz grog up to 1/4 inch across. Surface is smooth, the edges are sharp, and the corners are often broken. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name "DIABLO-D" is recessed in block letters that span a length of 5 3/8 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 3/8 inches in width, and 2 5/8 in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo-D firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO-D firebrick.


The DIA-D firebrick is a buff, dry-pressed brick. This brand, which is an abbreviated version of the DIABLO-D, was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. It contains a coarse granular clay body with subrounded feldspar and clay grains up to 1/4 inch across and 20 percent white quartz grog up to 1/4 inch across. Surface is smooth, the edges are sharp, and the corners are often broken. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/8 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name "DIA-D" is recessed in block letters that span a length of 4 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 3/8 inches in width, and 2 5/8 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard DIA-D firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIA-D firebrick.


The DIABLO-D/3 firebrick is a yellow, wedged shape, dry-pressed brick. This brand was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. It contains coarse granular feldspar and clay up to 1/4 inch across, with 1 percent brown iron spots up to 1/8 inch across. The surface is smooth with crackles. The edges are sharp and the corners often broken. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high, containing the brand name "DIABLO - D", in recessed block letters that span a length of 5 3/8 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. Beneath the above name is a number "3" inside a circle, both recessed. The circle is 1 inch in diameter. The "3" is 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inhes in width, 3 to 2 inches in height on the ends.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo-D/3 firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO-D/3 wedge firebrick. Donated by James Freedner.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo-D/3 firebrick
View of the side of a DIABLO-D/3 wedge firebrick. Donated by James Freedner.

A DIABLO dry-pressed wedge firebrick, started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company, is yellow with smooth surfaces, dull edges, and dull corners. The clay body is coarse grained with subangular feldspar up to 1/4 inch across. The marked face has the brand name "DIABLO" in recessed block letters that span 5 1/2 inches and is 3/4 inch high. The letter "A" has a rounded top. The brand name sits in a recessed round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/2 inches long and 1 inch high. This brick measures 8 7/8 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 1 to 1 3/4 inches in height on the ends.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo wedge firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO wedge firebrick.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo wedge firebrick
View of the side of a DIABLO wedge firebrick showing the 1 3/4-inch height on the left and 1-inch height on the right.


The DIABLO/1 firebrick is a buff, wedged shape, dry-pressed brick. This brand was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. It contains a fine granular clay body with 3 percent brown iron spots up to 1/8 inch across. Surface is smooth and the edges and corners are often broken. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name DIABLO is recessed in block letters that span a length of 4 inches and stands 5/8 inch high. Beneath is the number "1" recessed and 1 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/4 to 1 3/4 in height on the ends.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo/1 wedge firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO/1 wedge firebrick.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo/1 wedge firebrick
View of the side of a DIABLO/1 wedge firebrick showing the 2 1/4-inch height on the left and 1 3/4-inch height on the right.


The DIABLO/1 firebrick is a salmon, arch shaped, dry-pressed brick. This brand was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. It contains a fine granular clay body of feldspar and clay up to 1/16 inch across, with 10 percent round, brown iron spots up to 1/8 inch across, giving the surface a speckled texture. Surface is smooth, the edges are sharp, and the corners are often broken. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate that is 6 3/8 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name DIABLO is recessed in block letters that span a length of 4 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. Beneath is the number "1" recessed and 3/4 inch high inside a slightly raised circle 1 inch in diameter. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 to 1 3/4 in height on the sides.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo/1 arch firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO/1 arch firebrick.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo/1 arch firebrick
View of the end of a DIABLO/1 arch firebrick showing the 1 3/4-inch height on the left and 2 1/2-inch height on the right.


The DIABLO/2 firebrick is a buff, arch shaped, dry-pressed brick. This brand was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. It contains a fine granular clay body with subrounded white quartz and feldspar up to 1/8 inch across. Surface is smooth and crackled. The edges are sharp and corners are often broken. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name DIABLO is recessed in block letters that span a length of 3 3/8 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. The letter "A" has a rounded top. Beneath is the number "2" recessed and 1 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 1/2 to 1 3/4 in height on the sides.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo/2 arch firebrick
View of the marked face of a DIABLO/2 arch firebrick.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Diablo/2 arch firebrick
View of the end of a DIABLO/2 arch firebrick showing the 1 3/4-inch height on the left and 2 1/2-inch height on the right.

CARNEGIE Pressed Firebrick


This style of CARNEGIE firebrick was started by the Stockton Fire and Enameled Brick Company and continued by the Stockton Fire Brick Company. It is a fine, granular, dry-pressed brick, ranging from buff to yellow in color. The feldspar and clay grains are up to 1/16 inch across with 5 percent, round, brown iron grains, some blistered, up to 1/8 inch across The surface is smooth with minor crackles and pits. On one face is imprinted the brand name "CARNEGIE" recessed in block letters within a round-rectangular name plate, which is slightly recessed. The name plate is 6 1/2 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name spans 5 3/8 inches in length and is 3/4 inch in height. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 2 3/8 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Carnegie firebrick
View of the marked face of a CARNEGIE firebrick.


This CARNEGIE refractory block, distinguished by the lower case "n" in the brand name, was started by the Gladding, McBean & Co. This is a salmon, dry-pressed block. The brand name sits inside a round rectangular name plate, which is slightly recessed, 6 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name is recessed and spans 5 inches in length. The block capital and lower case letters are 3/4 inch in height. The firebrick containing this brand has the same name and plate measurements. The block shown measures 7 3/4 inches in length, 6 3/4 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard Carnegie firebrick
View of the marked face of a CARnEGIE firebrick displaying a lower case "n".


The CAR-D firebrick is a brown, dry-pressed brick. This brand was started by the Stockton Fire Brick Company and continued by the Gladding, McBean & Company. This brick is thicker and heavier than other bricks. It contains a coarse granular clay body with subangular gray silica and cream feldspar up to 1/4 inch across. Surface is smooth, the edges are sharp, and the corners are dull. The surface displays crackles and small cracks. On one face is recessed a round-rectangular name plate that is 6 1/2 inches long and 1 inch high. The brand name "CAR-D" is recessed in block letters that span a length of 4 1/8 inches and stands 3/4 inch high. This brick measures 9 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width, and 3 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Pittsburg yard CAR-D firebrick
View of the marked face of a CAR-D firebrick.


The CARNEGIE pressed oversized block, started by the Stockton Fire and Enamel Brick Company and continued here, is buff with smooth surfaces that is crackled. It contains 20 percent subangular white quartz grog. The brand name "CARNEGIE" is recessed in thin block letters that spans 4 7/8 inches in length and is 3/4 inch high. The logo is an "S" 3/4 inch in height inside a slightly raised circle that is 1 1/8 inches in diameter. This block measures 9 1/8 inches in length, 6 3/4 inches in width, and 2 1/2 inches in height.

Stockton Fire Brick Co. Carnegie firebrick with S-logo
View of the marked face of a CARNEGIE pressed oversized block displaying the "S" logo.

References

American Ceramics Society Bulletin, v. 19, no. 5, 1940, p. 192.

American Refractories Institute, Directory of the Refractories Industry, 10th edition. St. Louis, MO, 1942.

AT&T Telephone Directory, CCC Publishing Co., 1985-1986.

Averill, C.V., King, C.R., Symons, H.H., and Davis, F.F., Directory of Producers For 1946, California Journal of Mines and Geology Bulletin 139, 1948.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 76, no. 11, 1930, p. 696.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 77, no 8, 1930, p. 412.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 78, no 3, 1931, p. 135.

Davis, Fenelon F., and Vernon, J.W., Mines and Mineral Resources of Contra Costa County, California, California State Mining Bureau, California Journal of Mines and Geology, v. 47, no. 4, 1951, p. 561-618.

Dietrich, Waldemar F., The Clay Resources and the Ceramic Industry of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 99, 1928, p. 209-212.

Gurcke, Karl, written communication, 1981.

Hurtado, Jess, former Gladding, McBean & Company employee and Pittsburg Historical Society President, personal communication, 2009.

Lane, Kay, Pittsburg Historical Society Public Relations Director, personal communication, 2009.

Oakland Tribune, Plans for Gladding, McBean Merger Deal Announced, July 19, 1962.

Oakland Tribune, New Plant Manager, November 23, 1962.

Pasadena Star News, February 4, 1963.

Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, Industry Roster, Pittsburg, CA, September 1, 1965.

Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, Industry Roster 1971, Pittsburg, CA, 1971.

Pittsburg Independent Progress Number, Pittsburg, CA, 1937-1938.

Polk's City Directory, Pittsburg and Antioch, 1975-1984.

Post Dispatch, Gladding, McBean Moved Here During Depression, August 21, 1961.

San Francisco City Directories, 1920-1935.

Stockton City Directories, 1933-1935.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Producers For 1943, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 128, 1944, 222 p.

Turner, Mort D., Clay and the Ceramic Industry of the San Francisco Bay Counties, California State Division of Mines Bulletin 154, 1951, p. 247-252.

Copyright 2009 Dan Mosier

Home Page | Brickmakers

Comments or questions are welcomed.
Please send email to Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.