California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Los Angeles Stoneware Company

Los Angeles Stoneware and Sewer Pipe Company

History


On September 1, 1891, the Los Angeles Stoneware Company was incorporated in Los Angeles County, California, with a capital stock of $10,000. The directors were M.D. Chamberlain, George W. Parker, W.W. Everett, A.G. Parker, and G.A. Everett, all of Los Angeles. They were interested in establishing a stoneware manufacturing factory at 423 Well Street (320/423 Avenue 26) in the Lincoln Heights district in East Los Angeles. On December 29, 1891, George Parker and W.W. Everett purchased lots in the Hamilton tract for their factory site. The property consisted of about 7 acres of land. Initially a small plant was built just for the manufacture of stoneware and clay flower pots, using local clay and higher grade clay shipped to the plant from Alberhill in Riverside County. In 1893, William J. Washburn was president of the company, W.W. Everett was vice-president, and James Crichton was secretary.

In 1896, Archibald Douglass purchased a large interest in the Los Angeles Stoneware Company and became its president. William Washburn was bumped to vice-president and James Crichton remained the secretary. Douglass was interested in expanding the plant's production of other clay products, such as sewer pipe and firebrick. In May 1897, W. Smith was hired to erect a two-story frame building for the new sewer pipe factory, which was built at a cost of $3,000. Sewer pipe production began in 1897 and new firebricks made of Elsinore clay were tested in a rotary blast furnace and was claimed to be superior to imported firebricks. Firebrick production probably began here in early 1898.

View of the Los Angeles Stoneware and Sewer Pipe Company works, Los Angeles. From Aubrey, 1906.
View of the Los Angeles Stoneware and Sewer Pipe Company works, Los Angeles. From Aubrey, 1906.

Major plant expansion occurred from 1897 to 1904. In 1904, the company changed its name to the Los Angeles Stoneware and Sewer Pipe Company. Sewer pipe was the main product manufactured at the new plant. Firebrick was third in the order of production. By 1905, the plant was 96 x 300 feet with two wings, one 150 x 125 feet and the other 32 x 120 feet. There was also a large storage warehouse, office, engine house, large oil tanks, and clay house. There were 7 down-draft kilns, three of which were 30 feet in diameter, one 25 feet in diameter, and two 20 feet in diameter. The plant contained two dry pans for grinding the clay, two wet pans for tempering clay for sewer pipe, two sewer pipe presses, one chaser mill for tempering the clay for stoneware, complete clay washing outfit, and a complete firebrick department. The firebrick department consisted of a pug-mill, Giant auger machine, automatic 12-brick cutter, Eagle double repress, brick cars, track, and steam dryers, heated by exhaust from the kilns. The plant was powered by three 100 h.p. boilers, later replaced by a 250 h.p. boiler, and a 100 h.p. Boss Corliss engine later upgraded to a 200 h.p. engine. The plant employed 50 to 60 workers. The company also issued an illustrated catalogue of its products.

Firebricks manufactured at this plant is the focus of this article. They were made in all standard shapes and special shapes were made to order on short notice. The company tried to keep on hand a large stock of firebrick at all times to fill orders promptly. Every firebrick was stamped with the company's initials "L.A.S.&S.P.Co." Firebrick were shipped by two railroads, Santa Fe and Union Pacific, which had sidings for the plant. Clays were shipped to the plant from Elsinore in Riverside County. The products were shipped throughout Southern California and as far away as Arizona and Nevada.

By 1906, Douglass had taken over the company through stock acquisitions and he decided to reorganize it under a new company which he called the Douglass Clay Product Company. For the continuation of this plant's history, see
Douglass Clay Product Company.

Advertisement from the Los Angeles City Directory, 1902.
Advertisement from the Los Angeles City Directory, 1902.

Los Angeles Stoneware and Sewer Pipe Company Brick

Firebrick is a salmon color with smooth surfaces. The faces display pits and wire-cut grooves at a slight angle in the longitudinal direction. The marked face contains a shallow beveled rectangular frog that is 7 1/8 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide. The company abbreviations L.A.S.&S.P.Co. are in recessed block letters that span 6 3/4, stand 1 inch in height, and the lower case "o" is 1/2 inch in height. The periods are square shaped. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process and repressed. Length 8 3/4, width 4 3/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the marked face of the L.A.S.&S.P.Co. firebrick. Photo courtesy of Bernie Gass.
View of the marked face of the L.A.S.&S.P.Co. firebrick. Photo courtesy of Bernie Gass.

References

Aubrey, Lewis E., The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 38, 1906, p. 214-216.

Brick, v. 7, no. 1, 1897, p. 8.

Brick, v. 7, no. 3, 1897, p. 120.

Brick, v. 7, no. 6, 1897, p. 237.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 17, no. 4, 1902, p. 164.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 17, no. 5, 1902, p. 170.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 20, no. 3, 1904, p. 198.

Clay-Worker, v. 41, no. 2, 1904, p. 288.

Gass, Bernie, written communications and photographs, 2010.

Incorporations, Sacramento Daily Union, September 5, 1891.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1892.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1893.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1896.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1897.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1906.

Los Angeles Herald, September 2, 1891.

Los Angeles Herald, May 15, 1897.

Los Angeles Stoneware and Sewer Pipe Company, Los Angeles Herald, September 3, 1905.

Merrill, F.J.H., Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, California State Mining Bureau 15th Report of the State Mineralogist, part 4, 1916, p. 461-589.

Real Estate Transfers, Los Angeles Herald, December 30, 1891.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.