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A. P. Green (1875 – 1956)

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Introduction

A. P. Green was a successful manufacturer who brought jobs and economic growth to Missouri. His fire brick business, also known as the refractory industry, became a multimillion-dollar firm with branches all over the world. His refractory products
Refractory products resist high heat and fire. They allow people to contain, insulate, and control fire and heat inside home and factory furnaces and to insulate pipes carrying heat. Green’s refractory products included fire bricks in many shapes and sizes, as well as cements, lime, insulation coatings, and mortar to bond the bricks together.
contributed significantly to the largest period of industrial growth in United States history. They also played an essential role in the winning of two world wars and the massive rebuilding projects that took place afterward.
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Early Years

Allen Percival Green was born on July 22, 1875, in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was the son of Joseph Henry Green, a real estate investor, and Eliza Homan McHenry Green. His family The 1880 Census of Pettis County, Missouri, lists J. H. Green, his wife, Eliza, and children living at home at that time: Mable, Bessie and Percy (Allen Percival or A. P.), age 4. The census also lists Mary Moore, the family cook.

[1880 U.S. Census, Pettis County, Missouri]
and friends called him “Percy.” He attended public schools Green attended high school in the top floor of Central School. The lower floors housed the elementary and other secondary grades.

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in Jefferson City and graduated in 1893 from high school. Percy then enrolled at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy
Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla, campus view, around 1894 Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla, campus view, around 1894

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Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology)

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Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy Students using engineering equipment outdoors Students using engineering equipment outdoors

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Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy library Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy library

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in Rolla in 1894. He left college after only one year to start a career as an engineer for the city of Sedalia, Missouri. After spending three years as an assistant city engineer, Percy moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he became a salesman for the Harbison-Walker Refractories Company. In four years Percy was promoted to general manager of the company. His long and productive career in the refractory industry
Refractory materials have allowed people to use fire and extreme heat to make products for centuries. The unique ability to withstand extremely high temperatures and retain form and chemical properties make refractory materials such as aluminum and bricks suitable for lining furnaces, kilns, and other equipment. All manufacturing industries that require heat, especially steel industries, use refractory products in some form or another. Many kinds of raw material are used to make refractory products. One important raw material is clay.
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Building a Life and Successful Business

A. P. Green in 1904; portrait with watch A. P. Green, around 1904 A. P. Green, around 1904.

[A. P. Green Papers, 1926-1958 (C2960), The State Historical Society of Missouri, Manuscript Collection-Columbia]

A. P. Green married Sara Josephine Brown Sara Josephine Brown (1874 – 1957)

[Courtesy of University Archives, University of Missouri-Columbia]
of Sedalia on June 17, 1903. In 1904 they moved back to Missouri. Green became vice president and general manager of the Evens and Howard Fire Brick Company in St. Louis. The Greens raised a family The 1910 Census of St. Louis County, Missouri, lists Allen [P.] Green and Josephine, and their children: Elizabeth, Martha, Josephine, and twin boys Allen and Robert.

[13th Census of the United States, Population Schedule, “St. Louis County, Missouri”]
of three daughters—Elizabeth, Martha, and Josephine—and twin sons—Allen, Jr. and Robert. The Greens’ grandson, Christopher “Kit” Bond Christopher Samuel “Kit” Bond (1939 – ).

Kit Bond is the grandson of A. P. Green. He was born in St. Louis and grew up in Mexico, Missouri. He served two terms as governor of Missouri, 1973-1977 and 1981-1985. Missourians elected him as a U.S. senator in 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2004. His father was Arthur Doerr Bond (1902–1983), and his mother was Elizabeth Carlyle Green Bond (1904–1986), one of A. P. Green’s three daughters.


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, was governor of Missouri and a U.S. senator.

While working for Evens and Howard, Green visited the Mexico Brick and Fire Clay Company, a small fire brick plant in Mexico, Missouri. The company sat nearly on top of a prized vein of clay. Green was impressed with the large clay deposits near the surface of the ground. In fact, the area in and around Audrain County once had one of the richest deposits of fire clay in the world. This natural resource was especially suitable for refractory purposes, and it could easily be mined by the open-pit method with steam shovels, thus avoiding expensive underground extraction.

Mexico Brick and Fire Clay Company Mexico Brick and Fire Clay Co. Mexico Brick and Fire Clay Company, around 1926.

[A. P. Green Papers, 1926-1958 (C2960), The State Historical Society of Missouri, Manuscript Collection-Columbia]

Confident of the plant’s potential, Green encouraged the owners of Evens and Howard to purchase the Mexico facility. When they declined, Green decided to buy it himself. It was 1910, and Green was thirty-five years old. He used most of his personal savings to purchase Mexico Brick and Fire Clay for $85,000.

An open pit mine An open pit mine Open pit mining operations next to the A. P. Green Fire Brick Company in Mexico, Missouri, 1955.

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It was at this facility that Green began making his fortune. He worked hard and poured all of his income back into the growing company. Five years later, when the A. P. Green Fire Brick Company
A. P. Green Fire Brick Company An advertisement from the 1918 Standard Atlas of Audrain County, Missouri showing A. P. Green Fire Brick Company buildings

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A. P. Green Fire Brick Company A map from 1918 showing the eastern portion of Mexico, Missouri, and the A. P. Green Fire Brick Company

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A. P. Green Fire Brick Company A detailed map from 1918 showing the eastern portion of Mexico, Missouri, and the A. P. Green Fire Brick Company

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was incorporated, the value of the facility and equipment had risen to over $200,000.

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The A. P. Green Fire Brick Company

A stiff mud machine for making bricks A stiff mud machine for making bricks The A. P. Green Company used this stiff mud machine to make brick until 1917 when the company purchased a secondhand dry press for $800.

[A. P. Green Papers, 1926-1958 (C2960), The State Historical Society of Missouri, Manuscript Collection-Columbia]

By the beginning of World War I, the A. P. Green Company was rapidly becoming a major supplier of refractory products. Another facility opened west of the main plant, near downtown Mexico, in time to meet the demands of the European conflict. Named after Green’s wife, it was commonly referred to as the Josephine plant Josephine Plant

[A. P. Green Papers, 1926-1958 (C2960), The State Historical Society of Missouri, Manuscript Collection-Columbia]
. The original facility had already tripled its production in less than a decade. With two factories in operation, the company strengthened its place in the fire brick industry. Always concerned about the welfare of his non-unionized employees, Green routinely gave lectures about safety issues to his staff.

The time between World Wars I and II brought mixed economic results. The Green Company continued to expand
A flow chart is needed to trace the numerous facilities purchased or launched by the A. P. Green Company and the mergers made with other businesses during its years of operation. In the U.S. alone, twelve states had Green manufacturing units in the 1970s, all of which helped meet the growing demand for specialty products. The company first established an international presence by acquiring a plant in Canada in the early 1930s. Another facility in Argentina was added a few years later. By the 1970s, the A. P. Green Company owned or held equity positions in companies in over fifteen countries.
by making purchases in international and domestic markets during the 1930s economic depression.
The A. P. Green Fire Brick Company interior office, circa 1919 The A. P. Green Fire Brick Company The A. P. Green Fire Brick Company interior office, circa 1919.

World War II brought more profitable years with its huge demand for refractory products to line boilers in war ships. The military awarded the Army-Navy “E” for Excellence and the Maritime “M” to the A. P. Green Company in recognition for its achievements during the war.
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Green's Legacy

A. P. Green’s impact has gone beyond the jobs he created and the industry he influenced. His and his wife’s many charitable contributions still assist Mexico and the surrounding communities.

Established in 1941, the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation has primarily funded medical research, but it has also made grants to other interests. The foundation gave large grants to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, for an endowed chair in English literature, to the University of Missouri to build the A. P. Green Chapel on the Columbia campus, and to Washington University in St. Louis to endow a chair in pediatric neurology. Josephine Green suffered from Parkinson’s, and the foundation gave grants totaling over $900,000 for researching that illness.

In 1946, Green retired as president of A. P. Green Company Interior of A.P. Green Company, around 1955.

The family business continued with Robert Stafford Green, one of A. P.’s sons, assuming the presidential duties for the next four years. The first non-family member joined the board of directors in 1950 when William S. Lowe was named president. Though the family held a majority on the board the first decade after Green’s retirement, they gradually began offering stock to the public. The family’s majority on the board ended in 1966. That same year shares of A. P. Green were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, opening the door for U.S. Gypsum to acquire the company in 1967. The company is currently part of the ANH Refractories Company.


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, though he stayed active in it, serving as a director and chairman of the board until his death ten years later. The year of his retirement, Green was a member of the Westminster College Board of Trustees when Winston Churchill delivered the famous "Iron Curtain" speech Winston Churchill giving the “Iron Curtain” address at Westminster College on March 5, 1946.

A. P. Green was a member of the Westminster College Board of Trustees when Winston Churchill accepted an honorary degree and delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton on March 5, 1946. Winston Churchill (1874–1965), former prime minister of the United Kingdom, at the invitation of then-president Harry S. Truman, journeyed from his native England to deliver a speech that predicted the course of foreign affairs for the next several decades. Known as the “Iron Curtain Speech,” Churchill’s remarks outline the stark difference between the “free and democratic” governments of the United States and Western Europe and the repressive and communist government of the Stalinist-run Soviet Union. The speech is commonly thought to have accurately described, if not initiated, the Cold War between Western powers and the area controlled by the Soviet Union. For more information about Winston Churchill and his historic speech, visit the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library.


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in Fulton. A. P. Green died in St. Louis on June 9, 1956. He was entombed in the Green mausoleum at the East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Mexico. The effects of his business and philanthropic initiatives can still be felt in Missouri today.

 


Text by David Moore and Carlynn Trout with research assistance by Jillian Hartke

Meets Show-Me Standards SS: 2, 6, 7; 4th grade GLE 2a.A.

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References and Resources

For more information about A. P. Green's life and career, see the following resources:

Society Resources

The following is a selected list of books, articles, and manuscripts about A. P. Green in the research centers of The State Historical Society of Missouri. The Society’s call numbers follow the citations in brackets. All links will open in a new tab.


  • Articles from the Missouri Historical Review
    • Moore, David F. “The A. P. Green Papers and Other Records of the Refractories Business.” v. 100, no. 3 (April 2006), pp. 174–77.
  • Articles from the Newspaper Collection
    • “A. P. Green, 80, dies Saturday; Funeral Rites at 11 Tomorrow.” Mexico Evening Ledger. June 11, 1956. pp. 1, 5.
    • “A. P. Green Dies, Head of Brick Firm.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 11, 1956. p. 38.
    • “Allen P. Green Dies.” Kansas City Star. June 11, 1956. p. 6.
    • “Brick Plant Set to Close in Mexico.” Columbia Daily Tribune. December 1, 2002. p. 3A.
    • “Funeral Services Tomorrow for A. P. Green, Founder of Huge Fire Brick Industry in Mexico.” Columbia Missourian. June 11, 1956. p. 1.
    • “Green Home Among Largest in Missouri.” Mexico Evening Ledger. March 24, 1941. p. 1.
    • “Losing Steam: Mexico, Mo., Is Coping with the Demise of Its Once-great Refractories Industry.” Columbia Daily Tribune. January 21, 2002. p. 1B.
  • Books & Articles
    • “A. P. Green Refractories Co.; Master of Fire.” The Harbinger. Jefferson City: Missouri Division of Commerce and Industrial Development, 1970. v. 3, no. 3 (October 1970), pp. 26­31. [REF M330 M691h 1970]
    • Audrain County Historical Society. History of Audrain County Missouri; An Update 1936–1986. Mexico, Mo., 1986. pp. 245-248, 464-465. [REF F604 H629 1986]
    • “Chapel on the Campus.” Missouri Alumnus. v. 48, no. 3 (November 1959), pp. 6-16. [REF 378.778 T17 1959]
    • Christensen, Lawrence O., William E. Foley, Gary R. Kremer, and Kenneth H. Winn, eds. Dictionary of Missouri Biography. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999. pp. 348-49. [REF F508 D561]
    • Ford, James E. A History of Jefferson City, Missouri's State Capital and of Cole County. Jefferson City: New Day Press, 1938. pp. 445-446. [REF F626 F753]
    • Green, Martha McHenry. The Five Little Greens. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Press, 1985. [REF F508.2 G824]
    • Johnston, J. W., editor. The Illustrated Sketch Book and Directory of Jefferson City and Cole County. Jefferson City: Missouri Illustrated Sketch Book Co., 1900. pp. 323-324. [REF F626 J644i]
    • Keller, W. D. The Intimate Life of A Missouri Fire Brick. Mexico, MO: A. P. Green Fire Brick Company. n.d. [REF H172.28 G82i]
    • Ogle, George A. Standard Atlas of Audrain County, Missouri. Chicago: Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1918. [REF F604.3 Au28 1918]
    • Read, Orville H. The Refractories People: A History of the A. P. Green Refractories Company. Mexico, MO: A. P. Green Refractories Co., 1978. [REF H172.28 G82r]
    • Schooley, Herschel. Centennial History of Audrain County. Mexico, MO: McIntyre Publishing Company, 1937. pp. 215–216. [REF F604 Sch65]
    • Shoemaker, Floyd Calvin. Missouri and Missourians; Land of Contrasts and People of Achievements. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1943. v. 5. pp. 433-436. [REF F550 Sh73m v. 5]
    • Who Was Who in America. Chicago: A. N. Marquis, 1963. v. 3 (1951-1960). p. 342 [REF 920 W6201 v. 3]
  • Manuscript Collection

Outside Resources

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A. P. Green Allen Percival Green (1875 – 1956)

[A. P. Green Papers, 1926-1958 (C2960), The State Historical Society of Missouri, Manuscript Collection-Columbia]

Allen Percival Green

Born: July 22, 1875
Died: June 9, 1956 (age 80)
Categories: Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists
Region of Missouri: Central
Missouri Hometown: Jefferson City

A. P. Green's Signature