California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company

Los Angeles Water and Sewer Pipe Company

Southern California Water and Sewer Pipe Manufacturing Company

Pacific Clay Manufacturing Co. advertisement
Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company advertisement, from the Los Angeles Herald, August 27, 1889.

History


This history begins with the Los Angeles Water and Sewer Pipe Company, which was incorporated on May 17, 1887 in Los Angeles. The capital stock was $25,000 divided into 250 shares. The office was at 101 North Main Street in Los Angeles. The directors were B.F. Carter of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; George B. Baldwin of Kenosha, Wisconsin; L.S. Porter of Pasadena; E.G. Durant of Pasadena, and H.T. Cooley of Los Angeles. The intent of the company was to perform any work in which cement, lime, clay, stone and other materials of similar character were used, either alone or in combination with other materials, as gravel, asbestos, asphaltum, and ochre, and also the mining, preparation and sale of any materials and products, together with coal or other fuels needed or used in their manufacture. This company located property for a large manufacturing plant in South Riverside (now called Corona) in Riverside County, California. The property was located on the north side of Railroad Avenue about 1 miles west of town. They were planning to utilize the newly discovered deposits of clay and lime in Temescal Canyon near Corona and a gravel deposit on the Arroyo Seco south of Los Angeles.

Edward G. Durant was the driving force behind this company. He was born in Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, in 1833. He married Carolin H. Darling in 1863 at Burlington, Wisconsin, and they raised three children. He was superintendent of a cutlry works in Northampton, Massachusetts. Then he went to Racine, Wisconsin, where he managed a hardware store. He went to Los Angeles about 1887 and became one of the founders of the Los Angeles Water and Sewer Pipe Company. In 1889, he was elected president of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company. Among his many inventions were issued patents in 1895 for tile casings for windows and doors, in 1897 for hollow block and hollow block machine, and in 1903 for a flask for molding building blocks. He died on September 24, 1914 in Pasadena at the age of 81 years.

hollow block
Hollow block invented by Edward G. Durant. Durant, 1897.

building block
Building block invented by Edward G. Durant. Durant, 1903.

In June 1888, machinery for the new terra cotta plant at Corona was purchased and plant construction began in July. C.B. Hewitt was the general manager. Manager Hewitt wrote that the company was planning to manufacture hollow firing proofing partition walls for fire-proof buildings, firebrick, terra cotta goods of all kinds, and terra cotta lumber, which can be used for ceilings and inside lining of brick walls and was porous enough for nails to hold woodwork. The plant was to be the largest manufacturing concern in Southern California. The company spent $50,000 in building the plant, which consisted of crushers, pug mills, pipe and brick pressing machines, a large drier, and eight round, downdraft kilns fired by oil. At their property in East Los Angeles, the company built a large stone crushing plant, which produced concrete water pipes for irrigation, and egg-shaped and oval concrete sewer pipes for large drain sewers.

On September 11, 1888, the Los Angeles Water and Sewer Pipe Company filed a notice to increase its capital stock to $100,000, and to change its name to the Southern California Water and Sewer Pipe Manufacturing Company. Five miles from Corona in the Temescal Mountains, a large deposit of gypsum and phosphate was discovered and purchased by this company. The gypsum was reported to be good for the manufacture of plaster-of-paris and the phosphate for fertilizer, which could be delivered to Los Angeles at $18 per ton. Plans were to produce these products at the terra cotta plant and eventually build new plants for their production. However, the short-lived name of Southern California Water and Sewer Pipe Manufacturing Company was to be changed again when the stockholders wanted to increase the capital stock.

On April 2, 1889, the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company was incorporated as successors to the Southern California Water and Sewer Pipe Manufacturing Company, with a capital stock of $250,000. The officers were E.G. Durant, president; L.S. Porter, vice-president; W.A. Bingham, secretary and treasurer; and C.B. Hewitt, general superintendent. The office was moved to 113 South Fort Street and, by 1891, to 209 South Broadway in Los Angeles. The plant in Corona was to produce vitrified salt-glazed sewer pipe, water pipe, firebrick, all kinds of fire-clay products, calcined plaster, and land plaster. Their East Los Angeles plant was to produce cement water pipe and crushed rock. However, the increase in capital was not soon enough to save some of their properties in Los Angeles, which, on April 20, were foreclosed and the properties sold at a Sheriff's Sale to recover a default payment of $1,802.30.

Webster A. Bingham
Webster A. Bingham, was the first secretary and treasurer of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company. In 1892, he was elected president and general manager of the company and held those positions until his death on February 13, 1902, at the age of about 58 years. He was a native of Illinois. He served with the First Wisconsin cavalry for three years. He had large business interests in West De Pere, Wisconsin. His wife's name was Fannie H., married in 1870, and they had three children. He went to Los Angeles about 1887 and found employment with the present company.

Some of the clay was mined from a large pit about 8 miles southeast of Corona. White plastic clay, 15 to 25 feet thick, rest on red mottled clay, which in places contained high concentrations of quartz sand. These clays were used for making clay pipes, firebrick, and hollow tile block. The clay was loaded into wagons and transported to the plant.

The sewer pipe plant at Corona was completed and fired its first kiln of vitrified salt-glazed pipe during the last week of April 1889. By August, according to an advertisement, the terra cotta plant was producing chimney pipe and tops, firebrick, pressed brick, building blocks, drain tile, Durants Pat, ollas (oyers), fire clay, and crushed rock. A new type of building block adapted for Southern California homes was introduced in September 1889. These wares were displayed at the Los Angeles County Fair that year. In 1890, at the Sixth District Agricultural Association Fair, this company was awarded for the best water pipe, best display of pottery, and best display of pressed brick. In February 1901, locomotive block was mentioned as a product being fired in their kilns. The products were shipped out on the Pomona-Elsinore Railroad, which ran a line to the plant. The terra cotta plant employed 35 workers in 1890 and this was increased to 75 to 100 by 1891. The plant superintendent from 1902 to 1905 was M.W. Findley.

In May 1902, the company purchased a fire clay mine from J.H. McKnight located 3 miles southwest of Corona for $15,000. Here were mined in a tunnel highly refractive clays, including a black flint fire clay that was 20 feet thick, overlain by a blue refractory clay 10 feet thick, and that was overlain by a red plastic clay 20 feet thick. Most of this clay was used in the production of firebrick. In 1904, the company discovered a plastic flint clay deposit near Colton in the Santa Ana Mountains, where they own 60 acres. Following the discovery of a vitrified clay deposit at Newmark (Montebello), in July 1908, Manager J.R. Conrad reported that a new factory was erected there for better quality fire and paving brick. The Montebello plant and products will be discussed in detail under their yard listed in Los Angeles County.

The Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company became a major clay mining and clay products manufacturing firm. A major competitor was the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company, which was mainly a sewer pipe manufacturer based in Los Angeles. In early 1910, the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company acquired the properties of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company and closed all of the plants. The Corona plant, which became Plant No. 2 of the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company, was later reopened to manufacture the same products that were made before. See the Pacific Sewer Pipe Company for the continuation of the history of this yard.

Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company Brick

Firebrick

Firebrick is salmon and uniform in color. The surface is smooth with crackles, pits, and visible round brown iron-oxide blisters. The form is very good with straight and nearly sharp edges and corners. The faces are flat, even, and smooth and faintly display low-angled wire-cut marks. The marked face displays a rectangular name plate containing the name on three lines. The plate is 6 1/4 inches in length and 2 3/8 inches wide, and the top or bottom boundaries touch the letters. The first two lines are arcs, the third line is straight. The text is recessed and in serif style letters. The first line is PACIFIC, which spans 5 1/4 inches and stand 5/8 inch tall. The second line is CLAY, which spans 3 1/2 inches and stand 5/8 inch tall. The third line is M'F'G. CO., which spans 5 1/4 inches and stands 5/8 inch tall. The periods are round. To the left and right sides of the rectangular name plate outline are round screw imprints slightly raised and 1/2 inch in diameter, and these may be difficult to see. The interior is composed of about 8 percent white, translucent, subangular quartz and round black iron oxide, less than 1/2 inch in diameter, in coarse-granular, subrounded, grayish white clay. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process and re-pressed. Length 9 1/8, width 4 1/8, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the marked face of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick.
View of the marked face of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick.

View of the interior clay body of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick.
View of the interior clay body of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick.

Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).
Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the Pacific Clay
Manufacturing Company firebrick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).

Marked face of the PCMCO firebrick
View of the marked face of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company firebrick showing
the abbreviated version of the company name. Photo courtesy of George L. Kennedy.

Marked face of the Corona PCMCO firebrick
View of the marked face of the left bat of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing
Company firebrick in a different style. Photo courtesy of George L. Kennedy.

References

$20,000 For Industrial Lot, Los Angeles Herald, January 9, 1910.

A Home Industry, Los Angeles Herald, September 20, 1889.

A Pipe Factory, Los Angeles Herald, June 6, 1888.

A Year's Record, Los Angeles Herald, January 14, 1889.

Another New Enterprise, Los Angeles Herald, April 1, 1889.

Appendix To the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the Twenty-Ninth session of the Legislature of the State of California, Sixth District Agricultural Association, v. 8, Sacramento, California, 1891, p. 741.

Articles of Incorporation, Los Angeles Herald, May 18, 1887.

Aubrey, Lewis E., The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 38, 1906, p. 223-224.

Brick, v. 7, no. 5, 1897, p. 185.

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

Brick and Clay Record, v. 28, no. 3, 1908, p. 166.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 29, no. 1, 1908, p. 334.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 33, no. 4, 1910, p. 182.

Clay Deposits Sold, Los Angeles Herald, May 11, 1902.

Clay-Worker, v. 42, no. 1, 1904, p. 62.

Corona Notes, Los Angeles Herald, February 11, 1901.

Crawford, J.J., Structural Materials, California State Mining Bureau 13th Report of the State Mineralogist, 1896, p. 617.

Daviess, S.N., and Bramlette, M.N., The Alberhill and other clay deposits of Temescal Canyon, Riverside County, California, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 211, 1942.

Durant, Edward G., Flask for Moulding Building-Blocks or the Like, U.S. Patent Office, US 738423A, September 8, 1903, http://www.google.com/patents/US738423 (accessed May 29, 2014).

Durant, Edward G., Hollow Building-Block and Machine For Making Same, U.S. Patent Office, US 576260A, February 2, 1897, http://www.google.com/patents/US576260 (accessed May 29, 2014).

Edward Marshall Durant, Findagrave.com (accessed May 25, 2014).

Federal Census Records, 1900.

Fragments From Reports of Fairs, Pacific Rural Press, v. 38, no. 18, November 2, 1889.

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

Incorporation, Los Angeles Herald, April 3, 1889.

Los Angeles Examiner, Notables of the Southwest, Press Reference Library, Southwest Edition, Los Angeles, California, 1912.

Merrill, F.J.H., Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, California State Mining Bureau 15th Report of the State Mineralogist, part 4, 1917, p. 461-589.

New Odd Fellows' Hall, Los Angeles Herald, April 5, 1902.

News Notes, Los Angeles Herald, September 12, 1888.

News Notes of Corona, Los Angeles Herald, October 8, 1905.

Notice of Foreclosure Sale, Los Angeles Herald, April 29, 1889.

Notice to Building Contractors, Los Angeles Herald, June 23, 1888.

Of Interest To People of the Pacific Coast, San Francisco Call, September 9, 1903.

Pacific Clay Manufacturing Co., Los Angeles Herald, August 27, 1889.

Personals, Los Angeles Herald, September 12, 1888.

Pomona-Elsinore, Los Angeles Herald, October 26, 1890.

Riverside Notes, Los Angeles Herald, May 8, 1889.

Seven New Sub-Stations, San Francisco Call, April 3, 1895.

South Riverside, Los Angeles Herald, April 10, 1889.

South Riverside, Cal., Los Angeles Herald, June 10, 1891.

The Queen Colony, Los Angeles Herald, October 14, 1889.

W.A. Bingham Dies of Diabetes, Los Angeles Herald, February 14, 1902.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.