Standard Clay Products

Standard Clay Products Ltd. opened a manufacturing facility in New Glasgow in the early 1900s, using clay extracted on the property as the key ingredient.

Originally called Standard Drain Pipe Ltd, the company was based in St. Johns, Quebec, and founded by Wallace Trotter Sr. It was renamed Standard Clay Products in 1913 and was Canada’s largest manufacturer of clay products. It established its New Glasgow operation in 1902.

Fires in both 1907 and 1913 destroyed the New Glasgow facility. It was rebuilt both times and, according to a 1916 book called “Nova Scotia’s Industrial Centre” about New Glasgow, Stellarton, Trenton and Westville, the site then included office buildings and two plants, one with nine kilns and the other with ten.

The first plant had a capacity of thirty carloads, and the second thirty-five carloads, per week. Working 300 days per year, the facility’s total capacity was about 3300 carloads per year, or 52,000 tons annually.

The facility employed about 150 people and produced a range of products, including salt-glazed vitrified sewer pipes ranging in size from 4 to 24 inches, connections, culvert pipes, flue linings, stove linings, fire bricks, range bricks, locomotive blocks, gulley traps, hollow vitrified building blocks, cupola linings, and all kinds of fire clay goods.

All of the products were made of clay extracted on-site. According to Nova Scotia’s Industrial Centre, “In fact it was the high character of the raw material, which prompted the company to locate a factory here. The raw material in sight on the sixty- three acres owned by the company was recently estimated by the Canadian Appraisal Company to be over 2,000,000 tons, all located above drainage, and easily and cheaply obtainable.”

Construction of the Standard Clay Products Ltd. facility in the Parkdale area of New Glasgow led to the growth of the area in the early 1900s. According to James M. Cameron’s “The Industrial History of the New Glasgow District,” locals often referred to Parkdale as “Pipetown.”

The company’s facilities were also used as barracks and offices for the Department of National Defence during WWII when DND trained soldiers in Parkdale. After WWII, Eastern Woodworkers Ltd. used the site as an assembly plant for various types of buildings, including mining camps and barracks huts for the far north.

Standard Clay Products continued to operate in New Glasgow for decades. The Trotter family sold the facility to Feralco Industries Ltd. of Montreal in 1957. However, the operation ran into financial problems a few years later and declared bankruptcy in 1963.

The Standard Clay Products facility was not far from Torbanite Products Limited, which mined coal with high oil content in the hope that the oil could be extracted from the coal. It did not go well. See the story at