[Clayart] Cow paddys

Hank Murrow hmurrow at efn.org
Fri Apr 8 02:20:16 UTC 2022

Hello Group;

Back when I was a student in the 60s at the U of Oregon, we visited the Monroe Brickyards some 20 miles north of Eugene to see a firing in their brick clamps, which had fireboxes along the length of the clamp where zinc-shavings from a machine shop were tossed into the fireboxes to‘glaze' the nearest bricks, giving them a metallic grey sheen, and they were clever in stacking those brick for best effect. Got a premium price for those, they did.

Cheers, Hank in Eugene

> On Apr 7, 2022, at 3:41 PM, vpitelka at dtccom.net wrote:
> Hi Terry - 
> You mention "The Last Brickmaker."  Normally I avoid Hallmark movies like the plague, but my wife and I watched this one because it was one of Sidney Poitier's last films - the character he played was supposedly the last brickmaker doing it in a traditional way.  I do not remember the details, but I think the coal dust was added to provide a little porosity so that the bricks would fire more evenly and would have greater insulating value.  The movie is really worth seeing, because it shows the whole process from molding the bricks from clay.  He fires the bricks in a traditional "clamp," which is just a huge rectangular pile of bricks with fireboxes around the base and flue channels passing through the pile.  There's no conventional kiln.  They build fires in the fireboxes and the heat circulates through the flues, heating the bricks.  The flues exit in the top of the pile, and the movie shows them regulating the heat by partially covering the flue exits.  When the firing is done, the bricks along the fireboxes and flue channels would be melted, and the bricks along the outside of the kiln would be unfired.  Between those extremes there would be bricks ranging from pinkish soft-fired, classic brick-red, to fairly dark red-brown, depending on how hot they got.  It's a fascinating process.  
> - Vince

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