California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Hazard Products, Inc.

Mission Valley Brick Company, Inc.

History


In December 1955, San Diego City Board of Zoning Adjustment voted to allow Roscoe and Bruce Hazard to build a brick kiln at 7501 Friars Road in Mission Valley. In 1956, a new brick manufacturer entered the San Diego brick market under the name of the Mission Valley Brick Company, Inc., a company affiliated with the Hazard Products, Inc., which manufactured concrete blocks. The Mission Valley Brick Company produced structural clay products and was run by Bruce R. Hazard, president; Roscoe E. Hazard, vice-president; Fred Littler, vice-president and treasurer, and Fred W. Strong, secretary. The plant was situated about 1000 feet southeast of the present intersection of the Cabrillo Freeway and Friars Road. The clay mine was located in Soledad Valley, 8.2 miles to the northeast of the plant.

The company mined the Linda Vista clay deposit, a 200-foot thick section of alternating buff and gray shale and mudstone. The clay has good plasticity, medium high dry strength, and a maximum shrinkage of 11.2 percent at cone 1. The clay was mined by a power shovel from an open pit that was over 500 feet long and 250 feet wide. The clay was loaded into trucks and hauled by road to the plant. About 15,000 tons of clay per year was produced.

The Mission Valley plant had a capacity of 240 tons of clay material or 40,000 bricks per day. The clay was blended with various proportions of sand and finely ground brick rejects. The mix was crushed in a hammer mill to a uniform size and passed through a 1/8 by 1/2 inch slot screen. Because of the high gypsum content in the clay, barium carbonate and other salts were added to reduce efflorescence in the product. The material was mixed with water in a pug mill, machine extruded, and wire-cut into bricks. Bricks were then loaded on flat trucks, force dried with waste heat from the kiln, and fired in a tunnel kiln.

Mission Valley made nine types of bricks in both smooth and ruffled textures. These are shown along with the price in 1957 in the following table.

Type Size (inches) Price ($/1,000 brick)
Modular face cored 7 5/8 x 3 3/8 x 2 1/4 42
Modular paver solid 7 5/8 x 3 3/8 x 2 1/4 45
Standard face cored 8 1/8 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 42
Standard paver solid 8 1/8 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 45
Norman face cored 11 1/2 x 3 1/3 x 2 1/4 70
Norman paver solid 11 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 70
Mission norman cored 11 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 70
Jumbo face cored 11 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/2 70
Jumbo paver solid 11 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/2 80

In 1959, they started making the "Hazard-Bric", which was a large cored clay block equivalent to the Hazard Products' "Hazard-Bloc" concrete block. Mission Valley bricks were used throughout San Diego County from 1956 to 1980s. In 1966, their red ruffled brick was used at the Cabrillo Interpretative Center and provide an example shown below. By 1971, they were the sole producers of brick in San Diego County. By 1981, the company was mining clay from the Sorrento Pit in Soledad Canyon, 5 miles southeast of Del Mar. The brick company closed during the 1980s. In 1986, the site of the plant has been developed over by Hazard Shopping Center and other commerical buildings.

Mission Valley Brick

Mission Valley Ruffled Brick

Mission Valley ruffled brick is orange and mostly uniform in color. One side and one or both ends are smooth. The side or end showing the ruffled texture have fine transverse evenly spaced grooved. The faces display curved wire-cut marks as short grooves and pits. This brick had no brand markings. The interior clay body consists of 20 percent subround white clay or shale in a fine orange clay body. This brick was made by the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire-cut on the face.

Mission Valley ruffied brick
View of the side of a Mission Valley ruffled brick.

Mission Valley ruffled brick
View of the wire-cut face of the Mission Valley ruffled brick.

Mission Valley Commemorative Brick

Mission Valley Brick Company, a subsidiary of the R.E. Hazard Contracting Company, made a commemorative 50th Anniversary brick for its parent company, which was founded by Roscoe E. Hazard in 1926. Mission Valley Brick Company did not usually mark their brick and so we are fortunate to have one to display here. The brick is marked on one side and one face. The side shows the name "R.E. HAZARD" on the first line and "CONTR. CO." on the second line. The face shows "1926" on the upper left, "50TH" in the center, and "1976" on the lower right. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded, and wire-cut on the face.

marked side of the Hazard commemorative brick
View of the marked side of the Hazard commemorative brick. Photo courtesy of George L. Kennedy.

marked face of the Hazard commemorative brick
View of the marked face of the Hazard commemorative brick. Photo courtesy of George L. Kennedy.

References

California Division of Mines and Geology, Part 1 - Names and Addresses of Operators By Commodity, Special Publication 43, 1971, p. 5.

Kennedy, George L., pers. comm., 2014.

Kinchen, David M., San Diego Project Under Way Former Brickyard to Become Commercial Center, Los Angeles Times, July 20, 1986.

San Diego City Directory, 1959.

San Diego Union, December 9, 1955.

Weber, F. Harold, Jr., Geology and mineral resources of San Diego County, California, California Division of Mines and Geology County Report 3.

Copyright 2010 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.