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Standard Brick Company Boyle Heights Yard

Advertisement of the Standard Brick Company.
Advertisement of the Standard Brick Company. From Southwest Builder and Contractor, 1922.

History


In March 1902, the Standard Brick Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000. The first directors were Warren Gillehan, R.W. Kenny, H.W. Simons, John V. Simons, and Ralph Simons. Ralph G. Simons was president and H.W. Simons was secretary. The company office was located at 101 and 102 Stimson Building in Los Angeles. The Simon brothers were in charge of running the brickyards. The main yard was at Soto and Lugo streets in the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles, run by Ralph Simons, and the second yard was at 501 North Eucalyptus Street and the Pacific Electric Railway in Inglewood, which was run by John V. Simons. This article is about the Boyle Heights yard.

The Boyle Heights yard had 8 acres of clay loam, 15 to 18 feet thick underlain by sand. The clay was mined by steam shovel and dump wagons. The plant contained dry pan crusher and Potts soft-mud brick machine, powered by a 30-horsepower engine and boiler. The bricks were air-dried 3 to 4 days in drying sheds. Firing was done using 3 to 4 gas-fired field kilns for 5.5 days. This plant had the capacity to make 36,000 bricks per day with 35 workers. Common, sewer, and repressed brick were manufactured. Welldon was the yard foreman in 1927.

In an effort to compete in the Los Angeles brick market, the company in 1902, announced a cut in the price of its common brick from $6 and $7 per thousand to $5.50 and $6.50 per thousand. The company claimed that the price cut was to offset the increase in the price of labor in the building trades. Standard bricks were used in the Los Angeles region. In 1907, they won the contract to supply brick for the Los Angeles water pumping station. With declining demand for building bricks in the late 1930s, the company was forced to close its Boyle Heights yard in 1938.

Standard Boyle Heights Brick


Standard Boyle Heights common brick is pale red and mostly uniform in color. The surface is coated with white quartz and flashy mica. The edges undulate slightly and are nearly sharp and the corners are nearly sharp if not broken. The form is irregular and some may be bent. No lip is present on the top edge. Cracks may be present. The top face is rough and deeply pitted with no apparent strike direction. The bottom face contains a rectangular frog with beveled sides that measures 7 1/8 inches in length, 1 3/4 inches in width, and 3/16 inch in depth. Centered in the bottom of the frog is the name STANDARD in raised block letters that span 6 1/2 inches in length and 1 inch in height. The letters are 1/16 inch wide. The interior contains about 10 percent subangular, white quartz and granite, specks of black iron oxide, all less than 1/4 inch in diameter, in a compact, red, sandy clay body. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. A range in sizes was noted, but these bricks are slightly smaller than those made at the Inglewood yard. Length 8 1/4 - 8 1/2, width 3 3/4, height 2 1/4 - 2 3/8 inches.

View of the marked face of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.
View of the marked face of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.

View of the side of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.
View of the side of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.

View of the rough top face of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.
View of the rough top face of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.

View of the end of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.
View of the end of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.

View of the interior of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.
View of the interior of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick .

Microscopic view of the interior of the Standard Boyle Heights common brick.
Microscopic view of the interior of the Standard Boyle
Heights common brick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).

References

Aubrey, Lewis E., The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, California Mining Bureau Bulletin 38, p. 249.

Boalich, E.S., Castello, W.O., Huguenin, Emile, Logan, C.A., and Tucker, W.B., The Clay Industry In California, California State Mining Bureau Preliminary Report 7, 1920, p. 62.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 15, no. 5, 1902, p. 204.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 16, no. 4, 1902, p. 199.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 16, no. 5, 1902, p. 238.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 22, no. 2, 1905, p. 107.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 26, no. 4, 1907, p. 190.

Dietrich, Waldemar F., The Clay Resources and the Ceramic Industry of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 99, 1928, p. 120.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1938.

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.

Southwest Builder and Contractor, v. 59, no. 27, July 7, 1922, p. 47.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

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