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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Lorton in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Beehive Brick Kiln

 
 
The Beehive Brick Kiln Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
1. The Beehive Brick Kiln Marker
Inscription.  From the turn of the century until the late 1960’s nine kilns on this site were operated by inmates of the Lorton correctional facility.

The bricks stacked inside this kiln are ready to be baked. For 4 to 5 days coal fires in each of the hearths were stoked around the clock. Hot air rose along the inside of the vaulted walls but did not escape through the hole in the ceiling. Heat was sucked down through the bricks, between louvers in the floor, across an underground flue, and up the tall chimney which stands beside the kiln.

These kilns were a primary local source of the red brick used in constructing the historic durable buildings now seen throughout northern Virginia. Today beehive kilns are little used.
 
Erected by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the NOVA Parks series list.
 
Location. 38° 40.906′ N, 77° 15.204′ W. Marker is near Lorton, Virginia, in
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Fairfax County. Marker is on Occoquan Regional Park Road near Ox Road (Virginia Route 123), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9751 Ox Rd, Lorton VA 22079, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Turning Point Suffragist Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Suffragist Commemorative Wall (within shouting distance of this marker); Silent for Suffrage (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Suffragist Commemorative Wall (within shouting distance of this marker); "Forward Into Light," Toward Equality, 1920 - Present / The 19th Amendment (within shouting distance of this marker); "Forward Out of Darkness" / Issuing a Call for Women's Rights (within shouting distance of this marker); Building a Political Movement / Testing Constitutional Amendments (within shouting distance of this marker); Hard-Fought Ratification Campaigns in the States / The Continued Struggle for Voting Rights (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lorton.
 
Regarding The Beehive Brick Kiln. Inside the fireholes were baffles or ‘bag’ of firebricks. It had a domed roof and a perforated floor under which ran a flue leading to the chimney stack. The circular or ‘beehive’ kiln had a capacity of about 12,000 green bricks. Coal was lit inside
The Beehive Brick Kiln image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
2. The Beehive Brick Kiln
the firehole grates and hot gases were directed upward from the baffles and then downwards from the underside of the dome and through the stacked bricks by the draught from the chimney.

Altogether it took fourteen days or so to operate, with two days for loading or setting, three days for ‘curing,’ two days for heating to full temperature, one day at full heat, then another three or four days to cool down and a further day to unload or draw.

This information and the illustration in Picture 6 were obtained from an article on Brickmaking History, on the Isle of Wight Industrial Archaeology Society Website: http://www.iwias.org.uk/
 
Inside the Beehive image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
3. Inside the Beehive
This picture is taken through the door seen in Picture 2. It shows the bricks stacked up, ready for firing.
Inside the Beehive, from the other side. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
4. Inside the Beehive, from the other side.
This picture is taken from the other side of the kiln, inside a door nearer the chimney. In addition to the stacks of bricks, you can see the hole in the ceiling.
The Beehive Brick Kiln image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
5. The Beehive Brick Kiln
This picture is taken from the north side of the kiln. You can see the door through which Picture 4 was taken.
An illustration of the firing process. image. Click for full size.
6. An illustration of the firing process.
Illustration obtained from an article on Brickmaking History, on the Isle of Wight Industrial Archaeology Society Website: http://www.iwias.org.uk/
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 7, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 7,190 times since then and 255 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 7, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 12, 2024