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Serving Lincoln & All Surrounding Areas
Serving Lincoln & All Surrounding Areas
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During the Gold Rush of 1849, Lincoln, California was an obscure outpost for miners seeking their fortunes in gold. Years passed, and since gold did not prove to be in abundance in Lincoln, the community stayed small and relatively unknown. But in 1874, a large clay deposit was discovered in Lincoln, attracting Charles Gladding to the area, who was a manufacturer of clay sewer pipes in Chicago. Gladding found the clay to be the perfect consistency for his product, and within a year, he had founded a new business with Peter McGill McBean and George Chambers.
Gladding, McBean quickly became a major manufacturer of terra cotta, tile, ceramics, roof tile, and a variety of other industrial materials used in American architecture into the twentieth century and beyond. Lincoln was the central hub for the company, shipping out ceramic products on the newly-built railroad in other parts of California, as well as the rest of the country.
Gladding, McBean tiles decorate many recognizable landmarks in the US, including the bell tower at Stanford University, Spreckels Theater in San Diego, and the early skyscrapers of Chicago. Still in business today, Gladding, McBean manufactures artisanal pottery in addition to their signature clay pipes, roof tiles, and terra cotta products.
In the 1960s, Gladding, McBean merged in a corporate partnership with Lock Joint Pipe Company, forming the Interpace Corporation. Shortly thereafter, in the mid-70s, Lock Joint Pipe announced they intended to close the factory in Lincoln, California and essentially cease pottery operations. The reputation and operations that had made Gladding, McBean famous were threatened to be swallowed up in other types of manufacturing. Luckily, Pacific Coast Building Products stepped in to save the day by purchasing the company and restore their original name. The Interpace Corporation was no more, and the pottery was safe.
Today, the Lincoln factory is still in operation, and employs a few hundred people. In an age of global economics, Gladding McBean maintains its operations in a tried and true fashion, with corporate headquarters also located in its original city of discovery. The recession hit Gladding, McBean hard, but they have weathered the worst of it and will continue on, even with reduced numbers.
The discovery of fine clay in Lincoln is instructive for students in Lincoln today. Often, they may believe tutors expect them to produce gold, and anything short of that kind of performance will not lead to success. Instead, tutors are interested in working with what skills and abilities students in Lincoln already have, and Gladding, McBean shows us that gold is not the only valuable discovery—in fact, the presence of the clay as a long-standing product in manufacturing in some ways is more valuable than gold, since it is an enduring resource for the region and the company. Sometimes unexpected discoveries happen in creative moments, by accident, and a good tutor working in Lincoln will recognize those moments and work to build them up with his or her clients. Students who are struggling to find gold in their academic performance perhaps should think differently about what constitutes success. The story of Gladding, McBean reinforces this lesson.
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