California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


King Lumber Company

Kern County Brick Company

History


About 1893, Elmore King, native of Tennessee and president of the King Lumber Company in Bakersfield, started a brick manufacturing plant on 12 acres of land on the east side of Bakersfield (Sec. 21, T. 29 S., R. 28 E., M.D.M.). The King Lumber Company office was located at 1402 King St., Bakersfield. The Kern County Brick Company was formed to run and operate the brick plant. O.V. Paye was president of the company. In 1928, 10 workers were employed at the plant.

A sandy loam, 25 feet thick, was mined to make common brick. The plant consisted of a Potts disintegrator, pug-mill, and a six-mold press. The soft-mud process was used to form bricks. The formed bricks were hauled by cable to the drying sheds. Firing was done in oil-fired field kilns. The plant capacity was 37,000 bricks per day. Cost of manufacturing was $4 per 1,000 brick and sold at $8 per 1,000 brick. The Kern County brick plant closed in 1941 for the war and reopened again in 1943. It operated for another five years, closing in 1948.

King Brick

Common brick is red and mostly uniform in color. The edges are straight and dull with dull or broken corners. The sides and ends display minor transverse grooves. The top face is flat and pitted, with pits up to 1/2 inch across, and displays a longitudinal strike direction. The bottom face is flat and marked with the initials of the King Lumber Company centered in a beveled rectangular frog. The initials K.L.Co. are raised with the name spanning 5 inches. The block letters K, L, and C are 1 inch high, the lower case "o" is 7/8 inch high. The frog measures 5 7/8 inches long, 1 7/8 inches high, and 1/8 inch deep. Interior clay body is the same color as the surface and contains about 10 percent iron-stained, subrounded quartz grains up to 1/4 inch across. This brick was made using the sand-molded, soft-mud process. Example shown was obtained from David Garcia. Length 8 1/4, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

King brick
View of the marked face of the King brick showing the initials of the King Lumber Company.

King brick
View of a side of the King brick.

King brick
View of the top face of the King brick.


References

Averill, C.V., and Norman, L.A., Jr., Directory of Producers of Metallic and Nonmetallic Minerals in California During 1949, California Journal of Mines and Geology, v. 47, no. 2, 1951, p. 393-451.

Boalich, E.S., Castello, W.O., Huguenin, Emile, Logan, C.A., and Tucker, W.B., The Clay Industry In California, California State Mining Bureau Preliminary Report 7, 1920, p. 48.

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, 1916, p. 429-634.

Dietrich, Waldemar F., The Clay Resources and the Ceramic Industry of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 99, 1928, p. 89.

Federal Census Records, 1910.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production For 1927, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 101, 1928, 311 p.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Mineral Producers for 1941, California Journal of Mines and Geology Bulletin 122, 1941, 377 p.

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

Copyright 2007 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.