Posted 5 years ago
This brick was given to me by a fellow bottle collector in my city.
The earliest either myself or another member here (we both do historical research, in two different ways) can find The E. B. & T. Co. is 1891 as a business, but its founder, Charles L. Emens, received a patent in 1887 for a "granulating and feeding device". Our research turned up all the same things.
The Emens Brick & Tile Company of Holton, Michigan, (Muskegon) was around till a slight name-change in 1896 or 1897 (Emmons E.L. Brick & Tile Mfr.)
By 1900, it's the Holton Brick Company.
By WW1, after Mr. Emens' death, it's the Muskegon Brick & Tile Company.
As far as we know, neither Holton Brick Co. nor Muskegon Brick & Tile Co. marked their bricks. I have nearly identical bricks to this, without the debossing, found all over the forests and lakes here. I assume them to be from the last two manifestations of Emens' company.
Previous to these companies, a brick maker from a different part of the county was present in 1882. No other brick-makers are known. None of his bricks are known, either.
On April 20th, 1909, Holton Brick Company suffered a severe loss of capital when a wind-storm destroyed all of its sheds and ripped the roof off its main building. Damages in excess of 10,000 USD at the time. It couldn't have caused them too much harm, though, as 3,000,000 bricks were manufactured the following year, with plans to double production for 1912.
Circa 1925, with production of 20,000 bricks per day, "the Muskegon Brick Company [of] ... Holton ... on the P. M. R. R.* in the SE¼ of Section 14, T. 12 N., R. 15 W. The clay deposit covers about 50 acres to a depth of 12 to 14 feet. The upper 12-18 inches of the deposit burn red (sample 44). Under this the main body of clay is composed of about six feet of varying red and blue clay, and about six feet of blue clay. Both of these lower layers, (sample 43) burn to a nearly white brick. Some sand pockets are found in the deposit. This sand is mixed with the clay at the pit, to temper the clay and reduce its shrinkage. A few lime pebbles are occasionally encountered, but not enough to cause trouble or loss. The plant is operated and one-third owned by Mr. Van der Heyden of Holton. Messrs. Buck and Mullen of Muskegon Building Materials Company each have one-third interest. The clay is dug by means of a scoop drawn by a kerosene tractor. The tractor draws the two wheeled scoop up the inclined face of the bank, circles around, and draws the lowered scoop down the face of the pit. The loaded scoop is then drawn up on a loading platform. The clay is dumped directly into a wagon which carries the clay to the plant. The equipment is driven by steam power and consists of a horizontal pug mill, a vertical pug mill mounted on an auger machine extruding through a twin die. The bricks are air dried under canvas for ten days, and burned in coal fired scove kilns using forced draft. The product is a first class cream brick, sometimes stained red by the action of the flames. The capacity of the plant is limited to about 20,000 brick a day by the drying yard. The annual production is about 2,000,000 bricks. "
*Pere Marquette Railroad.
While cycling one day, I crossed the same rail-line the company was on, and I noticed what was left of some old structures I thought were railroad related. Not wishing to drag a vintage bike down rough rails, I passed it up for another day. Meowman found a plat map with the brick company's location in 1900, which happens to be the same spot I had seen months ago. Physical investigation is necessary.
I used Sulphuric Acid to remove some old cement, then clear-coated it. It is now on display as a nice gift and as a piece of my county's history. I can now tell Frank all the information he could desire, as no-one in this century knew anything on this brick.