Title and statement of responsibility area
Claybank Brick Plant fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Graphic material
- Architectural drawing
- Technical drawing
- Cartographic material
Title statements of responsibility
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Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Claybank Brick Plant, 1898-1991
Physical description area
17.800m of textual records
ca. 294 photographs
ca. 343 architectural drawing sets
14 microfilm reels (217.0 m)
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
The origins of the Claybank Brick Plant go back to 1886 when Tom McWilliams, a homesteader in the Claybank, Saskatchewan area, began mining heat-resistant or 'refractory' clay, on his property. This type of clay is well-suited for manufacturing fire brick, which is used to insulate boilers, fireplaces, furnaces, and other high-heat areas. In 1904 Mr. McWilliams entered into a formal agreement with the Moose Jaw Fire Brick and Pottery Company, which acquired the original McWilliams homestead plus other nearby clay deposits. Development of the property was hindered by lack of access to primary markets, but when the Canadian Northern Railway line was built in the district in 1910, the access problem was solved and plant construction could begin.
In 1912 the Moose Jaw Fire Brick and Pottery Company restructured, purchased Mr. McWilliams' shares, and became Saskatchewan Clay Products. (This was a private company that was not related to the Crown Corporation Saskatchewan Clay Products, which was founded in 1945.) The brick plant was completed in 1914, only to close until 1916 due to World War I and an economic recession.
The company was reopened in 1916 as Dominion Fire Brick and Clay Products Ltd. The revitalized company expanded its product line to include face brick and specialized firebrick. In the 1920s the company began producing high grade refractory tiles. These specialized tiles were used for flue and furnace linings, steam engine linings and locomotive arch bricks. This product helped the company survive the Depression. By 1938 the Claybank Brick Plant was the busiest in the province. During World War II, the company's products were used extensively by the Royal Canadian Navy in the construction of corvettes. By 1950 the plant was the largest in the province.
In 1954 the Claybank Brick Plant was purchased by the Alberta company Redcliffe Pressed Brick and renamed Dominion Fire Brick and Clay Products (1954) Limited. For the rest of its operating history, ownership of the plant would be from outside the province of Saskatchewan. In 1955 controlling interest in the company was purchased by A.P. Green Fire Brick Company of Mexico, Missouri. This company, one of North America's leading producers of refractory products, modernized the plant's operations. One of the first changes was the conversion of six of the ten beehive kilns to natural gas from the traditional lignite coal. This change meant the end of face brick production, as face brick got its coloring from the coal-fired kilns. The company was also losing market share for its refractory products, primarily because diesel locomotive engines were being adopted by the railroads. The company tried to compensate for these losses by aggressively selling other forms of fire brick, a technique that was only partially successful.
By 1962 A.P. Green had complete control of the Claybank Brick Plant, although the company continued to operate under the name Dominion Fire Brick and Clay Products until 1970. By 1971 the plant became known as a subsidiary of A.P. Green Refractories (Canada) Ltd. This full integration limited the plant's prospects and appears to have accelerated the plant's final economic decline. Dwindling markets, changing technologies, outmoded equipment and corporate downsizing all contributed to the plant's closure in 1989.
Following the closure of the plant in June 1989 the Province of Saskatchewan indicated its intention to designate the plant as a provincial heritage site. In 1992 A.P. Green donated the site, including the brick plant, machinery and equipment to the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation. In 1996 the plant was declared a national historic site. In 1998 the Claybank Brick Plant was officially designated as Provincial Heritage property.
In 1992 the site was acquired by the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation through the donation of land, buildings, and records by A.P. Green Refractories (Canada) Ltd. to the Crown. The records remained stored on-site at the plant until transfer to the SAB.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of records reflecting the production activities of the Claybank Brick Plant from the period 1898 to 1991, 1914 to 1989 predominant.
Included are records created, used, and accumulated by managers and staff of the Claybank brick plant when it was known as the Moose Jaw Fire Brick and Pottery Company, Dominion Fire Brick and Clay Products Ltd., Dominion Fire Brick and Clay Products (1954) Ltd., and A.P. Green Refractories (Canada) Ltd.
Records include: labour and employment records; union agreements; site management records; occupational health and safety records; production, shipping, and finance records; and research and development records including lab reports. A large number of photographs, architectural drawings, maps, plans and specifications are also included in the fonds.
This fonds is arranged into the following eight series: Labour and Employment Records; Site Management Records; Production and Shipping Records; Financial Records; Research and Development Records; Photographs, Architectural Drawings, Maps, Plans & Specifications; and Miscellaneous Records.
These records were exposed to adverse environmental conditions. Some records exhibit damage due to water, mould or excessive dirt.
Immediate source of acquisition
Records were transferred to the Saskatchewan Archives Board per Frank Korvemaker of the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation on the following dates: July 7, 1998 (R98-214), October 13, 1998 (R98-287), March 24, 1999 (R99-157), May 19, 2000 (R2000-215), June 8, 2000 (R2000-224), July 7, 2000 (R2000-246) and July 14, 2000 (R2000-254).
A wide variety of original arrangement systems existed for the fonds, including alphabetical, numerical, and alphanumerical systems.
Arrangement of these records was conducted by archivists based on an original order.
The records have been organized into eight series that are further broken down into sub-series.
Most of these reccords have been arranged chronologically, but in a few instances, certain series have been sorted alphabetically or, when possible, by the original alphanumeric system.
Microfilm was produced on reels with no delineation between series.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Some material in this fonds is restricted.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Copyright transferred to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan.
SAFA 1-1 (researcher version) and SAFA 1-2 (restricted version) consist of a fonds level description, 8 series level descriptions, file level listings of textual records, microfilm and architectural drawings, and some item level listings of photographs.
Uploaded finding aid
Related material: In the R-E collection: R-E 1843, R-E 4421, and R-E 4433.
In the SMI collection: R2001-264, R89-321.
In the Historical Photographs collection: R93-169, R93-170, and R98-241
No further accruals are expected.
Some electronic copies of photographs are available in Archival Digital Storage.
During processing of records, the number of architectural and technical drawings, photographs, and maps in each file was not recorded. Consequently, the number of items identified in the physical description refers to the items for which item level descriptions are available.
Since microfilm was produced on reels with no delineation between series, determining how many centimeters of microfilm pertains to a particular series is not easily obtainable.
In some cases, photocopying or microfilming was performed on these records and originals destroyed or returned to donor.
Textual records: R-1722
Standard number area
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description record identifier
Rules or conventions
Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.
Level of detail
Language of description
Script of description
Contents of the fonds.