MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Manitoba Pressed Brick Company Limited
The Manitoba Pressed Brick Company (MPBC) Limited was founded in late November 1904 by Senator George H. Bradbury of Selkirk, though his name appears nowhere in the founding documentation. On paper, the partnership was comprised of Thomas Herman Johnson, implement dealer Isaac Ernest Fairchild, loan company manager William Findlay, builder Alexander Gustavus Akin, and Angus Browne. The company obtained its charter of incorporation via Letters Patent under the Manitoba Joint Stock Companies Act and held an initial capital stock of $60,000.
Construction of the brick yard began in the spring of 1905 and was estimated to produce 15,000 to 20,000 bricks per day. All of Bradbury’s equipment was Canadian-made and the plant itself was considered to be the largest brick plant ever built in Canada. This brick yard was associated with what would come to be known as the Manitoba Glass Manufacturing Plant (1906) because both the brick and glass required the same copious amounts of sand that was abundant in the Beausejour area.
The facility produced “Silica Brick” and did not require the same drying process as clay bricks because they were hardened by steam. The bricks were moulded using a Berg Press and were typically light grey in colour, but could be made to any custom colour. In fact, there were six brick colours on display at the yard site, including dark red, light red, buff, and slate. The letters MPBCo were imprinted in the frog. They were estimated to cost $12 per thousand bricks but others claimed it was equal to the imported brick brought into Winnipeg for $25 to $30 per thousand bricks. The company shipped its first carload of bricks to Winnipeg in late October 1905.
Around late 1914, the firm acquired the plant of the Canadian Enamel Concrete Brick and Tile Company at Norwood. By 1917, capacity was reportedly raised to 40,000 bricks per ten-hour work day. Due to the lack of business during the First World War, the operation went silent in March 1916. The company was declared insolvent by Judge A. C. Galt in Court of King’s Bench on 11 January 1917. By then, the Manitoba Glass Company held 391 of 395 available shares in the company. Its assets were then liquidated in accordance with the Winding Up Act, with the process concluded in February 1921.
Manitoba Gazette, 10 December 1904, pages 855‐857.
“A New Industry,” Selkirk Record, 19 May 1905, page 4.
“Big Brick Industry,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 August 1905, page 1.
Selkirk Record, 11 August 1905, page 6.
“Sand Brick Shipped,” Manitoba Free Press, 30 October 1905, page 6.
“Manufacture of Bricks,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 November 1905, page 5.
Selkirk Expositor, 17 August 1906, page 8.
Manitoba Gazette, 31 July 1905, page 852.
“The Manitoba Pressed Brick Co,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 October 1909, page 10.
“Much important business done at council meeting [A new contract with ...],” Manitoba Free Press, 19 May 1914, page 22.
“Brickmen strike at Beausejoir,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 June 1914, page 17.
Manitoba Gazette, 4 September 1915, page 990.
“City briefs [Winds Uop - Brick Co.],” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 January 1917, page 9.
“For Sale [Judicial sale of assets of Manitoba Pressed Brick Company Limited],” Manitoba Free Press, 15 September 1917, page 26.
City of Winnipeg Archives. Board of Control Communication, 08712/1913, particularly Confidential R. G. Dun Report on Manitoba Presses Brick Company Ltd, 29 January 1913; as well as letter T. A. Hunt to Magnus Peterson, 26 November 1914.
Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 146M - Manitoba Pressed Brick Company Limited, GR6427, Archives of Manitoba.
Court of Queen’s Bench Winding Up Act pockets (ATG 0015), #136 - Manitoba Pressed Brick Company Limited, GR0195, Archives of Manitoba.
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.
We thank Shayne Campbell for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 12 December 2021