The Story of Pine Hall Brick
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J.C. Steele, a brick manufacturer in Statesville, NC receives his first patent for brickmaking. He founds J.C. Steele & Sons that manufactures extrusion and brick making equipment. Today, the company is still thriving and supplying equipment worldwide.
J.C. Steele’s son, Flake Steele buys the dormant Consolidated Brick Company in Pine Hall, North Carolina along with hundreds of acres of land containing Triassic shale. He forms the Pine Hall Brick Co. on August 7, 1922. Production starts later that year in 7 “beehive” kilns making brick (plant 1) & clay pipe (plant 2).
Company maintains 50 residential houses and 2 grocery stores for employees. Each worker is responsible for making 1000 bricks per day. Brick is railed to Winston Salem and unloaded via conveyors on to trucks between layers of straw to prevent chippage.
Company buys the Madison Brick Company six miles down the road and begins brick operations (plant 3). Pipe operations stay at original site.
Flake Steele’s son, Flake Jr., joins the company at age 21 and later will serve as the company’s president after his father’s death in 1952 and serves until 1989.
Pine Hall Brick suspends brick making operation to increase it’s clay pipe production for infrastructure needs during WW II.
William “Perk” Steele, Flake’s younger brother, joins Pine Hall Brick at age 20 after serving in the Navy and receiving a ceramic engineering degree from the University of Illinois on a special Navy program. He will guide the company’s plant operations until his retirement in 1996.
Flake and Perk build a new 5300sf headquarter building at the corner of 27th & Shorefair Dr. with a larger yard and outdoor displays. This is part of a $600,000 capital improvement package that also improves grinding, drying and kiln firing at all plants. The new office is still our headquarters today 54 years later.
Flake Jr. leads development of a low cost brick house ($7500) in conjunction with the NC brick association. 1st home built near Durham and targets low income families and public housing.
Pine Hall Brick Builds $1.8M Plant at Madison facility (plant 4). Expansion brings total brick capacity to 1.8 million bricks per week making PHB the 3rd largest brick company in NC. Kilns fire 24 hours per day, 7 days a week at a peak temperature of 1960 degrees. Company employs 255 people with annual sales over $4 million.
Waste sawdust, destined for landfill, recovered to use as fuel for kilns at plant 3. Plant 4 adopts same environmentally friendly technology in 1981 and the kilns are still firing with sawdust today.
Current President and CEO, Fletcher Steele, appointed President of Pine Hall Brick. “Fletch” started with PHB in 1976 and he is a cousin of Flake and Perk.
Pine Hall Brick opens state-of-the-art clay paver plant in Madison, NC (plant 5). Utilizing technology found in only 2 plants in the world and applying it to making pavers, PHB becomes the largest supplier of clay pavers in the US after several years due to superior size and color control. Fletch receives the brick industry’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2002 for this innovation.
PHB celebrates 75th yr anniversary and holds a local contest to find the oldest PHB home. 2 customers come forward with houses completed in 1924. Not many manufacturers can say that a large portion of their product sold over time is still in use today. Brick lasts a long time.
Pine Hall Brick opens 275,000 sq ft brick plant outside of Atlanta in Fairmount, GA (plant 6). The 70 million brick capacity plant primarily serves markets in Atlanta, Nashville and several major cities in Alabama. In 2005, the plant capacity is doubled due to heavy demand.
Pine Hall Brick expands yet again just down the road from the plant 6 site in Fairmount, GA. Plant 7 duplicates the low set-fast fire technology used at the paver plant in NC (plant 5). Plant makes clay pavers and through-the-body colored facebrick for the commercial building market.
Pine Hall Brick has another successful year marking the 7th consecutive year of sales growth. The company employees over 300 people and still remains loyal to our mission to be a company “easy to do business with." "Not many companies can say that virtually all of the products sold over our entire company history are still in service today," said Fletcher Steele, President. "We’re very proud of our long-term history of providing high quality products and our recent history of new product growth that was fueled by innovation and investment."
Download the History as a PDF file