Brick Company History

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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 Brick Company.

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 preferences.

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 their operations.