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Belden Brick


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Canton, OH, 1930s. The Ritz apartment      New York, NY, 1941.      Cincinnati, OH, 1928. The         Brewster, OH, circa 1929. The
 and hotel building at 705 Sixth St. NW.      This apartment       Western Hills School required     Wheeling & Lake Erie YMCA. The
                                              building at 59th    about 1.5 million Belden bricks.   building is still in use, and is now
                                           Street and Broadway                                             called Wandle House.
                                             required a million
                                             oversized Belden

           If you ask Brian Belden when the turning point for Belden Brick was, he'll take
  you all the way back to the beginning. "I believe that would have been in 1885," he says,
  "when Henry Belden decided to manufacture brick pavers on his farm just outside of
  Canton. It’s significant because Canton had no paved streets back then and this need gave
  his new venture a jumpstart. Of course, the addition of paved streets was of great
  importance to Canton, too."
           The history of Belden Brick is on the minds of everyone at the company of late.
  The company turns 125 years old this year and is showing no signs of slowing down as
  they build a national reputation. Their bricks have built every building on Notre Dame
  University's campus since 1938, including the new Jordon Hall of Science; they were
  profiled on the TV program John Ratzenberger’s Made in America, and featured on the
  popular game show Jeopardy in a category on brick making; and their shelves have been
  filling up with industry awards and recognitions.
           The 1885 founding of the company had its origins when Henry S. Belden moved
  back to his family's farm for health reasons and discovered deposits of coal, shale, and
  clay on the property. Inspired by seeing a stiff mud brick making machine at the
  Centennial fair in Philadelphia, he decided to make paving and fire brick, and the Diebold
  Fire Brick Company was born.
           The company name would change two more times: to Canton Pressed Brick
  Company in 1895 and finally The Belden Brick Company in 1912. The company would
  survive two world wars and the great depression by manufacturing acid proof brick,
  which was crucial in the production of steel needed for the war effort.
Belden 125th                                                                                    Page 2

        The postwar years say Belden expanding, including the takeover of a facility in
Sugarcreek, Ohio that would become the nation's largest plant for the production of face
brick and building tile. As time went by, Belden would become the first brick company
to achieve ISO certification. As the century turned, they opened their first plant that
broke with the Belden tradition of a five-day a week, with a new facility that produces 10
hours a day, seven days a week.
        But these things aren't as important to Brian Belden, the company's Marketing
Manager. Belden is the fifth generation of his family to work full-time in the family
business, and when he talks of the company's legacy, he prefers to express it in terms of
how the company has helped to build the community.

   Canton, OH, 1930.        New York, NY, 1936. The Brighton Beach Apartments      Hershey, PA, early 1930s. The
    Originally the First              required about 1.5 million bricks.         Hershey Industrial School for Boys
National Bank building at                                                           (foreground) and Resort Hotel
Tuscarawas Street W and                                                         (background) required more than 1.5
  Market Avenue, this                                                           million Belden limestone bricks. Both
building is now known as                                                                buildings still are in use.
   the Chase building.

        "Most of the schools in Stark County are built with Belden Brick," says Belden.
"From the elementary schools all the way up to our local colleges and universities. We're
also a part of London’s Candies in Green and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Our bricks
make up both Mercy Medical Center and Aultman Hospital. And the latest project we’ve
worked on is the new Federal Courthouse in Downtown Canton."
        But Belden also has a national reputation that it is rightfully proud of. Their
products comprise the homes of the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers, the St.
Louis Cardinals, and the Dallas Stars and Mavericks. They also lend a dignified look to
corporate headquarters for McDonalds and Anheuser Busch, along with a host of other
office buildings and college campuses.
        What does Belden see as the reason for the company's success over the past one-
and-one-quarter centuries?
        "Belden Brick has consistently focused on making a quality product that sets the
industry standard," Belden said. "This was our philosophy from the time Paul Belden Sr.
(Belden's Great Grandfather) joined the company in 1904. He was dedicated to seeing
that the company’s best efforts were placed on quality and customer service."
        Belden explained that the company has great raw materials to work with and has
always supported their manufacturing facilities and the people running them with the
Belden 125th                                                                          Page 3

tools need to make a quality product. "That’s what has carried us throughout our 125 year
        What kind of change has the company seen during this time?
        "Technology is the big change," said Belden. "The process of making brick has
significantly changed over the past century. The drying and firing process now is much
more efficient than 125 years ago. We’ve also moved to more of a veneer product than a
structural product. But what I think is more interesting is what hasn't changed - namely
the product itself. Brick is still a product of choice. It's durable, it has a great aesthetic
appearance, and the different colors and styles let almost everyone find a brick style they
        And what would Belden say to someone who might comment that, "It's just
        "I would say there’s much more to it than you might think," he laughs. "At
Belden, we put in the extra time and effort to make the highest quality possible. And it's
that commitment to quality and excellence that has seen us this far, and will undoubtedly
take us far into the future."

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