Our History

Making Quality Bricks for Over 100 Years

Richards Brick Company traces its beginnings back to 1890 when a brick layer named Benjamin H. Richards had trouble getting a steady supply of brick for his projects. To solve this problem, he purchased half of Springer and Tunnell Press Brickworks, a brickyard in his hometown of Edwardsville, Illinois. As the years passed, Richards grew more interested in making brick than in laying them. He purchased the remaining half of the brickyard and, in 1905, incorporated as Richards Brick Company. Since then Richards Brick continued to expand and endure over the last 130 years. Below is a brief timeline of events that occurred over our history.

  • 1911- Completed electric railroad to haul clay from the new clay storage shed to the plant. At this time the company had four teams of mules for hauling brick locally. Balance of the brick was loaded in railroad cars

  • 1915- Bought first gasoline tractor. Purchased an electric battery driven truck for hauling brick out of the kiln to the McKinley switch tracks. Bought the first Ford Roadster as

a company car for the salesman.

  • 1917 – Converted from steam power to electricity. Added four more chambers to the east end of the Haigh Kiln. Built a new brick wash house for the men.

  • 1924 – Purchased the first Dodge Graham truck for hauling brick.

  • 1928 – Sold all of the old mule drawn equipment that was left.

  • 1935 – Abandoned the electric motor locomotive for an 8 ton gasoline Plymouth Locomotive which had been previously used at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. Also purchased the first Industrial Brown-Hoist dragline for digging shale at the shale pit. Built the east storage shed which is still in use.

  • 1939 – Purchased mechanical unloading trucks capable of picking up and setting down 2,500 brick at a time.

  • 1943 – Plant forced to shut down due to World War II.

  • 1945 – Plant opened after war in October.

  • 1946 – Purchased first fork lift truck.

  • 1951 – Built and started up the first gas fired Allied car tunnel kiln.

  • 1958 – Tore down the 175 foot chimney which was long a landmark in Edwardsville.

  • 1960 – Started up the second gas fired Allied car tunnel kiln and started manufacturing two shifts a day.

  • 1960- B. H. Richards died April 8, 1960. C. T. Richards assumed presidency.

  • 1965 – Installed Signode Octagon Packaging machine and went to 100 packs wrapped in steel and switched to boom trucks for unloading brick on the job. Built new office.

  • 1984 – C. T. Richards assumes Chairman of the Board. R. W. Richards assumes President and Treasurer. C. Thomas Richards assumes Vice-President and Secretary.

  • 1991 – Ben H. Richards, our oldest stockholder, died February 19, 1991. C. T. Richards died on October 31, 1991.

  • 1993 – R. W. Richards retires, but continues as president. Started stockpiling at pit.

  • 1998 – Railroad pulls out and takes up tracks. Start stockpiling at plant.

  • 2004 – C. Thomas Richards died May 21, 2004.

  • 2006 – R. W. Richards assumes Chairman of the Board. John Motley assumes President and Treasurer. James R. Richards assumes Vice-President and Secretary.