California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Long Beach Brick Company 7th Street Yard

Advertisement of the Long Beach Brick Co.
Advertisement for the Long Beach Brick Company. From the Long Beach City Directory, 1915-1916.

History


On July 13, 1906, the Long Beach Brick Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000. The officers of the company were E.G. Thomas, Mrs. R.A. Thomas, L.P. Muscat, E.M. Muscat, and O. Banse. This company had located a deposit of clay at the southwest corner of East Seventh Street and Ximeno Avenue at Long Beach, Los Angeles County. The sandy clay deposit was 20 feet thick in a pit that was about 150 feet in diameter and 20 to 25 feet deep. The deposit contained layers of clay and coarse-grained yellowish sandstone, overlain by a thin layer of dark brown clay soil. The company office was located at 215 East First Street at Long Beach.

A scraper was used to mine and haul the clay to the hopper, which fed a belt conveyor that elevated the material to the plant. The plant was run by a 50-h.p. Chandler-Taylor steam engine. The bricks were formed using an American clay machine and wire-cutter. The bricks were air dried and burned in field kilns using crude oil fuel. The daily plant capacity was 30,000 to 35,000 bricks, the latter rate being achieved by 1914.

Brick production was reported to have begun by January 1907. Initially the bricks were sold and used locally in the Long Beach area. It required several years of experimenting and testing to finally perfect the quality of the brick, that by 1910, orders began to come from points outside of Long Beach. In December 1910, G.M. La Shell became manager of the plant and made some improvements to the brick handling machinery. In 1911, the company shipped 375,000 brick for a bank and garage before the brickyard was shut down in May. La Shell left the company to open a contractor's supply company.

In June 1911, John Y. Parker leased the brickyard and reopened it. He had added a large stock of bricks before closing the yard for the winter. By March 1912, Parker had purchased the Long Beach brickyard, became president and general manager of the company, and implemented numerous improvements. W.W. Wheatly was the sales manager and promoted their products heavily in the local press. John J. Chamberlain was the plant foreman. About March 1912, the plant began making blue brick and in 1913, matte enamel brick was added.

In May 1913, the company office at 215 East First Street was transformed into showroom of their products. The floor was laid of red mission tile, the fireplace was made of buff bricks, the tables and counters were in red and blue brick, and the walls were in beautiful color combinations of brick. It also contained an attractive collection of samples of the company's wares as well as photographs of the plant.

In 1913, the company dropped the price of their brick from $8.80 to $8 per thousand and also entered the masonry contracting business to place brick in the wall at competitive rates. In 1916, Parker was succeeded by Harry Havner as general manager and E. Young became the new foreman when Chamberlain left to work for the Los Angeles Brick Company. Parker went to Santa Barbara to open his own brickyard.

Some of Long Beach Brick Company building bricks were used in the Globe Theatre (1912) at Los Angeles, Union High School (1913) at Huntington Park, Glassel School (1914) at Orange, a hotel (1916) at Long Beach, the Diamond Match Company (1916) at Wilmington, and the Babb Building (1918) at Long Beach. White enamel and red building bricks were used in the Ford Automobile Building (1913) at Santa Fe and 7th streets in Los Angeles, which provide the examples of their brick shown below.

In 1924, the company opened a new brickyard at Harbor City, where a large clay and sand deposit was discovered. The new larger brick plant was capable of tripling the brick production of the former yard. The Seventh Street yard was abandoned by 1928 and the property was later developed into residential units.

Long Beach Brick Company Bricks

Red Wire-Cut Brick

Red wire-cut building brick is red and mostly uniform in color. Form is excellent with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. Sides are smooth with faint transverse striations. Wire-cut faces could not be observed for description. Because of white paint covering most of the bricks, other features could not be observed. This bricks was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 8 1/4, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/4 inches.

View of the sides of the Long Beach Brick Company red wire-cut building brick.
View of the sides of the Long Beach Brick Company red wire-cut building brick, partly covered by white paint.

View of the side of the Long Beach Brick Company red wire-cut building brick showing the fine striations..
View of the side of the Long Beach Brick Company red wire-cut building brick showing the fine striations.

Enamel Brick

White enamel brick is a matte white enamel applied to all surfaces of a red wire-cut brick. The form is excellent with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. Length 8 1/4, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/4 inches.

View of the sides of the Long Beach Brick Company white enamel brick.
View of the sides of the Long Beach Brick Company white enamel brick.

View of the side of the Long Beach Brick Company white enamel brick.
View of the side of the Long Beach Brick Company white enamel brick.

Close-up view of the side of the Long Beach Brick Company white enamel brick showing the enamel on red brick.
Close-up view of the white enamel coating on red brick.

References

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. 51-52.

Bones of Ancient Horse Discovered, Oakland Tribune, July 14, 1914.

Brick, v. 26, no. 1, 1907, p. 26.

Brick, v. 33, no. 4, 1910, p. 181.

Brick, v. 33, no. 6, 1910, p. 270.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 38, no. 12, 1911, p. 584.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 41, no. 1, 1912, p. 38.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 42, no. 2, 1913, p. 140.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 43, no. 6, 1913, p. 603.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 43, no. 8, 1913, p. 823.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 45, no. 1, 1914, p. 64.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 48, no. 8, 1916, p. 759.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 50, no. 5, 1917, p. 459.

Clay-Worker, v. 55, no. 6, 1911, p. 875.

Clay-Worker, v. 56, no. 4, 1911, p. 401.

Clay-Worker, v. 57, no. 3, 1912, p. 516.

Clay-Worker, v. 59, no. 5, 1913, p. 775.

Clay-Worker, v. 59, no. 6, 1913, p. 886.

Clay-Worker, v. 60, no. 3, 1913, p. 286.

Incorporations, Los Angeles Herald, July 4, 1906.

Long Beach City Directory, 1915-1916.

Long Beach City Directory, 1922.

Long Beach City Directory, 1923.

Long Beach City Directory, 1925.

Long Beach To Make 100,000 Daily, Brick and Clay Record, v. 64, no. 13, 1924, p. 866.

Remembering When?, Long Beach Independent, May 19, 1954.

Report of the Secretary of State, State Corporations, Journal of the Senate of the State of California, Sacramento, 1908, p. 85.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production For 1928, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 102, 1929, 215 p.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.