Brick Company History

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Brick Company History: 1946 - The Finzer Acquisition & First Tunnel Kiln

The 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 came knocking.

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.