Initially, the soft-mud process was used to make common brick marked with "S.M.B.Co." In 1923, the company ordered a Bonnot stiff-mud machine
with a lubricating side-cut die, which made bricks 8 5/8 inches long, 4 1/8 inches wide, and 4 inches high. In 1928, the plant consisted
of large buildings containing elevators and conveyors, a 60-h.p. 24-inch by 24-inch American disintegrator,
a 150-h.p. American auger machine, with a capacity of 75,000 brick per day, an American automatic brick cutter, a 40-h.p.
Fate-Root-Heath roofing-tile auger, with a capacity of 10,000 tile per day, and a hand-operated roofing-tile cutter. The plant
operated throughout the year with about 60 workers.
The clay products were dried in a hot-air tunnel drier, operated on a schedule of 36 hours. There were 10 up-draft field kilns
with permanent walls. Four of the kilns were used for firing bricks. Each kiln had a capacity of 500,000 brick. Five of the kilns
were used for firing roofing tile, with 15,000 capacity per kiln. One kiln with 1,000 square feet capacity was used for floor tile.
The bricks were water smoked for three days, fired for four days, and allowed to cool for three days. Drawing and setting required
about seven days. The finishing temperature at the end of the firing period was approximately cone 07 (1,787 degrees F). The tile
were water smoked for one day, fired for three days, and cooled in two days. One day was required for setting and drawing.
Numerous clay products were produced here, including common and wire-cut brick, hollow tile, roofing tile, floor tile, wall tile,
and sewer pipe. Their advertisements mentions their Red Brick, Rough Mat Face, Cardinal Smooth Face, and Common Builders brick.
Their Rough Texture Face Brick came in shades of reds, browns, purples, and greens. Handmade Mission roofing tile were also made and air-dried.
Wall tiles of different sizes were made in plain and
elaborate designs (see below for examples found by archaeologists at the brickyard site). Many of the products were marked with the
company name either in full or abbreviated. These products were shipped out by rail or trucks and used throughout Los Angeles County.
Examples of the red rug and common bricks can be seen in the Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall building at 1627 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. This two-story building built in 1925 has side walls made of Santa Monica common brick and the front is faced with red rug brick. The roofing tile may also be a product of the Santa Monica Brick Company, but that could not be verified.
In 1930, the Santa Monica Brick Company was merged with two other brick companies, Western Brick Company at Long Beach and California
Brick and Tile Company at Van Nuys, to form the Consolidated Brick and Tile Company, Ltd., based at 816 West 5th Street in Los Angeles.
This merger forced the closing of the brickyards at Long Beach and Van Nuys, leaving only the Santa Monica brickyard in operation, probably
because of the higher quality clay deposit. Although the Santa Monica Brick Company continued to operate its brickyard under its original name,
the products were branded starting in 1930 with "C.B.T.Co." to reflect the new company (see
Consolidated Brick and Tile Company).
About 1934, the Santa Monica brickyard was closed. The Santa Monica Brick Company was dissolved in the early 1940s.
The common brick is dark orange-red and mostly uniform in color. The coating of sand on the surface consists mostly of clear and orange-stained
subangular quartz, with minor brown iron oxide and black magnetite. The edges are sharp and straight with good form. The corners are dull.
The sides display stack indentations. The top face is rough and pitted and displays a longitudinal strike. The edges around the top face may
form a lip up to 3/8 inch in thickness. The bottom face contains a rectangular
frog with beveled sides and is 6 3/4 inches in length, 2 1/8 inches in width, and 3/16 inch in depth. Centered in the bottom of the frog are
the raised block letters of the company abbreviations S.M.B.Co, which span 6 inches and stand 1 1/4 inches. The lower case "o" stands 5/8 inch
in height and there is no ending period. The periods are round. The letters are 3/16 inch in thickness. The interior contains less than 2 percent
subangular granite and white quartz, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, in a compact, fine clay body. This brick was made using the soft-mud
process. Length 8 3/8 - 8 1/2, width 3 3/4 - 4, height 2 1/4 inches.
The wire-cut rug brick is uniformly orange-red or red. It has excellent form with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. One side is smooth and it may
display transverse drag marks or striations. One side and both ends contain the rug texture, which are widely and evenly spaced deep transverse
scoring. The scores are spaced about 1/2 inch apart, with 8 on the ends and 18 on the sides. The ridges have flat and smooth caps that
are as much as 1/4 inch wide. This score and ridge pattern is diagnostic for rug bricks made by the Santa Monica Brick Company. Faces contain
strong velour texture and steep curved grooves made by the wire-cut. No brand marking was found. The interior contains one percent subangular
white quartz less than 1/8 inch in diameter in a fine clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process.
Length 8 3/8, width 4, height 2 1/4 inches.
Below are examples of the tile made by the Santa Monica Brick Company.
Clay-Worker, v. 78, no. 4, 1922, p. 384.
Dietrich, Waldemar F., The Clay Resources and the Ceramic Industry of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 99, 1928, p. 118-119.
Higgins, Josh, written communications, 2012.
Los Angeles City Directories, 1927-1934.
Office of Historic Resources, SurveyLA, LA Historic Resources Survey, Venice Report, Los Angeles Department of City Planning, Los Angeles, 4/2/2015, preservation.lacity.org.
Santa Monica City Directories, 1923-1940.
Santa Monica Public Library, Santa Monica Image Archives.
Santa Monica Outlook, February 14, 1925.
Santa Monica Outlook, October 18, 1924.
Steege, Roy, written communications, 2008.
Stoll, G.C. ledgers, Western Claymachinery Sales, Inc., copied by Josh Higgins, 2012.
Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production For 1927, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 101, 1928, 311 p.
Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Mineral Producers For 1930, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 105, 1931, 231 p.
Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Mineral Producers For 1934, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 111, 1935, 334 p.
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