Brick Company History: 1885 - The Beginning
The storied history of The Belden Brick Company
is one of American entrepreneurship, invention &
innovation and a family’s unyielding dedication
to excellence in the art of brick making.
company’s story officially begins in 1885 when
our founder, Henry S Belden organized
the Diebold Fire Brick Company on the Belden farm. Henry
was born in Canton, Ohio on July 4th, 1840, the son
of Judge G.W. Belden.
Henry became an attorney in the law firm of Belden
& McKinley, of which Judge G.W. Belden was the senior
partner. Incidentally, according to the biography of
William McKinley by Margaret Leech, she describes McKinley’s
visit to Canton in1867, armed with a letter of introduction
to Judge G.W. Belden, as the Belden law firm was well
known in legal circles. William McKinley was accepted
as a partner and then went on to become a US Congressman,
Governor of Ohio and was elected President of the United
States in 1896.
Henry S Belden also entered politics and was elected
Mayor of Canton. At the age of 32 a severe throat infection
forced him to move to the Belden farm with the hope
that the open air would improve his health, which it
eventually did. Now on the farm, Henry discovered large
deposits of coal, shale and clay. He built a small kiln
to study the effects of firing temperatures on clay
and shale. In 1874 he invented the Belden burner, made
of clay, which gave better light than any other type
then in use. He held a total of 13 patents for gasoline
vapor street lights. He secured a large number of contracts
for lighting cities and towns all across the United
In 1876 Henry went to the Centennial fair in
Philadelphia and there saw the original stiff mud brick
He became inspired to make paving and fire brick. Henry’s
paving brick was the first known use of paving brick
in the city of Canton. Brick pavements then spread quickly
throughout the county and state.
Brick Company History: 1895 - Reorganization & Investment Capital
August of 1895, stockholders of the Diebold Fire Brick
Company incorporated the Canton Pressed Brick Company
as the successor company to the Diebold Fire & Brick
Officers of the new company: Henry S. Belden, President;
C.J. Diebold, Vice President; James G. Barbour, Secretary/Treasurer;
S.J. Allen, Superintendent. The first annual meeting
of the Canton Pressed Brick Company was held in 1896.
Henry Belden worked hard to organize the company and
to equip their plant for the kind of brick that he knew
how to make. He was determined to hold on to what he
had. The Company’s affairs were not stable.
What the Canton Pressed Brick Company needed was fresh
capital to operate their plant. In 1904
when Paul Belden, Henry’s youngest son, heard
about his father’s financial troubles he immediately
returned to Canton. His friend, P.D. Hardy went along
to see if his own business experience might be helpful.
They arrived in Canton in 1904 and began to pick up
the ruins of the Canton Pressed Brick Company. Paul
Belden would clearly learn that the company needed operating
Pictured below from left to right
:: Top Row :: Henry Belden, L.B. Hartung,
Paul w. Hartung, Sr., Paul Belden, Sr., Paul Belden,
Jr., William H. Belden, Sr., Paul w. Hartung, Jr., Richard
Belden, Bottom Row :: John Belden, William
H. Belden, Jr., Robert f. Belden, Brian Belden, Robert
T. Belden, Bradley H. Belden, Julia Belden, and John Streb.
Brick Company History: 1909-1919 - Paul Belden Authorized to Obtain Funds
Paul Belden was authorized to obtain any capital needed
to operate the business. Paul Belden met with L. B.
Hartung, a well known plumbing contractor in Canton.
Mr. Belden was successful in persuading Mr. Hartung
to invest money in capital stock of the Canton Pressed
Brick Company. In 1909, L.B. Hartung became an important
shareholder owning about 30% of the capital stock.
Paul Belden was elected to the position of
General Manager in 1911 and from that time on, had a
free hand in running the company. He was known throughout
the brick industry for his accomplishments and received
One story has it that he was riding a train through
Perry County, Ohio. The train passed an abandoned brick
plant, and Paul noticed that the brick stored in the
yard was a very appealing shade of red. Paul contacted
the bank and found out the plant was in default of the
mortgage payment. He wanted the plant and obtained it
on very good terms. This eventually became the Somerset
Plant of the Belden Brick Company.
annual meeting of the Canton Pressed Brick Company in
1912 showed that Paul Belden had achieved
his goal of obtaining the badly needed capital for operations.
At the same meeting, due to P.D. Hardy’s failing
health, Henry Belden was once again elected President
of the Canton Pressed Brick Company. W.W. Irwin was
a well known Canton businessman, and the Board of Directors
believed that his election as an officer and director
would bring prestige to the Canton Pressed Brick Company.
The company filed a request with the Secretary of the
State of Ohio asking for permission to consolidate all
of their operations under a new name. A certificate
of consolidation was received on October 30, 1912 that
made it official. The company would now operate under
the name of The Belden Brick Company.
At the annual stockholders meeting in 1913,
W.W. Irwin was elected President, Henry Belden Vice
President, Paul Belden Secretary/General Manager and
P.W. Hartung Treasurer.
In 1915 the directors approved the building of two
new kilns and a new dryer at the Canton plant to handle
increased business. In 1916 the Company
had a good stock of finished brick on hand, which was
expected to be very profitable when the building season
opened up in the spring. Paul Belden then told the board
that every operation in their plants that could be done
by machinery should be done that way. The directors
backed his recommendation. At the annual meeting of
stockholders in 1918, Paul Belden described
some of the problems they were experiencing in trying
to operate their plants in wartime. Labor and material
for plant maintenance were expensive and almost impossible
to come by. Both the Canton and Somerset plants were
now closed down because the company could not get rail
cars for coal to burn brick or rail cars to ship brick.
Still, Paul remained optimistic. He believed that the
building era following the war would bring a staggering
demand for brick.
In 1918, the directors of The Belden Brick
Company realized there were financial problems at the
Belden Face Brick Company located at Port Washington.
The Belden Face Brick Company was a personal venture
of Henry Belden.
In July 1918, the directors of The Belden Brick Company
authorized the treasurer to loan Belden Face Brick Company
as much money as it needed, in exchange for bonds to
be held as collateral. Then in October 1919,
Belden Brick purchased stock in the Belden Face Brick
Company and by 1920 they held shares
in the amount of more than twice the money that they
had loaned Belden Face Brick. Now Belden Face Brick
again had a strong sales force for their product. The
Belden Brick Company now had a continuing source of
face brick on which they were paid a good commission.
They were also receiving a healthy return on their
stock investment. W.W. Irwin had been ill for some time
and retired as President. Once again, Henry Belden was
President of Belden Brick Company. His appointment was
short-lived. Henry Belden died on April 21, 1920 after
a brief illness. By late 1922 The Belden
Brick Company held a controlling interest in The Belden
Face Brick Company.
Brick Company History: 1920 - Modernization & the War Years
Henry’s death, W.W. Irwin sold all of his stock
in the company. This left two vacancies on the Board
of Directors. On July 28, 1920, L.B. Hartung was elected
President of the company and B.C. Holwick was made Vice
At the close of World War I, the Belden management
started an aggressive program to modernize their plants
for increased production. They now owned plants at Canton,
Somerset and Uhrichsville, Ohio. They also held the
controlling interest in Belden Face Brick Company at
Port Washington. With these four plants they hoped to
capture a good share of the postwar market for building
brick. As the company continued to expand its facilities,
production rose steadily.
Management still looked to broaden their product line.
Belden Floor Brick was one of the products they decided
to promote and it was very successful. Their most successful
product born of the depression was Belden Acid Proof
Brick. The shale at the Somerset plant was ideally suited
for making an acid proof brick of high quality and acid
brick soon became a favorite of the industry.
Belden Brick Corporate Office, Tuscarawas and High
Street Canton, Ohio 1922
Brick Company History: 1930 - Two New Subsidiary Companies
The year of 1930 was an important one for
The Belden Brick Company. In March 1930 The Belden-Stark
Brick Company of Detroit was incorporated as a joint
venture of The Belden Brick Company and Stark Ceramics
Inc. for the purpose of promoting and distributing Belden
Brick and Stark Ceramic products in the Detroit area.
This was followed in June 1930 by the incorporation
of The Belden-Stark Brick Corporation of New York to
do the same thing in the New York metropolitan area.
These two subsidiary companies were to play
a large part in the promotion of clay products and in
obtaining architectural specifications for The Belden
The sale of Acid proof brick was a lucrative business
venture, and the company was proud of its achievements.
It was a useful diversification during the depression
and an important factor in keeping Belden in operation
during World War II. The Belden Brick Company began
to come out of the depression about 1936. In 1936
The Belden Face Brick Company became the Port Washington
plant of The Belden Brick Company. By 1939, the economy
had shown signs of improvement due to the national defense
effort. During these years several personnel changes
occurred within the Belden Management. At a special
meeting in 1935, the Board of Directors elected Paul
Belden Sr., President and General Manager.
War broke out in Europe in September 1939.
Large orders for war material began to pour into U.S.
steel plants and other essential industries.
Building brick was not considered essential to the war
effort, and could not get priorities except on small
orders. Most plants operated at minimum levels or were
forced to shut down completely. Once again, The Belden
Brick Company benefited from their line of acid proof
brick and tile. Steel mills needed them for their pickling
lines and the government needed steel for the war. Unlike
stainless steel, acid proof clay didn’t require
valuable alloy needed for other war material. The few
brick companies making acid proof brick and tile got
priorities for these orders, with material and labor
It was not long before the War Production Board realized
that face brick actually were essential to the war effort.
Buildings had to be re-built. Wood was in short supply
and highly impractical to use. Supplies of sheet steel
were critical. The ban on brick sales was lifted, and
many priority-building permits were issued bringing
back the need for face brick. Belden Brick would more
than break even in spite of wartime restrictions on
Brick Company History: 1946 - The Finzer Acquisition & First Tunnel Kiln
year 1946 was an important year for
Belden Brick. At a meeting of the Board of Directors,
the following officers were elected: Paul B. Belden,
Sr., Chairman of the Board; Paul B. Belden, Jr., President;
P.W. Hartung, Sr., First Vice President in charge of
sales and service; and William H. Belden, Treasurer.
Paul Belden Sr.’s sons grew up with the brick
business. They could have no superior mentor to their
father. The continual growth of The Belden Brick Company
shows how well they learned their lessons. Paul Belden
had his plants back in operation by the end of 1946.
His goal was to re-establish the company as soon as
possible to gain the post-war market. At this critical
time in the Company’s history, once again opportunity
Now the war was over and the Finzers were faced with
a major rehabilitation job. Plant No. 2 needed extensive
repairs. Charles Finzer and Paul Belden were close friends.
In 1945, Charles Finzer met with Paul Belden to discuss
the possibility of Belden Brick taking over the Finzer
Brothers Company. The Finzers wanted their plants to
go to a reputable company that would have the best interests
of their employees and of the people of Sugarcreek at
heart. Charles and Ed Finzer knew The Belden Brick Company
was the ideal choice if the details could be worked
out. Paul Belden liked the idea and in May of 1946 Belden
took possession of the Finzer Brothers Clay Company.
The newly acquired Finzer Plant (No.2) had
two very high stacks, surrounded by 20 large beehive
kilns that were intended to cycle in rotation.
Theoretically, some kilns would be charging, some burning,
and others cooling at any particular time. This would
create maximum production with a minimum labor force.
One benefit in purchasing The Finzer Brothers Company
was a vein of coal, and large deposits of very good
clay. The coal seam supplied fuel for the kilns and
Finzer Brothers had also sold coal locally, a practice
that Belden continued for several years. By putting
these plants into operation as quickly as possible the
company began to see immediate results.
Brick Company History: 1958-1970 - New Generation of Management
the Belden management showed their confidence in their
company’s future by starting construction of a
new plant at Sugarcreek. It would be the largest plant
in the country for the production of face brick and
building tile. The plant went into operation in 1957.
It is now known as Plant 6. Paul Belden found Sugarcreek
to be a community of fair and cooperative people. The
supply of raw material was plentiful and of excellent
quality. Transportation facilities were good; in addition
to rail shipments there were two trucking companies
that served their plants. They had a good working force,
and the Company’s policies toward their employees
were well received by the community.
Following his graduation from Bowling Green State University in the spring of 1958, David L. Hartung, the younger son of Paul W. Hartung, Sr., was employed by The Belden Brick Company as a kiln foreman at the Canton Plant in Waco working under the direction of Bill Hallas, plant superintendent. In 1960, he moved into the headquarters office in Canton and began to assist in the customer service department where he posted inventory and spoke with customers regarding orders for Sugarcreek Plants 6 & 4.
Building upon the abundance of raw material and an
outstanding labor pool, Belden’s plant No. 8 went
into operation in May of 1968. It was
the largest brick plant ever built under one roof. Paul
Belden Senior died on February 13, 1970.
He had been Chairman of the Board of The Belden Brick
Company since 1946. In April 1970, the Board of Directors held an organizational
meeting. The directors elected the following officers:
Paul B. Belden, Jr., Chairman of the Board; William
H. Belden, Sr., President; and Paul W. Hartung Jr.,
Vice President. David Hartung was elected Assistant Secretary for the corporation and continued in that role until 1996 when he was elected as Corporate Secretary succeeding Bruce Strouse, who retired in January that year. In the customer service area, he became the Production and Service Manager for Sugarcreek Plant 6, a position he currently holds.
Dan and Richard were the two youngest sons
of Paul B. Belden Sr. In 1973 The Belden
Brick Company acquired the assets, properties and manufacturing
facilities of the Moomaw Brothers at Sugarcreek. The
Shepfer-Moomaw plant was designated as plant No. 9 by
Belden although they only had eight operating plants.
Canton plant No. 1, which was the original Belden plant
was closed down in June 1970.
Brick Company History: 1974 - Purchasing Stark Ceramic's Interests
In March of 1974 Belden Brick had purchased Stark’s
interest in the jointly owned Detroit Sales Office.
The company was also negotiating with Stebbins Manufacturing
the sale of the Urichsville Plant. Stebbins was the
major customer of that facility. In mid-1977, the Company
was approached by Stark Ceramics with regard to the
purchase of Stark’s equity in the Belden-Stark
Brick Corporation of New York.
In January, Fred Morrow retired after 55 years of service.
Bruce Strouse was elected Secretary of the Company shortly
after Mr. Morrow’s retirement. At the time, only
Paul B. Belden, Sr., served the Company longer than
Fred Morrow. In April, the Company purchased the old
Claycraft Plant plus 140 acres on the south side of
Route 39 on the east end of Sugarcreek.
The Board of Directors approved the construction of
a new plant featuring a deBoer B-11 brick machine capable
of producing 42 million standard brick equivalent annually
in a simulated handmade molded brick configuration.
This plant is now known as Plant 3.
On September 12, 1974,
The Belden Brick Company acquired the Strasburg Brick
Company of Strasburg, Ohio. Their principal product
was face brick in red and other colors. The Belden Brick
Company added a packaging machine and considered adding
another tunnel kiln if needed. Belden’s sales
organization and agents gave Strasburg’s products
a widening distribution.
In December of 1976, the following
directors comprised the board of Belden Brick: Paul
B. Belden, Jr., William H. Belden, Sr., Daniel M. Belden,
Richard F. Belden, Paul W. Hartung, Jr., and Burke B.
Wentz. Larry Myers, whose family had owned the Strasburg
Brick Company, was named Assistant General Superintendent
to Burke Wentz.
At the Annual Meeting in April, Paul B. Belden III
and William H. Belden, Jr., were elected to the Board
of Directors for the first time. They were the first
representatives of the fourth generation of the family
elected to the Board. In November, Ed Harter, Treasurer,
passed away. D.E. Engelbach was named Treasurer effective
November 24, 1979.
Brick Company History: 1980-1997
Paul B. Belden III leaves Belden Brick to buy Grand
Rapids Builders Supply Company. He remains on the Belden
Brick Board of Directors. Burke Wentz reported that
Empire Coal is interested in the 330 acres adjacent
to the Port Washington Plant. Empire has a long-term
coal lease with Belden Brick.
By the end of 1981, the Port Washington Plant had ceased
production and Empire remains an active prospect to
purchase the plant and its property. Belden Brick agrees
to guarantee the redemption of Belden-Stark Brick Corporation
shares owned by Stark Ceramics. Belden-Stark of New
York agreed to pay semi-annual installments plus accrued
interest over a four-year period to complete the buyout.
On October 16th, 1981, the last brick was manufactured
at the Port Washington Plant.
In June 1982, a letter of intent was signed by Stebbins
Manufacturing to purchase the Urichsville Plant along
with the inventory and supplies at cost.
In early 1983, the sale of the Port Washington Plant
and its land (nearly 400 acres) is completed with Empire
Coal with an agreement allowing the Company to liquidate
5 million brick equivalent of inventory. At the Annual
Shareholders Meeting in April, it was reported that
1982 was the worst year for housing starts since the
1930’s. The Company shipped less than half the
volume it had shipped in 1977 at the peak of the construction
cycle. In July 1983, William H. Belden, Jr., son of
William H. Belden, Sr. was named President and Robert
F. Belden, son of Richard F. Belden, was named Vice-President
of Marketing. Paul B. Belden, Jr., remained Chairman
of the Board and William H. Belden, Sr., was named Chairman
of the Executive Committee. David Hartung was elected a member
of the Board of Directors of The Belden Brick Company and
remains a director of the company today.
Burke Wentz announces his retirement effective 12/31/84.
When he retired Mr. Wentz completed 59 years of service
to The Belden Brick Company, second only to Paul B.
Belden, Sr. William H. Belden, Sr., says “When
I think of The Belden Brick Company I think of Burke
Wentz.” Mr. Wentz, a Board member, nominates Larry
Myers to be the VP-Production responsible for all manufacturing
1985. Marks the 100th Anniversary
of The Belden Brick Company.
In April, Howard Finzer retires after 44 years of service.
Howard is the last remaining direct link to the Finzer
Brothers Clay Products Company whose purchase brought
Belden Brick to Sugarcreek in 1946. In December 1985,
The Belden-Stark Brick Corporation of New York makes
it final payment to Stark Ceramics making it a “wholly-owned
subsidiary” of The Belden Brick Company.
On the day of the Annual Shareholders Meeting in 1988
(April 27th) Paul B. Belden, Jr., passed away. William
H. Belden Sr., is elected to replace his brother as
Chairman of the Board. At the June meeting of the Board
of Directors, Joseph G. Belden was elected to take his
father’s board seat.
In mid-1989, the Company was studying the possibility
of building a new plant and Belden Brick Sales in Detroit
was looking for a new office site.
In 1991, Belcap is formed as a “wholly owned subsidiary”
of the Company to invest in IDI of Brimfield, Ohio.
IDI is in the waste management business. In July, Joseph
G. Belden is named president of IDI. In the fall of
the year, the Mayor of Sugarcreek prematurely announces
that a new production facility will be built by Belden
Brick in the village. This proves to be extremely premature
as only very preliminary work is underway. Belden Brick
Sales in Detroit completes the purchase of the Suburban
Brick Company in Fraser, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.
They begin to move their operation to Fraser and sell
the Livernois Avenue property in Detroit in May of 1992.
On September 1, 1992, Paul W. Hartung, Jr., retires
from the Company following 42 years of service. Burke
Wentz dies on October 16, 1992 in Columbus, Ohio. The
Company is actively seeking a buyer for its interest
In late 1992, Jim Klein joined the Belden Brick Company as Vice
President of Administrative Services and was chosen to lead the
company’s efforts to develop and implement our Quality Management System.
William H. Belden, Sr., dies on March 6, 1993. At the
Annual Meeting in April, William H. Belden, Jr., is
elected Chairman of the Board and his brother, Thomas
G. Belden, is nominated to replace their father on the
Board of Directors.
1995. Fourth Generation of Management.
The 1995 Annual Shareholders Meeting saw the election
of Robert F. Belden as President, D.E. Engelbach, VP-Finance
and CFO, and William H. Belden, Jr., as Chairman and
CEO. A new plant in Sugarcreek was still being considered
and plans were made to develop the Sugarcreek Industrial
Park on Belden land on the eastern border of the village
just north of Route 39. At the end of 1995, Bruce Strouse,
Corporate Secretary, announced his intention to retire
in early January of 1996. David L. Hartung was named
to succeed Bruce as Corporate Secretary and is still in that role today.
1996 is an important year in the history of The Belden
Brick Company. Dan Belden, Sr., the third son of Paul
B. Belden Sr. and legal counsel for the Company passed
away. Paul W. Hartung, III, a partner in Putman Properties,
is engaged to promote the Swiss Village Business Park
(formerly Sugarcreek Industrial Park). The Belden Brick
Company reaches agreement with Redland PLC to purchase
Redland’s American brick business, Redland Brick,
Inc. The transaction was completed on September 30,
1996 and included the Cushwa Plant in Williamport, Maryland,
the Harmar Plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the
KF Plant outside Hartford, Connecticut. Redland Brick,
Inc. is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Belden
Brick and its management team is led by Jim Vinke. Late
in 1996, Richard F. Belden, Director of Purchasing,
retires after 55 years of service to the Company.
1997. Fifth Generation Joins
In 1997 at the Annual Meeting, Jim Vinke is introduced
to the Shareholders and Michael B. Belden is elected
to take his late father’s place on the Board of
Directors. Later that year, Jim Leahy joins the company
as a staff accountant and Brian Belden, son of William
H. Belden, Jr., joins the firm as Marketing Coordinator.
Brian is the first fifth-generation Belden to be employed
at the Company on a full-time basis. Proposals for a
potential new plant continue to be received. Most of
the major kiln manufacturers, Ceric, Swindell, Lingl
and Keller have made proposals.
1998 sees the contract for a new plant in Sugarcreek
(Plant 2), first announced by the Mayor seven years
earlier, awarded to Lingl, a German manufacturer. Hammond
Construction of Canton will be the General Contractor.
Plant 2 will be situated between Plants 4 & 8 in
Sugarcreek on currently owned Belden Brick property.
Jeff Adams is named IT Director for both Redland Brick
Inc. and The Belden Brick Company and becomes the first
employee to report to both companies simultaneously.
Brick Company History: 2005
work on the new plant is scheduled to begin soon. Jeff
Schrock is named Superintendent for Plant 2 and Bill
Swinderman, Jr. will replace Jeff as Superintendent
at Plant 4. Plant 2 will manufacture brick seven days
a week, operating 10 hours per day. Their schedule is
a total departure from the 5 day per week schedule observed
at all other Belden facilities.
During 1999, as work progresses on the construction
of Plant 2, Redland Brick Inc. begins to study the feasibility
of a new plant at the Harmar site. By year’s end,
Plant 2 is on schedule to start production the end of
the first quarter of 2000 and the Board of Directors
approves the authorization by Redland Brick’s
board to construct a new plant at the Harmar location
outside of Pittsburgh. Boral Bricks offers to sell its
Rocky Ridge (Maryland) plant to Redland Brick Inc. Belden
Brick Sales & Service Inc. (formerly Belden-Stark
Brick Company of New York) is authorized by the Board
to acquire the assets of the Atlantic Brick Corporation
of Saddle Brook, New Jersey.
During the year 2000, Redland Brick
Inc. acquired the Rocky Ridge (Md) plant from Boral
Bricks and the new Harmar plant was approved with a
capacity of 60 million brick equivalents annually compared
to the 24 million b.e. capacity of the existing facility
at the Harmar site. The Sugarcreek Plant 2 kiln was
lit in April 2000. Later in the year, The Belden Brick
Company was inducted in the Family Business Hall of
Fame at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Julia Belden, daughter of Robert F. Belden, was hired
by Belden Brick Sales & Service Inc. of New York
as an architectural sales representative in Manhattan.
In 2001, Dee Engelbach announces his
intention to retire in the fourth quarter. Jim Leahy
is named Treasurer. John C. Belden is named Vice President
– Sales & Marketing. At Redland Brick Inc.,
the Harmar Plant project is right on schedule.
In February of 2002, Robert T. Belden,
son of Robert F. Belden, becomes the second fifth-generation
Belden to join the Company. Bob T is assigned the position
of Assistant to the Vice-President of Production, Larry
A third member of the fifth-generation of the Belden
family, Bradley S. Belden, joins the Company on April
1, 2004. Brad is the son of John C. Belden and is hired
as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist working with government
agencies such as EPA and OSHA and working in the field
of the environment, health and safety. Later in 2004,
Redland Brick Inc. seeks authorization to modernize
the Rocky Ridge Plant. The Belden Brick Board grants
the authorization and Swindell Dressler is hired to
execute the modernization plan.
Record high prices for natural gas characterize the
middle years of the decade. The Company continues to
drill new gas wells as it has every year since 1973.
The latest wells drilled are generally in the Beekmantown
and Rose Run formations. The total number of wells successfully
drilled since the program’s inception in 1973
reaches 194 in 2006. These wells only produce enough
gas to meet approximately 10% of the Company’s
In 2005, Bettie Rairigh, Administrative
Assistant to Bill and Bob Belden, retires after 59 years
of service, matching Burke Wentz’s longevity as
a Belden Brick employee. Bettie was hired in 1946 by
Paul B. Belden, Sr. and served four generations of Belden
family members. Belden Brick and Redland Brick form
Redland Siding Systems LLC, a 50/50 joint venture that
will be licensed to manufacture and distribute thin
brick systems in North America. In November, Larry Myers dies suddenly six months
before his planned retirement. Robert T. Belden is named
to succeed Larry as Vice President of Operations.The
Company has invested heavily in technology over the
past decade. Plant 2 is a state-of-the-art, 21st century
production facility, and the advent of the Internet
has brought about technological change throughout the
The Company has continued to provide leadership in
the industry as it has done since the earliest days
under Paul Belden, Sr. He was instrumental in the founding
of the American Face Brick Association in 1912. He served
three terms (1915, 1920, and 1932) as President. His
son, Paul Jr., was Chairman of The Brick Institute of
America (BIA). In 1993-1994, his grandson, Bill, Jr.,
was also chairman of BIA. From 2002-2004, his grandson,
Bob, was chairman of the Brick Industry Association,
which resulted from the merger of the Brick Institute
of America and the National Association of Brick Distributors.
All through these years, the Company and its officers
have been supporters and leaders of the Mid-East Region
of the Brick Institute of America, a regional association
of brick manufacturers, as well as the national association.
John C. Belden, son of Paul B. Belden, Jr., grandson
of Paul B. Belden, Sr., is currently the Chairman of
BIA’s Midwest/Northeastern Region which is comprised
of seventeen states from Illinois to Maine. Both Paul
B. Belden, Sr. and Paul B. Belden, Jr. have been honored
with the industry’s Outstanding Achievement Award.While
this history notes many significant events and individuals
in the story of The Belden Brick Company, it could not
mention everything or everyone who contributed to the
success of Belden Brick since 1885. Many families, in
addition to the Beldens and the Hartungs, have been
instrumental in making Belden Brick the Standard of
Comparison in its industry – families like the
Swindermans, the Schrocks, the Myers, and the Finzers.
Brickmaking was and is in their blood and their members
take pride in their craft. The Belden Brick Company
has been fortunate to have had so many dedicated, loyal
employees throughout its history whose commitment to
excellence has been unwavering.
Brick Company History: 2006 - Present
In November of 2005, the Belden Brick board of directors established a new holding company, Belden Holding & Acquisition Company, Inc., effective at the close of business on December 31, 2005. On January 1, 2006, The Belden Brick Company was merged into Belden Holding & Acquisition Company, Inc., which became the parent company of The Belden Brick Company, Redland Brick Inc., Belden Brick Sales & Service (NY, NY), The Belden Brick Sales Company (Fraser, MI), and Belcap.
In August 2006, Jim Vinke retired from Redland Brick Inc., and Joe Miles succeeds as President and CEO.
In 2007, John J. Streb, Jr., son of Molly Belden Streb and the fourth member of the fifth generation of Beldens associated with the company, joined The Belden Brick Company as Environmental Technician. The board of directors decided to close the Strasburg Plant permanently. Production ceases in the first quarter while shipping continues through the end of the year into 2008.
Construction began on Plant 5 in Sugarcreek, also known as the Saw House, in 2008. It will have the capabilities to cut and grind (if required or desired) thin brick units from full-size brick manufactured at each manufacturing facility. The Saw House was powered up in December of 2008 in preparation for its opening in 2009, giving The Belden Brick Company the capability to supply full-size and thin brick units of the same style on any project.
At the shareholders’ meeting in April 2009, Robert F. Belden is named CEO, retaining his title of President, while William H. Belden, Jr. remains Chairman of the Board. Phillip G. Belden, son of Richard F. Belden, Sr., was elected to succeed his father on the board of directors, and Paul W. Hartung, III, was elected to succeed his father, Paul W. Hartung, Jr., on the board. Dick and Paul, Jr. logged 68 and 59 years of service, respectively, as employees and board members of The Belden Brick Company. In June 2009, Richard F. Belden, Sr., youngest of Paul B. Belden, Sr.’s four sons, dies at the age of 90. Belden Brick purchases the Eureka Machine Shop of Sugarcreek in 2009. Belden Brick Sales & Service of New York merges with Tri-State Brick and becomes Belden Tri-State Building Materials, effective January 1, 2010.
In April 2011, the decision was made to permanently close Sugarcreek Lanes. On July 15, 2011, Belden Holding purchases most of Lawrenceville (VA) Brick’s assets and folds them into Redland Brick Inc. Michael B. Belden, board member, died unexpectedly in August 2011. His brother, Judge Stephen F. Belden, was elected to replace him on the board.
In 2012, The Belden Brick Company purchased Uhrden Manufacturing, dba Tubar; Tubar’s real estate is adjacent to Plant 8 and Sugarcreek Lanes. The Eureka Machine business is quickly integrated within Tubar. In November, former CFO, Dee Engelbach, passes away.
We moved Plant 9 production to Plant 8 in 2013, and Plant 9 was mothballed.
In 2014, Jeff Adams was named President and CEO of Redland Brick Inc. in September. Later that year, the Brick Institute of America Mid-East Region, having only Bowerston Shale and Belden Brick as its full members, closes. Jim Tann, President, and his assistant, Natalie Stan, come to work for the company in November 2014.
At the end of 2015, after 32.5 years of service, William H. Belden, Jr. retires. Robert F. Belden assumes the chairmanship and remains President and CEO.
At the 2016 annual meeting, John C. Belden was named Executive Vice-President, Brian S. Belden to Vice-President/Sales & Marketing, and Bradley H. Belden the Vice-President/Administrative Services. The Belcrest product line of soft mud products are moved from Plant 8 to Plant 3 in 2016 as the maintenance of the Aberson molding equipment at Plant 8 has become cost-prohibitive. At the end of 2016, John Belden retires after more than 47 years of service to Belden Brick.
In 2017, the Strasburg site was sold, and at year’s end, David L. Hartung, Sr. retires after 59 years of service, matching Burke Wentz’s and Bettie Rairigh’s longevity as Belden Brick employees. Belcap, a subsidiary of Belden Holding, signs a memorandum of understanding to become a joint venture partner with Acell Ltd. of Ireland. The joint venture is called Arcitell, and in 2018, Jeff Adams and Simon Whalley leave Redland Brick Inc. to join and manage Arcitell. In April 2018, John J. Streb, Jr. was named Corporate Secretary, replacing David L. Hartung, Sr. On May 25, 2018, Bruce C. Belden, youngest son of William H. Belden, Sr., and a long time Plant 3 employee, passes away after 35 years of service.
Along with the joint venture, Arcitell, The Belden Brick Company commences a major reconfiguration at Plant 8 involving everything between raw material preparation and firing in kilns. The changes include chamber drying, automated setting, and a dedicated decorating line. Early in 2019, Jeff Adams brings Arcitell to Sugarcreek from Hagerstown, MD, and moves it into the Tubar/Eureka building. This move enables Arcitell to benefit from synergies with the Tubar/Eureka and Belden Brick operations. Jeff Adams takes over the management of Tubar/Eureka and continuing as President and CEO of Arcitell.
Bradley H. Belden is named President of Belden Holding and The Belden Brick Company at the shareholders’ meeting in 2019. Robert T. Belden is named President of Redland Brick Inc., and Brian S. Belden is named President of Belcap. All three are elected to board seats at Belden Holding and The Belden Brick Company. Paul B. Belden, III and David L. Hartung. Sr. retire from both boards and are replaced by their sons, Todd A. Belden and David L. Hartung, Jr.
Belden Holding enters negotiations with the Australian brick manufacturer, Brickworks, to Redland Brick Inc’s possible sale. Consummating the sale of Redland Brick Inc. assets on February 10, 2020, Glen-Gery Brick, a subsidiary of Brickworks USA, assumed most of those assets. The KF Plant in South Windsor, CT, and the Redland pension plan, remain with Belden Holding; however, Belden Holding included KF’s inventory in the sale, and Glen-Gery leases the KF site through the end of 2021 to facilitate the inventory sale. Almost simultaneously, The Belden Brick Company sold the Tubar business to Eagle Machinery & Supply, Inc. of Sugarcreek. The real estate stays, as it houses Arcitell operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic puts a damper on what had been a promising first quarter of 2020 for The Belden Brick Company. While brick manufacturing in Ohio is considered an essential business, and we are permitted to keep operating throughout the calendar year, the volume of shipments for 2020 is the fewest since 1952.
The future will present its own set of challenges for The Belden Brick Company, and we believe that we have positioned ourselves to meet those challenges. By continuously reinvesting in our physical plants, keeping up with information technology advances, and developing a strong leadership team committed to maintaining The Belden Brick Company's values and traditions while being capable of maneuvering in the modern, fast-paced economy in which they will operate. We look forward with optimism, confidence, and hope.