California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Sacramento Sandstone Brick Company

Advertisement of the sand-lime brick of the Sacramento 
Sandstone Brick Company. From Sacramento Union, 1911.
Advertisement of the sand-lime brick of the Sacramento
Sandstone Brick Company. From Sacramento Union, 1911.


History


This company began as the Monterey Brick and Stone Company in 1905 at Seaside, California, where they manufactured sand-lime bricks shipped throughout the state. In October 1910, the company moved to Sacramento because of the city's favorable future. The plant was built on the east bank of the Sacramento River, just north of the Southern Pacific Railroad shops in Sacramento. The company changed its name to the Sacramento Sandstone Brick Company.

The officers of the company in 1911 were A. G. Metz, president, R. M. Beebe, vice-president, A. M. Marks, secretary, and D. W. Carmichael, treasurer. The manager was G. W. Bostwick, who was formerly a manager for the U. S. Brick Corporation at Michigan City, Indiana. Bostwick designed and constructed the Sacramento plant.

This company produced light gray and buff sand-lime bricks and fancy mold brick for trimmings. Sand and crushed lime rather than clay were the ingredients in these bricks. Other colors available included pink, yellow, red, and green bricks. The sand-lime bricks showed remarkable results in tests for crushing strength, fire, frost, etc. This brick had a crushing strength of 45,000 lbs. per square inch, and able to withstand temperatures up to 3,300 degrees F. Besides brick, the company manufactured architectural stone for trimmings such as window and door sills, caps, arches, water-table, coping, etc. The stone work was a reproduction of the famous oolitic limestone of Southern Indiana.

Sacramento Sandstone Brick Co. brickyard
View of the plant of the Sacramento Sandstone Brick
Company, Sacramento. From Brick and Clay, 1911.


Production began in April 1911, when the company was manufacturing 15,000 brick per day. These bricks were first used in the buildings at the plant. Later shipments went into building the Mikle Theater, Traveler's Hotel, and Hotel Sutter in Sacramento, the Pullman Car Shops in Richmond, San Leandro High School in San Leandro, Hotel Hughson and Hotel Modesto in Modesto, First Methodist Church in Oakland, and many other buildings.

View of the plant of the Sacramento Sandstone Brick Company, Sacramento. From Sacramento Union, 1912.
View of the plant of the Sacramento Sandstone Brick Company, Sacramento. From Sacramento Union, 1912.


Fine sand was mined from the bed of the Sacramento River. Lime was crushed and raised by a small bucket elevator to a pulverizer. The lime was then measured and dumped into a large revolving mixer with the proper proportion of sand. The two materials were mixed and subjected to jets of steam for about 20 minutes. The mixture was run through a Quaker brick machine and the green bricks were piled on cars which were run into brick cylinders. These cylinders held 9,000 bricks each and in them the bricks were subjected to steam for 9 or 10 hours. The finished bricks were piled in sheds for shipment. The plant had a capacity of 12,000 bricks per day. Crude oil stored in 20,000 gallon tanks, was used as fuel for generating steam in a 60 h. p. boiler. Water was raised by a 3 h. p. electric motor from a 50-foot well and stored in a 20,000 gallon tank.

In 1915, this plant was purchased by the Independent Pressed Brick Company.

Sacramento Sandstone Brick

Sand-lime face brick is light gray, uniform in color. Visible clasts are only a few white quartz up to 1/4 inch across in a fine cement-like sand body. The sand on weathered surfaces is loose enough to rub off and some surfaces may be pitted or hummocky. No distinguishing marks are visible on the sides and ends. The top and bottom faces could not be observed for description. However, a sample of a similar brick shows no marks on the faces and one of the faces has a shallow rectangular frog. Length 8 1/8, width 4, height 2 1/4 inches.

Pullman Car Shop in Richmond
One of the remaining buildings of the Pullman Car Shop in Richmond, CA,
made of light gray Sacramento sand-lime bricks.

Sacramento Sandstone Brick Co. sand-lime brick
Sacramento sand-lime brick in the wall of one of the Pullman Car Shops.

View of the frogged face of the Sacramento sand-lime brick.
View of the frogged face of the Sacramento sand-lime brick.

View of a ornamental shaped Sacramento sand-lime brick.
View of a ornamental shaped Sacramento sand-lime brick.


References

Architect and Engineer, Dec. 1913, p. 127.

Architect and Engineer, Dec. 1915, p. 113.

Architect and Engineer, June 1913, p. 30.

Architect and Engineer, Oct. 1913, p. 85.

Architect and Engineer, Sept. 1913, p. 126.

Brick and Clay, 1911, v. 38, no. 1, p. 74.

Brick and Clay, 1911, v. 38, no. 4, p. 261.

Brick and Clay, 1911, v. 39, no. 11, p. 428.

Brick and Clay, 1912, v. 40, no. 3, p. 149.

Chemist Perfects Real Green Brick, Sacramento Union, June 17, 1913.

Clayworker, 16 December 1905, p. 36.

New Pacific, Gas and Electric Power Plant and the Sacramento Brick Company Building, Sacramento Union, June 16, 1912.

Sacramento Union, February 26, 1911, advertisement.

Tucker, W.B., and Waring, Clarence A., The Counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yuba, California State Mining Bureau 15th Report of the State Mineralogist, part 3, 1916, p. 267-459.

Copyright 2005 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.