Welcome to the Albert Reed story


Albert Reed leaning on a generator powered by 2 Catapillar Deisel Engines in the Machine Shop.
Claybank Brick Plant Site


by Jeanne Reed

My father was born in Quebec City, Quebec in 1898. He started to work at the Claybank Brick Plant in April 1928 as Chief Engineer and Master Mechanic. He also held a steam and boiler license.

Dad met the love of his life, Ina Palmer in a dental office in Moose Jaw. They were married October 1932, and he moved Mother from the city to the Brick Plant. They took up residence in the house on the west side of the Brick Plant Site, this house is still standing today. We remained there until 1949. In 1940 along came their first daughter, Judy, Mother had a reservation at the hospital in Moose Jaw for the delivery. In 1942 along came another daughter, also with a hospital reservation but this baby came early. It was an unusually rainy month that June so he had to take the hand rail car down to the village of Claybank that was only one mile away....half way there the belt broke and he had to push the hand rail car back to the plant and "FIX THAT," which he did. This mishap caused an untimely delay and by the time he returned with the Doctor I (Jeanne) was already born! As far as I know I was the only child born at the Claybank Brick Plant Site.

The Saskatchewan winters were harsh and long and Mother (the city Gal) had to learn how to make bread and adjust to a rural way of life. So….. in 1949 Mother decided country life was really not for her, and we moved to 1137 3rd Ave. in Moose Jaw, and Dad moved to the Staff Apartment in the Bunk House. He would come to Moose Jaw on the weekends and Wednesdays if the roads or weather permitted.

I missed my Dad and enthusiastically spent all my school holidays at the Brick Plant with him. Dad taught me how to work almost every machine at the Plant. When there was a strike, thank goodness it was a short strike, the kilns were still fired with coal and they needed to be stoked, so Dad got the TD 9 and I got the dump truck and off we went to keep the fires burning. As I recall all 10 kilns were burning at that time and it took us until the wee small hours of the morning to shovel the coal into all the grates! We were very tired, but "Oh My" was it a good tired, because I had been there to work with and help my Dad!

One of the jobs that I had been given was to plough the fire guard with the Fordson Tractor, this guard encircled and safeguarded the Plant. One day I drove too close to the edge of the dam and the Fordson started to slide down the embankment. I gingerly got off and ran to get my Dad; he made me get back on the tractor and stood there while he told me how to back it out safely. My knees were surely knocking that day and believe me I never made that mistake again.

One year we figured we needed a lot of potatoes to get through the winter so back to the Fordson Tractor again, we plowed and plowed a great size garden. When it came to planting the rows and rows of potatoes this is what we did. Dad hooked up the 'one furrow plough' to the back of the tractor, he drove the tractor and I rode the furrow, throwing one piece of potato at a time into the trench that the furrow had dug. When we came around for another pass the furrow covered the first row and so on. Thus the potatoes were planted, seemed easy enough, until they had to be hilled and weeded, what a job! When we measured the length of the row and multiplied the number of rows we had miles of potatoes! Needless to say there was no one who wanted for potatoes that winter.

From time to time Dad held small celebrations in the Bunk House with many a rooster set on the fireplace mantel in the Staff Apartment and given a few sips of cheer. When the rooster started to teeter Dad would tuck the roosters head under his wing, stroke it a few times on his wing and it would go soundly to sleep. Where the roosters came from I have no idea, as things like that were not spoken of, but we did have some great meals.

Albert was responsible for anything mechanical at the Brick Plant. He designed pulleys and could build or repair almost anything needed at the Site. I remember once when the fired bricks came out of the kiln and were not perfectly square. Dad went to work and designed a cutter (which is still at the Plant today) to square the bricks. I remember this machine well, because I helped him build it. We would work on it for many long hours in the evenings.

Dad was certainly a real stickler for doing things right and leaving a clean work bench in the Engine Room at the close of business each day.

Dad retired to Moose Jaw in 1966 after 38 years at the Claybank Brick Plant.


Nick Petro passenger and Albert Reed driver, 1935
Claybank Brick Plant Site


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