California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Union Brick and Tile Company, Santa Monica

Part of an advertisement of the Union Brick and Tile Company.
Part of an advertisement of the Union Brick and Tile Company. From the Santa Monica Outlook, 1908.

History


In March 1908, the Union Brick and Tile Company was incorporated in Los Angeles with a capital stock of $200,000. The officers of the company were Jakob Beck as president, T.J. Griffin as vice-president and general manager, H.B. Stafford as secretary, and they along with C.H. Bennett and C.C. Harris were also the directors. Several of these men were experienced in the brick business. Beck was president of the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Company, Griffin was manager of the Hamburger Brick Company in Los Angeles, and Bennett was secretary of the Corona Brick Company. Stafford was a capitalist and Harris owned Harris Oil Company.

In May 1908, the brick company purchased 20 acres of land on Cambridge Street in Santa Monica from landowner H.T. Meloy for the new brick plant. This was known as the Farm Tract and it was near the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Los Angeles-Pacific Electric Railway, which ran a spur connection to the brickyard in July 1908. Machinery was ordered from the East and construction on the plant commenced. The company solicited the help of the Board of Trade to help promote the new brick company and sell stocks. Advertisements were placed in the Santa Monica Outlook.

In August 1908, the building of the brickyard was completed and the first kiln of 5,000 bricks was fired using crude oil. There was one round kiln. The plant output was 50,000 bricks per day with 50 workers. The bricks were mainly building and vitrified paving bricks. Building bricks sold for $6.00 per thousand and vitrified paving bricks for $22.00 per thousand. The clay on the property was reported to be of vitrified quality and drilling indicated that the clay deposit was at least 168 feet in depth. This was the same clay deposit that was used by the adjacent Los Angeles Pressed Brick Company, which was making vitrified paving bricks.

Orders for Union brick began to come in as early as July 1908, for 3 million bricks. In September, the company got the contract to furnish 250,000 brick for Washington School in Ocean Park. Probably all of the bricks from this brickyard was consumed locally in the Santa Monica area. The total production of bricks was probably not more than 5 million.

The Union Brick Company ran into financial difficulties in November 1908, when it was several thousand dollars in debt and the creditors filed a petition to have the Court declare the company bankrupt. A restraining order was issued to prevent the disposal of any bricks remaining at the brickyard. In 1910, foreclosure proceedings were made against the brick company by H.T. Meloy for a judgment of $14,440. The property was auctioned to recover the judgment amount in a Sheriff's Sale on November 11, 1910.

Union Brick and Tile Company Brick

Building Brick

Union building brick is orange-red and mostly uniform in color. The surface has a fine coat of quartz sand. The edges are straight and dull. The corners are dull. The top face is rough and highly pitted with a longitudinal strike. The bottom face is flat and even. The marked bottom face contains a rectangular frog with beveled sides that is 6 inches in length, 2 inches in width, and 1/4 inch in depth. Centered in the bottom of the frog is the company abbreviations in raised block letters that span 3 1/2 inches in length and stand 1 1/8 inches in height. The lower case "o" is 1 inch in height. The letters are 3/32 inch thick. The interior contains about 3 percent subangular white quartz, subangular granite, mica, and specks of iron oxide, ranging up to 3/4 inch in diameter, in a porous, orange-red, sandy-clay body. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. Length 8 1/4, width 3 7/8, height 2 3/8 inches.

View of the marked face of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick.
View of the marked face of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick. Donated by Elizabeth Thrower.

View of the side of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick.
View of the side of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick. White material is remnant mortar.

View of the rough top face of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick.
View of the rough top face of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick. White material is remnant mortar.

View of the interior of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick.
View of the interior of the Union Brick and Tile Company common brick.

Microscopic view of the interior of the Union Brick and 
Tile Company common brick
Microscopic view of the interior of the Union Brick and
Tile Company common brick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).

References

Against Union Brick Company, Santa Monica Outlook, November 23, 1908.

Another Brick Plant Coming, Santa Monica Outlook, May 4, 1908.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 29, no. 1, 1908, p. 334.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 29, no. 3, 1908, p. 416.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 29, no. 5, 1908, p. 501.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 29, no. 6, 1908, p. 541.

Brick Paving On the Coast, Brick and Clay Record, v. 29, no. 4, 1908, p. 450.

Brick Plant People Are Selling Stock, Santa Monica Outlook, May 29, 1908.

Brick Plant Is Ready For Work, Santa Monica Outlook, August 10, 1908.

First Kiln of Brick Burned, Santa Monica Outlook, September 23, 1908.

Machinery Here For U. B. & T. CO., Santa Monica Outlook, July 11, 1908.

Sanborn Map Company, Santa Monica, Cal., April 1909.

Sheriff's Sale No. 64710, Santa Monica Outlook, November 10, 1910.

Union Brick & Tile Co., Santa Monica Outlook, Jul 1, 1908.

Union Brick Co. Ready For Market, Santa Monica Outlook, August 29, 1908.

Will Rush Work On Brick Plant, Santa Monica Outlook, May 16, 1908.


Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.