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Tahawus in Essex County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Making Bricks

 
 
Making Bricks Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
1. Making Bricks Marker
Inscription.  
1,000s OF BRICKS
Construction of the furnaces and kilns required a large quantity of bricks, both common bricks, some of which were made on site, and firebricks that had to be imported. Piles of bricks still visible in several locations today provide durable evidence of both the facilities where they were produced and the structures for which they were used.

CUTAWAY VIEW OF A PUG MILL
Clay and water were added to the mill in the right proportions and blended by the rotating blades to achieve the proper consistency.

BRICKYARD
This is an artist's conception of the possible layout of the brickworks based on archaeological evidence still visible today (items labeled in red). Robert Hunter was a brickmaker here. When the operation shut down in 1857, he stayed on as the caretaker of the deserted community until his wife died in 1872.

COMMON BRICK
Common brick is made from clay composed of silica, aluminum oxide, and other trace materials. A small percentage of iron oxide gives brick the red color. The grooves in the brick were made when the striker dragged
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harder rock fragments or pebbles across the surface.

FIREBRICK
Firebrick is made from clay that has a high aluminum oxide content, allowing it to withstand higher temperatures. It is required for surfaces that are in direct contact with furnace and kiln fires. A clay suitable for firebrick was not found on site so these bricks had to be imported from Vermont. This firebrick bears the inscription of brickmakers EL & EH Farrar.

Brick Making Process

DIG CLAY BY HAND
Natural sources of clay were found nearby that were suitable for common brick. The clay was dug out in the fall and left over winter to weather.

MIX WITH WATER
The clay was mixed with water in a pug mill until the optimum moisture content for forming was reached.

FORM AND STRIKE
Bricks were formed one at a time in a mold. The excess clay was scraped off with a board; a process called 'striking.

AIR DRY
The 'green' bricks were air dried to remove excess moisture

FIRE IN A KILN
In the final step the bricks were fired in a kiln to give them ceramic qualities.

 
Erected by Open Space Institute.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1857.
 
Location. 44° 
Upper Inset image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
2. Upper Inset
The blades for a pug mill, shown above, were found in the brickyard where they fell when the wood parts rotted away over 150 years ago.
4.728′ N, 74° 3.364′ W. Marker is in Tahawus, New York, in Essex County. Marker can be reached from Upper Works Road (Route 25) 9.1 miles north of Blue Ridge Road, on the right. Marker is at the base of the furnace. It is reached via a trail from the parking area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newcomb NY 12879, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Monumental Structure (here, next to this marker); “New” McIntyre Furnace (a few steps from this marker); Hudson Powered (a few steps from this marker); An Iron Making Complex (within shouting distance of this marker); Heavy Construction (within shouting distance of this marker); Tahawus Clubhouse (approx. half a mile away); Adirondac (approx. half a mile away); MacNaughton Cottage (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tahawus.
 
Making Bricks Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel
3. Making Bricks Marker
Making Bricks Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
4. Making Bricks Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 6, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 162 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on April 6, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.   2. submitted on April 7, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.   3, 4. submitted on April 6, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
 
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Apr. 12, 2024