California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Star Brick and Tile Company

Star Brick Company

History


In June 1930, the Star Brick and Tile Company was incorporated in Los Angeles, California, with a capital stock of $250,000, by Walenty Graniczny, John Graniczny, and Marion Graniczny, all of Los Angeles. It was also known as the Star Brick Company. The Granicznys established their brickyard at 17799 South Western Avenue in Moneta (now Torrance). Here they mined a silty alluvium that overlies Monterey shale. The brickyard consisted of a Caterpillar tractor, clay feed, pug mill, and a brick machine. Field kilns were used to fire the bricks. The yard employed 22 workers.

Advertisement from the Torrance City Directory, 1956.
Advertisement from the Torrance City Directory, 1956.


The Star Brick and Tile Company manufactured wire-cut common and ruffle brick, according to their advertisement. These bricks were shipped locally in the Torrance area starting in 1930 and ending by 1958. Production of bricks during that period was intermittent and controlled by local demand for bricks. The company's reports to the State Mineralogist and directories indicate that the yard was in operation from 1930 to 1935, 1939 to 1943, and 1956 to 1958. The bricks were used in facing homes, chimneys, porches, and walkways in Torrance and nearby cities.

Walenty Graniczny was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1875. In 1899, he married Victoria Raj at Staszuw, Poland. They had three children, John, who was born in Poland in 1903; Marion, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1908, and Helen, who was born in St. Louis in 1910. In 1903, they emigrated to New York and went to St. Louis, Missouri, where Walenty found employment as a tool maker with the Measuregraph Company. In August 1920, they moved to Los Angeles, California. Their surname was changed to Granicy. After the brickyard closed, Walenty moved to Whittier, where he died in 1961. His sons, John and Marion, moved to Lancaster in 1943 to establish a cattle ranch, but they reopened the brickyard for a couple of years in the late 1950s. According to Robin Granicy-Sergent, the yard was closed by Edison due to strict health codes.

Star Brick

Common brick is red and may be mottled with lighter and darker shades. The form is good, with nearly sharp edges and dull corners. The brick spalls easily and contains chipped edges and surfaces. The surface is smooth and displays small cracks. The sides display transverse grooves or striations and a few spots of conveyor imprints. The short edges are rounded when not broken. The faces display a strong velour texture at a slight angle in the transverse direction. White specks of shale and rounded iron spots are visible on the surface of the faces. Interior contains 5 to 8 percent rounded white shale and red brick fragments, both ranging up to 1/4 inch in diameter, in a compact, sandy red clay body. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process, extruded and wire-cut. Length 8 1/8, width 3 7/8, height 2 3/8 inches.

View of the side of the Star common brick.
View of the side of the Star common brick.

View of the ends of the Star common brick.
View of the ends of the Star common brick.

View of the faces of the Star common brick.
View of the faces of the Star common brick.

View of the interior clay body of the Star common brick.
View of the interior clay body of the Star common brick.

No Ruffle Brick is available for description.

References

5,000 Earn Million Each Month In Local Industry, Torrance Herald, April 22, 1937.

California Mineral Commodities For 1956, California Journal of Mines and Geology, v. 54, no. 1, 1958.

Certificate of Business Fictitious Firm Name, Torrance Herald, January 2, 1958.

Contractors Who Built Home Listed, Torrance Herald, March 4, 1937.

Declaration of Intention, 1918, Ancestry.com, 2015.

Draft Registration Card, 1918, Ancestry.com, 2015.

Federal Census Records, 1930.

Granicy-Sergent, Robin, written communications, 2006.

Notice of Sale of Stock In Bulk, Torrance Herald, August 26, 1941.

Petition for Naturalization, 1923, Ancestry.com, 2015.

Schneider/Bender Family Tree, Ancestry.com, 2015.

Star Brick and Tile Gets Charter, Brick and Clay Record, v. 76, no. 11, 1930, p. 718.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Mineral Producers For 1933, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 110, 1934.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Mineral Producers For 1935, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 112, 1937.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Mineral Producers For 1939, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 119, 1940.

Symons, Henry H., California Mineral Production and Directory of Producers For 1943, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 128, 1944.

Torrance City Directory, 1956.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.