MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Edrans-Brandon Pressed Brick Company / National Clay Products Company
J. A. C. Blackwood established a brick yard in the summer of 1901 near Edrans. He shipped a first carload of brick in early October and his first season was considered a success. He continued having steady production in the following years. In July 1905, the Edrans-Brandon Pressed Brick Company was incorporated with Brandon listed as its chief place of business. Members of the Blackwood family remained principle owners of the company.
The yard site was on 12 acres of land with excellent clay deposits and the plant was served by a Canadian Pacific Railway side line. The plant drew its power from a 60-horsepower engine and boasted a sixty-foot smokestack and a large roofed shed for clay storage. The plant had the capacity to produce 20,000 pressed brick per day and had unique kilns, each having 14 chimneys.
The company changed hands in March 1924 and became the National Clay Products Company, headquartered in Winnipeg. This firm was established by William E. Hales of the Hales brick-making family and had operated brick yards earlier at Rapid City and Brookdale. The bricks produced by National Clay were said to be as hard as flint, came in six colours and were uniform in size and shape. In the 1925 season, the firm had sold 500,000 bricks and, in 1926, the Hales family patriarch Robert D. Hales came out of retirement to superintend the Edrans plant.
National Clay became one of the last old-style brick plants and manufactured bricks until the Second World War.
“A handsome block,” Brandon Sun, 15 August 1907, page 32.
Manitoba Brickmakers by Hugh Henry, Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, 1992.
Manitoba Brick Yards by Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch Report, May 2010.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 July 2021