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

The Beehive Brick Kiln

 
 
The Beehive Brick Kiln Marker image. Click for full size.
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.
 
Location. 38° 40.906′ N, 77° 15.204′ W. Marker is near Occoquan, Virginia, in 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 in this post office area: Lorton VA 22079, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Women Suffrage Prisoners at Occoquan Workhouse ( a few steps from this marker); 1804 Boundary Stone
The Beehive Brick Kiln image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
2. The Beehive Brick Kiln
( approx. 0.3 miles away); 1804 Occoquan Town Plat ( approx. 0.3 miles away); Occoquan Wharves ( approx. 0.3 miles away); Town of Occoquan ( approx. 0.4 miles away); Ebenezer Baptist Church ( approx. 0.4 miles away); Ogle Harris’ Store ( approx. 0.4 miles away); Lest We Forget ( approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Occoquan.
 
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 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
Inside the Beehive image. Click for full size.
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.
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/
 
Categories. 20th CenturyIndustry & CommerceNotable Events
 
Inside the Beehive, from the other side. image. Click for full size.
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.
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 June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 5,706 times since then and 173 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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