California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Standard Brick Company Inglewood Yard

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 Inglewood yard.

View of the Standard Brick Company yard at Inglewood.
View of the Standard Brick Company yard at Inglewood. From Zillgitt, 1924.

The Inglewood yard was underlain by clay loam with lenses of sand and fine gravel and underlain by coarse gravel. The plant had a dry pan crusher and Potts soft-mud brick machine. Drying sheds were used for air-drying the brick. The brick was fired in 4 field kilns using oil. The 5 round kilns on the property from a previous owner were not used. The plant capacity was 40,000 bricks per day. Common and sewer brick were manufactured. Paye 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 1934, the company announced a new brick, developed by Otto A. Steuer, in which they named it the "S.O.S." brick for "System of Safety," where a steel rod was embedded in a horizontal groove in the brick at every fourth course, and these were tied together with steel clamps to vertical tie rods, making the entire wall a solid mass. These bricks were first put into the Sunfax Mart, which was located at the southeast corner of Sunset and Fairfax boulevards in Los Angeles.

With declining demand for building bricks in the late 1930s, even the S.O.S. brick did not save the company, which was forced to close its Inglewood yard in 1936.

Standard Inglewood Brick


The Standard Inglewood common brick is orange-red and mostly uniform in color. The surface has a fine coat of quartz sand. The edges and corners are dull. The sides display irregular lumps or patches of clay and minor pits. The top face is very rough and highly pitted with deep holes and a longitudinal strike. The bottom face is flat and even with transverse grooves. The marked bottom face contains a rectangular frog with beveled sides that measures 7 3/16 in length, 1 7/8 in height, and 3/16 in depth. Centered in the bottom of the frog is the name STANDARD in raised block letters that span 6 1/2 inches and stand 1 1/16 inches in height. The interior contains about 5 percent subrounded white quartz and granite, specks of black iron oxide, all less than 1/4 inch in diameter, lumps of clay range up to 1/2 inch in diameter, in a porous, orange-red, sandy clay body. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. Length 8 5/8, width 4, height 2 1/4 inches.

View of the marked face of the Standard Inglewood common brick.
View of the marked face of the Standard Inglewood common brick. Donated by Ron Rose.

View of the rough top face of the Standard Inglewood common brick.
View of the rough top face of the Standard Inglewood common brick partly covered by white mortar.

View of the side of the Standard Inglewood common brick.
View of the side of the Standard Inglewood common brick.

View of the side of the Standard Inglewood common brick.
Microscopic view of the interior of the Standard Inglewood
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.

Inglewood City Directory, 1923-1924.

Inglewood City Directory, 1925.

Inglewood City Directory, 1927.

Inglewood City Directory, 1928.

Inglewood City Directory, 1929.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1936.

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 Design of Brick Evolved, Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1934, p. 15.

Zillgitt, Constance E., Men Who Made Inglewood, 1924.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.