Jan 8, 2013

Redcliff Pressed Brick Company

Opened in 1912, the Redcliff Press Brick Company in Redcliff, Alberta was a joint operation initiated by James Hargrave, Herb Sissons, and Jim Mitchell. It was James Hargrave who was also behind the Hargrave Sissons block in nearby Medicine Hat.

Facing competition from several nearby brick manufacturers, including the Medicine Hat Brick and Tile plant, they were but one of over 100 other brick plants across Western Canada. With a growing population and communities sprouting up across the West, it was a booming industry.

Their venture paid off too. By 1921 they had adopted the trademark I-XL, and by 1929 they had bought out a number of their surrounding competition, including Medicine Hat Brick and Tile. Soon after they moved their headquarters from Redcliff to that site in Medicine Hat.

According to the placard at the Redcliff location this plant closed in 2004, after which, much of the structure was demolished. All that currently remains are some of the original tunnel kilns and towers. The history is pretty fascinating, and it was cool to walk around the birth place of I-XL after getting the opportunity to explore the Medicine Hat location last summer.

Although the Medicine Hat factory has now closed too due to flood damage in 2010, I-XL is still in operation to this day. They also donated the Medicine Hat Brick and Tile factory to the Friends of Medalta as part of the preservation of the city's historic clay district. There's no denying the significant impact this industry had in Southeast Alberta, and the role they played in allowing the construction of some of our most notable buildings.  

Update: November 2016 - These kiln towers have now been demolished.

1 comment :

Unknown said...

I was curious about RedCliff bricks that's why I'm here. My Junior high school which was built in 1913, was built with RedCliff bricks. How do I know this, the School was demolished this weekend and on the bricks, they were stamped with Red Cliff.