Grand Ledge Clay Products Company was founded in June 1906 by a small group of local businessmen. The first president was E. A. Turnbill, the owner. Other funding owners were R. E. Olds, John W. Fitzgerald, the father of a Michigan governor, and F. A. Tabor, who served as secretary and manager. Initially, the Company made conduit pipe for underground telephone wires. The heavy work was difficult. One wheelbarrow full of pipes weighed 350 pounds and was lifted by one man.
While layoffs occurred during the Depression, the most memorable event was the disastrous fire of May 1937 which completely leveled the plant and destroyed numerous dies used for molding conduit tiles. When the plant was rebuilt, the management expanded the line of products to include sewer tile and assorted drain tile. Eventually, products also included wall coping, sump crocks, and clay flue lining. A short, but bitter, strike in 1941 limited hours and increased wages of workers.
By 1980, the Company owned 63 acres and was still creating tile products. (This information is from Grand Ledge folk pottery traditions at work and Cast in clay : The folk pottery of Grand Ledge, Michigan.)