General Shale Products Corporation
The General Shale Products Corporation, Johnson City, Tennessee, was created through a buy-out and merger of the Kingsport Brick Corporation and the Johnson City Shale Brick Corporation by General Shale Products of Delaware in 1925. The newly consolidated East Tennessee company began operation September 1, 1928 after three years of negotiation. One year later four more regional quarry companies were purchased by the Johnson City Division of General Shale Products; these acquisitions included the Oliver Springs Company, Richlands Brick Company, Bristol Brick Company, and Jellico Brick and Coal Company. The Cherokee Brick Corporation of Knoxville, Tennessee also was leased by General Shale Products from 1929 to 1936. The original company management included: Sam R. Sells as President; E. H. Hunter as Vice-President; J. C. Stone as Secretary; and Glen Bruce as Treasurer.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s the region's finest homes, churches, and public schools were built from General Shale Products' red facing brick. During the company's peak production years, the Johnson City Division became the largest manufacturer and seller of brick in the United States, annually producing 1.2 billion bricks. As a result of General Shale Products acquisition of several of its regional competitors and an increase in its production, the East Tennessee company was able to capture and control between 12% and 15% of the total market share within the United States by the end of the first half of the twentieth century.