Brick Company History

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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.

Our 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 States.

In 1876 Henry went to the Centennial fair in Philadelphia and there saw the original stiff mud brick making machine.

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.