California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Liston Brick Company

Liston Brick Co. brickyard
View of the brickyard of the Liston Brick Company. Pug mill and brick molding plant on the left. From Gray, 1961.


History


The Liston Brick Company was brought to my attention thanks to Josh Higgins, formerly of the Higgins Brick Company, who had kindly sent samples of the Liston brick bats shown below. Little is known about this company's operations and products. Hopefully additional information will be forthcoming as we continue to research this company. For now, I'm giving preliminary information for archaeologists and historians who may encounter this brick in their projects.

Lionel Paul Liston established the Liston Brick Company in 1948, after operating the Coast Brick Company in Torrence, California. Liston was born in Hammond, Oklahoma, in 1912, and died in Corona, California in 1988. He married Evelyn Bernhard in 1936, and they had three children. They made their residence in Corona.

The Liston brickyard was located at 3710 Temescal Canyon Road, about 5.5 miles southeast of Corona in Riverside County, California. The yard, which is now razed, was on the south side of Cajalco Road at its intersection with Temescal Canyon Road. The plant manufactured common brick in standard and commercial sizes. They also made rug-textured brick as indicated from the samples shown below.

Clay material was purchased from local suppliers in the Corona area. These included the Miocene diatomaceous shale of the Chocolate Drop deposit in the Topanga formation, sandy clay strip waste from the pit of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, and local soils. The materials were mined by a bulldozer and loaded by a skip loader on trucks for transport to the plant.

A bulldozer was used to blend the materials. After grinding, the material was sent to the pug mill. After pugging, a vacuum pump removed air and the material was extruded under pressure. The extruded column was cut into various sizes by wire-cutters and sent to the curing yard to dry for about five weeks. Field kilns using natural gas were used to fire the brick. This operation had as many as five field kilns in various stages of development.

In 1960, the company employed about 20 workers, including the sales personnel. The plant probably closed in the 1960s as indicated by their absence in the state mining directories.

On May 10, 1974, the Liston Brick Company of Corona filed an articles of incorporation, indicating the reopening of the brickyard. Craig Hall was the registered agent and Walter Jack Hall was president. They employed 52 workers. This operation was not for brickmaking, but for smelting aluminum. In 2007, the company was fined for pollution, which resulted in its closing. Although the company is currently listed in business directories, the plant structures on the property have been razed.

Liston Brick Co. brickyard
View of the Liston plant on the left, offices and shop on the right, and finished brick storage. From Gray, 1961.


Liston Brick Co. field kilns
View of the Liston field kilns. Kiln on the left is being erected. Kiln in rear left is being dismantled. Kiln in
the right foreground is almost completely dismantled. Kiln in the rear right is ready for firing. From Gray, 1961.


Liston Brick

Liston Smooth Brick

The smooth common brick is pale orange and mostly uniform in color. One sample had patches of light and dark colors on one side. The sides are smooth with pits, minor cracks, and visible quartz on the surface. The face is pitted and displays curved wire-cut marks and longitudinal scratch grooves. The corners and edges are dull or chipped, and the short end edges are rounded. The interior contains about 10 percent clasts of mostly subangular translucent quartz and white granitic rocks up to 1/8 inch across, about 1 percent black iron grains, and rare muscovite mica flakes, all in a fine sandy orange clay body that has minor pores and is mostly compact. This brick was made using the stiff-mud extrusion process and wire-cut on the faces. Length is unknown, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

Liston wire-cut brick
View of the smooth side of the Liston smooth brick bat. Donated by Josh Higgins.

Liston wire-cut brick
View of the smooth end of the Liston smooth brick bat.

Liston wire-cut brick
View of the wire-cut face of the Liston smooth brick bat.

Liston wire-cut brick interior
View of the interior clay body of the Liston smooth brick bat.


Liston Rug Brick

The rug-textured brick is pale orange and mostly uniform in color. It has smooth sides with minor pits and visible quartz on the sides. Curved wire-cut marks and pits are displayed on the cut faces. The rug texture on one side and one end contains evenly spaced transverse grooves that are 1/4 inch apart. There are 13 evenly spaced transverse grooves on the ends. The corners and edges are dull or chipped, and the short end edges are rounded. The interior is composed of 20 percent subrounded to subangular translucent and white quartz and white granite, all ranging up to 1/4 inch across, 1 percent black iron grains, and muscovite mica flakes, all in a compact fine sandy orange clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud extrusion process and wire-cut on the faces. The character of this brick is very similar to the brick made by the Hancock Brick Company at their Highgrove plant in San Bernardino County. The only difference is in the presence of translucent quartz and higher clast content in the Liston brick. Length unknown, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

Liston rug brick
View of the rug-textured side of the Liston rug brick bat. Donated by Josh Higgins.

Liston rug brick
View of the rug-textured end of the Liston rug brick bat.

Liston rug brick
View of the wire-cut face of the Liston rug brick bat.

Liston rug brick interior
View of the interior clay body of the Liston rug brick bat.


Liston Rug Block

The rug-textured block is pale orange and mostly uniform in color. The block in cross-section is square rather than rectangular. It has smooth sides with minor pits and visible quartz on the sides. Curved wire-cut marks and pits are displayed on the cut faces. The rug texture on the long side contains irregularly spaced transverse grooves that are 1/8 to 1/2 inch apart. The corners and edges are dull or chipped. The interior is composed of up to 20 percent subrounded to subangular translucent and white quartz and white granite, all ranging up to 1/8 inch across, 3 percent black iron grains, and rarer muscovite mica flakes, all in a compact fine sandy orange clay body. Rounded spheroids of clay with spiral patterns accentuated by soft white alum(?) coatings are visible in some areas. This brick was made using the stiff-mud extrusion process and wire-cut on the faces. Length unknown, width 3 1/8, height 3 1/4 inches.

Liston rug block bat
View of the rug-textured side of the Liston rug block bat. Donated by Josh Higgins.

Liston rug block bat
View of the smooth end of the Liston rug block bat.

Liston rug block bat
View of the wire-cut face of the Liston rug block bat.

Liston rug block bat interior
View of the interior clay body of the Liston rug block bat. Note the spheriodal clay at right center.


References

County of San Bernardino, Certificate of Marriage for Lionel Paul Liston and Evelyn Marie Bernhard, February 8, 1936.

Davis, Fenelon F., and Goldman, Harold B., Directory of Mineral Producers In California For 1960, 1961, and 1962, California Division of Mines and Geology, 58th Report of the State Geologist, 1966, p. 131-209.

Dun and Bradstreet Credibilty Corporation, Liston Brick Company of Corona, http://www.dandb.com/ businessdirectory/listonbrickcompanyofcorona-corona-ca-35047095.html (accessed 13 June 2012).

Environmental Appeals Board, In the Matter of Liston Brick of Corona, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Docket No. CAA-09-2015-0018, December 18, 2007, Washington, D.C.

Federal Census Records, 1930.

Gray, Cliffton H., Jr., Geology of the Corona South Quadrangle and the Santa Ana Narrows Area and Mines and Mineral Deposits of the Corona South Quadrangle, Riverside and Orange counties, California, California Division of Mines Bulletin 178, 1961.

Higgins, Josh, written comm. and brick samples, 2012.

Oklahoma State Health Department, Delayed Certificate of Birth for Lionel Paul Liston, January 4, 1946.

Social Security Death Index.

Copyright 2012 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.