Interstate Brick records
Scope and Contents
- Interstate Brick (Creator, Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
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.
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.
87 cartons (87 linear ft.)
2 oversize boxes (2 linear ft.)
17 boxes (8.5 linear ft.)
257 v. (208 linear ft.)
Other Finding Aids
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection provides insight into the business practices of a prominent 20th century Utah company.
- Register of the Interstate Brick records
- Mary Downs
- 2010 December 21
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English in Latin script.