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Interstate Brick records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3326

Scope and Contents

Collection contains the records of Interstate Brick. Included are business correspondence, financial documents, and ledgers from 1891 to 1975.

Dates

  • 1891-1975

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Interstate Brick records must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Administrative History

The Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company was founded in 1891 and continued in business until 1936. It specialized in manufacturing bricks and related materials. In 1936 it was reorganized as Interstate Brick.

The Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company was incorporated January 6, 1891, with John P. Cahoon as president. On a capital of $50,000, the company built its first plant in Salt Lake City and struggled through the depression of the 1890s, after which business picked up enough that the company was able to build a second plant and employ new technology and many new emigrant employees from Sweden. Unfortunately, by 1907, despite the fact that the company had received production awards, and that its bricks had been used to build some of the more prominent buildings in Salt Lake City (including the Hotel Utah), Salt Lake Pressed Brick was unable to make its payroll; forced to pay its employees in bonds and credit, the company continued to struggle financially through the onslaught of World War I (despite aid from the War Manpower Commission). At that point (1918), Cahoon threw the interests of the company in with the Common Brick Manufacturer's Association, and the company decided to expand its inventory, introducing new products which allowed it to gain investors, acquire new equipment and clay pits, and build an additional plant (dubbed 'C'). During the early 1920s, the company gained additional clay sources and built plant D. Next, in an attempt, ultimately, to protect the brick market, it sponsored a bricklaying class, and teams of skilled students began contracting for home-building jobs. By this point, however, sales had begun to decline due to changes in the construction industry and its techniques (in particular the growing market for cinder block and steel framing) as well as to rumors of poor quality. Over the next several years, Salt Lake Pressed Brick made repeated attempts to divide the Utah-Idaho-Nevada market with other companies, all of which ended in failure. This, combined with the apparently counterproductive expansion following World War I and The Great Depression of 1929, rendered the company less and less able to redeem its bonds, until, in November 1931, the company became insolvent; the market continued to decline, the equipment and facilities continued to degenerate, and Salt Lake Pressed Brick became involved in a U.S. District Court suit for its inability to pay its debts. As a result, in 1936, the company was reorganized as Interstate Brick Company.

Administrative History

Interstate Brick is a commercial brick manufacturer in Utah. It was originally founded in 1891 as the Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company, and was reorganized as Interstate Brick in 1936.

Following the financial failure of the Salt Lake Pressed Prick Company, in 1936 the company was reorganized as Interstate Brick, received a corporate loan with which to meet its financial obligations, and adopted new management practices. At the same time the company also switched from coal to natural gas as an energy source and instituted employee unions and benefit programs. Unfortunately, 1939 brought the death of company president John P. Cahoon, who was succeeded by his sons Chester P. (president 1939-1960, as well as head of the Progress Power Company until it was sold to Utah Power and Light) and John B. Cahoon. Within the next decade, advances in custom and technology phased out a few of Interstate's products, but in 1955, company officers made many improvements, installing a continuous railroad kiln, building plants E and F, replacing defunct machinery, and finding new clay sources and preparation methods, the combined effects of which were increased efficiency, doubled capacity, and reduced production time. Over the next fifteen years, the company continued to make improvements in labor relations, production range, and distribution, but by the late 1960s, it was unable to meet its production demands, and despite a merge with Mountain Fuel in 1971, all productions ceased in 1972. Production began afresh in a new plant in West Jordan later that year, and continues to the present day. In 1990 the company was acquired by Pacific Coast Building Products.

Extent

87 cartons (87 linear ft.)

2 oversize boxes (2 linear ft.)

17 boxes (8.5 linear ft.)

257 v. (208 linear ft.)

Language

English

Overview

This collection provides insight into the business practices of a prominent 20th century Utah company.

Arrangement

Arranged into four series: 1. Interstate Brick business records, 1891-1975. 2. Interstate Brick financial records, 1891-1975. 3. Interstate Brick transfer sheets, 1891-1975. 4. Interstate Brick ledgers, 1891-1975.

Other Finding Aids

Box level inventory can be accessed in the repository. Materials have been rehoused and thus has been slightly condensed. The box level inventory does not exactly match the actual housing.

Custodial History

Donated from John F. Cahoon, 1974-1977.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; John F. Cahoon; 1974-1977.

Appraisal

Collected in Western American business and labor history (20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy 5.II, August 2007).

This collection provides insight into the business practices of a prominent 20th century Utah company.

Processing Information

Processed; Mary Downs and Amanda Clark, student processors, and John Murphy, curator; 2006-2010.

Creator

Title
Register of the Interstate Brick records
Status
Completed
Author
Mary Downs
Date
2010 December 21
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

Contact:
1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States