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Middletown CT

There are many different labels given to bricks – most of them derived from how the brick is made.

The most striking distinction is that between extruded bricks and pressed bricks.

An extruded brick is made by forcing a continuous column of clay through a mould and cutting the column into individual bricks one section at a time with a series of wires. The layperson will generally refer to extruded bricks as “bricks with holes in them.” The holes in extruded bricks are created by the design of the mould and allow mortar to lock the bricks together when they are laid.

Some extruded bricks are also referred to as wirecut bricks. All extruded bricks are cut by wires, but the term wirecut is generally applied to those bricks with the rough textured face that is created by the wire dragging across the clay.

Pressed bricks are made individually in mould boxes. Instead of having holes through them, bonding with the mortar in the finished wall is achieved by the frog, the name given to the indentation in the top of a pressed brick.
I made sand molded clay brick at a brickyard in Connecticut, next to the Connecticut river. Michael Kane Brick 654 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT was there from 1948 - 1989.

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That site had a clay pit. Once the overburden was removed the solid clay deposit went to a depth of 150 feet. There had been a brickyard on that site for many years.

Tuttle was there from 1842-1940

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I worked there on two occasions. On the first occasion the brick were being fired in a laboriously constructed rectangular kiln. Built entirely out of green, (unfired) brick. It took thousands of brick to make it. When complete it measured roughly 30' X 12' X 30'. The kiln was fired by heating oil, pushed through a nozzle under air pressure that caused the oil to be turned into a spray that shot the flame several feet into the arches that were spaced approximately every 10 feet along the base of the kiln.

For all of that work, nearly 50% of the brick were under cured and too soft to sell. They were hauled out and dumped on the back of the property.

The brick machine was of a 1930's vintage and at peak efficiency would crank out about 108 brick per minute.

In my first time at Kane I started out on the brick pile and worked through the production area, learning most all of the duty stations. I got laid off and moved back to Missouri as the cost of living in Connecticut was too high to sustain on unemployment.

About a year and a half later, I was working in Missouri for a feed company hauling bulk feed for around six dollars an hour when I got a call from Billy Woodman with Kane brick. He offered me a salary of about $500 a week to come back and be in charge of production. Needless to say, I said yes and beat feet back to Connecticut.

I was informed upon arrival that they wanted production increased. They had also abandoned the old kiln model and were now using a stationary kiln that produced over 90% marketable face brick. The only hiccup with the new kiln system was that they needed two on line in order to effectively employ the new system and they only had one on line.

When I came in, production stood at about 30-32,000 brick per day. The general manager was pretty fatalistic. He said the production couldn't be increased with the old machine, the current employees, etc. etc. He was wanting the company to invest around $250,000 on new machinery.

In four months production was upwards of 48,000 brick per day, a 30% rise in productivity with no other changes or investment other than paying my salary and throwing me into the production area.

They fired me with no explanation.

Go figure.
 

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Heh, I once completed a job 18 million under budget and 6 months early. Then I got chewed out for it. Turns out that was grant money and they wanted to spend it all.

Why, I asked? You got what you wanted.

Because next time they would not get as much.
 

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Heh, I once completed a job 18 million under budget and 6 months early. Then I got chewed out for it. Turns out that was grant money and they wanted to spend it all.

Why, I asked? You got what you wanted.

Because next time they would not get as much.
A big accomplishment with the added bonus of pissing someone off. :D
 
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