Mulford-Burke Brick Company
Mulford Vitrified Brick Company
On November 30, 1909, the Mulford-Burke Brick Company was organized with a capital stock of $100,000,
by James K. Burke, E. A. Emmons, David L. Burke, H. H. Grossmayer, S. T. Burke, and W. A. Burke. J. K. Burke
was president, D. L. Burke was vice-president, E. A. Emmons was secretary, and H. H. Grossmayer was treasurer.
The company office was located at 507-508 Stimson Building, 458 South Spring Street in Los Angeles.
William L. Mulford, born in Illinois in 1863, was an experienced brickmaker and plant superintendent. He
had previously established the Los Angeles Paving Brick Company on Whittier Boulevard to the north. In 1909,
he left the former company to start a new vitrified brickyard with the Burkes.
A vitrifying clay deposit was discovered on 14 acres of land just west of Rio Hondo along the south
side of the Sante Fe railroad at Montebello. The clay was described as being of volcanic origin and very fine
for making dense vitrified brick. Deposits for making vitrified brick are quite rare in California. This clay
deposit had an average depth of 54 feet.
The plant had a capacity of 18,000 brick per day. The clay was conveyed from the pit to the plant and converted
into bricks by machinery. The bricks were extruded and wire-cut into thick bricks. Each brick was put in the
repress machine to imprint the name and lugs on the face. The name "MULFORD BURKE BRICK Co" is recessed and is
accompanied by arrowhead-shaped lugs in the upper right and lower left corners. The arrowhead lugs were
trademarks for Mulford bricks.
The bricks were dried in seven drying rooms, each being 130 feet long and constructed of concrete. The bricks
were fired to a temperature of 2,200 degrees F in six kilns. The fired paving bricks were so hard and dense that
they weighed 9.25 pounds each. Bricks were loaded from the kilns to cars with a Matthews gravity brick conveyor.
In November 1911, Mulford took over the interests of his partners and changed the name of the company to the
Mulford Vitrified Brick Company. William Mulford was president and general manager, Thomas J. Darmody was vice-president,
Harry E. Mulford was secretary, and Alice A. Mulford was treasurer. Harry H. Mulford, J. H. Furlow, and R. T. Thomas
were board officers. The company office was located at 129 West Third Street and, in 1912, at 253 South Broadway in
When the Mulford-Burke yard first opened, there was some demand for paving brick in downtown Los Angeles for use in
paving gutters, streets, and street railroad lines. However, paving brick was soon replaced by asphalt, which became the
paving material of choice. Mulford turned to manufacturing sand-molded building brick sporting the name
MULFORD in bold raised letters inside a rectangular frog. This plant was closed in 1916.
In 1916, William Mulford became the plant superintendent for the Metallic Brick Company in Los Angeles.
That year also the Mulford plant was leased to the Montebello Brick Company. In 1920, the Simons Brick Company purchased
the Montebello plant, tore down the old buildings, rebuilt new ones, and overhauled the machinery for the production of
hollow tile. After working at several other brickyards in the Los Angeles area, William Mulford died in Los Angeles on
February 8, 1959.
Vitrified Paving Brick
Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick is dark red, uniform in color. It has a smooth surface from being extruded and
displays curved wire cut grooves with a slight velour texture on its faces. The sides and ends
have longitudinal cracks, and stack indentations on the sides. The edges are rounded with
press marks. On the surface and in the interior are minor white subrounded quartz and feldspar
up to 1/4 inch across. The brand name on the bottom face is on three lines as recessed block
letters 11/16 inch high, except for the little "o", which is 1/2 inch high. The first line
contains MULFORD, which spans 5 inches. On the second line is BURKE, which spans 3 1/2 inches.
On the third line is BRICK Co, which spans 5 inches. In the upper right and lower left corners
are inverted raised arrowheads, 1 3/8 inches high and 1 1/4 inches wide. The brick is heavy,
weighing 9 pounds. This brick was made from 1910 to 1911 using the extruded, stiff-mud process, repressed.
Length 8 3/4, width 4 1/4, height 3 3/8 inches.
Bottom face of the Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick showing the brand
name with a pair of arrowheads. Donated by Roy N. Anaclerio, Jr.
Side of the Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick. Donated by Roy N. Anaclerio, Jr.
Top face of the Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick. Donated by Roy N. Anaclerio, Jr.
End of the Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick.
Interior of the Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick.
The Mulford Vitrified Brick Company paving brick has the same description given above except for the markings on the face.
The name of the company is impressed in block-style recessed letters between two arrowhead-shaped lugs. On the first line is
MULFORD. On the second line is VITRIFIED in slightly smaller letters. On the third line is BRICK CO. The arrowheads are raised
and inverted. No dimensions are available for this brick. This brick was made in the period of from 1911 to 1916.
Bottom face of the Mulford-Burke vitrified paving brick showing the
brand name with a pair of arrowheads. Photo courtesy of Ron Rose.
Common brick is dark red and uniform in color. It is a sand molded brick with some mica flakes in the
sand coating. The edges are irregular and the corners rounded. Sides display stack indentations and minor
white subrounded quartz and feldspar and red clay lumps up to 1/4 inch across. Top face is pitted with
longitudinal strike marks, with no indication of a lip. Bottom face has a beveled rectangular frog 1/4 inch deep,
which measures 6 1/2 inches long and 1 7/8 inches high. In the center of the frog is the MULFORD brand
name in raised block letters, which span 5 3/4 inches and is 1 inch high. The brand name is difficult
to see. This brick was made using the sand molded, soft-mud process. Length 8 3/4, width 3 7/8, height 2 3/8 inches.
Bottom face of the Mulford common brick with the brand name in a deep frog. Donated by David Garcia.
Top face of the Mulford common brick with its pitted surface.
Side view of the Mulford common brick.
End view of the Mulford commmon brick.
Big Brick Company Locates New Plant,
Los Angeles Herald, August 14, 1910.
Copyright © 2006 Dan Mosier
Brick and Clay Record, v. 40, no. 8, 1912, p. 380.
Brick and Clay Record, v. 42, no. 11, 1913, p. 987.
Brick and Clay Record, v. 49, no. 12, 1916, p. 1110.
Brick and Clay Record, v. 56, no. 8, 1920, p. 747.
Los Angeles City Directories, 1911-1916.
New Incorporations, Los Angeles Herald, December 1, 1909.
Personal Notes and Business Factors, Southwest Contractor, v. 16, 1915, p. 10.