A hymn to Nibru and Ishme-Dagan (Ishme-Dagan W): translation
( Nippur ruins way below Enlil‘s mountain-type residence)
A1- A19 City whose terrifying splendor extends over heaven and earth,
whose towers are exceptionally grand, shrine Nibru ( Nippur )!
Your power reaches to the edges of the uttermost extent of heaven and earth.
Of all the brick buildings erected in the Land, your brickwork is the most excellent.
You have allowed all the foreign lands and as many cities as are built to receive excellent divine powers.
Your name is as excellent as your excellent divine powers (alien technologies).
Your soil is soil as good as your name.
City, your name towers ( 1 ms. has instead: your divine powers tower) over heaven and earth.
( Enlil‘s communication towers in Nippur )
A20-A37 You are the pillar (?) in the south and the uplands, the mooring post of all people.
Your divine powers are supreme divine powers (alien technologies)
with which no divine powers can compare.
Your plans are as if rooted in the abzu, endowed with great terrifying splendor.
As if it were the lovely earth itself, no one can comprehend your eminence.
Your pre-eminent destiny surpasses all praise.
You are a lofty hill that no one can reach.
Outstanding, with head high, you reach to the heavens.
A38-A56 Your interior towers up, and your exterior is awesome.
You were built as life-giving food for the Anuna ( Anunnaki ) gods
(when the giant alien gods worked to survive on Earth Colony, prior mankind)
you were beautified for their eating and drinking.
You are the sheepfold which is there for their life.
(giant gods with advanced technologies they used over earthlings)
Nothing escapes your grasp, as if caught in the threads of an outspread net.
Shrine Nibru ( Nippur ), your activities are quite excellent, quite surpassing all description.
The divine powers that you allocate are a good fortune which cannot be overturned.
(mud-brick-built ruins of the E-kur in Nippur )
A57-A71 City, your interior is holy, your exterior is radiant.
Your body exudes terrifying splendor.
(Sumer, “Eden” between the rivers, built by Enlil , the Anunnaki leader)
Your location is a well-chosen location.
The lord of wisdom, Enlil , the Great Mountain, has built a sanctuary in your midst
that sanctuary is a lapis-lazuli sanctuary, a sanctuary that can decide destinies.
(E-kur, Enlil‘s residence / Command Central in Nippur)
It is the E-kur , the lapis-lazuli temple, the temple that can decide the destinies.
( Ninlil on shore, Enlil , & son Nuska )
A72-A114 Your prince, Nunamnir ( Enlil ) , the steer who has engendered (?)
the divine powers, and mother Ninlil , the great lady of your Ki-ur (inner residence) ,
the lady who has born the divine powers — what god is there living in the Land like these two?
They have cultically purified (?) …….
They have settled ……, and taken their seats upon the good, great and praiseworthy divine powers.
( Enlil , alien royal King Anu‘s son & heir, Commander of the Anunnaki on Earth Colony)
The Anuna ( Anunnaki aliens) gaze at them as if at their own father and mother,
listening attentively when they speak holy and most precious words in the correct manner.
Enlil and Ninlil looked at the heavens, while on earth they set bounds (?)
and then, once their intention became clear in the great heavens and on the broad earth,
the Anuna gods of heaven ( Nibiru )and earth ( giant aliens) set to work.
The mattock and the earth-basket, tools for founding cities,
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B1-B1 2 lines unclear
( Anu & Enlil survey the lands & establishes the cities of Sumer)
The command for the whole of heaven and earth ……
…… of the king, with wide understanding, who knows all …….
They heed the holy words uttered, as if they were those of their own father and mother.
(E-kur, command central, residence of Enlil & Ninlil in Nippur)
They direct (?) their gaze to the E-kur ( Enlil‘s temple residence), the solemn shrine.
The important commands of Enlil and Ninlil …….
They have placed in the hands of the great hero Ninurta ( Enlil’s son & heir to kingship ) the power
to make heaven and earth tremble at his solemn utterances.
They have covered (?) his mouth with …… like finest oil.
They have placed the divine powers of heaven and the divine powers of earth in his hands.
( Ninurta , warrior son & heir to Enlil , 2nd in line for alien Anunnaki kingship )
the youth who subdues the foreign lands, the lord who plunders the cities …….
Father Enlil and the great mother (step-mother) Ninlil …… have …… him into the E-kur.
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C1-C1 3 lines damaged
(son Ninurta , Enlil , & son Nuska )
Enlil and Ninlil have bestowed this on Nuska , the lord who stands …….
Nibru ( Enlil‘s city, named after their planet Nibiru ),
no god excels like your lord and lady they are powerful princes, brilliantly revealed deities.
No god excels like Enlil and Ninlil they are powerful princes, lords who can decide destinies.
In your midst they have given divine powers to Nuska as minister .
Nibru, your holy songs are exceptionally precious, surpassing all praise.
(brick inscription of semi-divine king Ishme-Dagan )
I, (King) Icme-Dagan , have put them in everyone’s mouth for all time.
Ishme-Dagan and Enlil’s chariot (Ishme-Dagan I): translation
( Enlil , King Anu‘s son & heir to Nibiru‘s throne, Anu‘s Earth Colony Commander )
1 -8 August chariot! Enlil , the lord of wisdom, the father of the gods,
( Enlil ‘s mud-brick-built temple / residence inNippur )
ordered your construction in the E-kur , his exalted shrine.
He instructed Icme-Dagan , the wise shepherd called by an auspicious name,
born from a beautiful mother’s womb, the adviser of the Land,
to make your holy and pure divine powers (alien technologies) manifest.
He set to work on you and worked without stopping.
He decorated you with …… and lapis lazuli (blue-hued gem stone).
9-18 Your two …… are something to be marveled at.
Your furnishings are most outstanding, like a forest of aromatic cedars.
Your pole is a field with open furrows, an abundance of dappled grain.
Your …… is a thick cloud covering the …… of heaven all over.
Your yoke is a huge neck-stock from which there is no escape, which clamps down the evildoer.
Your rope-fastened pegs are laid down as a huge net spanning heaven and earth
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19-21 Your side-poles (?) are …… subduing the hostile countries.
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( Utu , the giant alien Sun god, son to Nannar )
28-40 Your mudguard is Utu ( Shamash , the Sun god ) …… the horizon, …….
The front of your mudguard is the ornament of (?) …….
Your implements are Nanna ( Nannar / Sin , moon crescent god ) who fills the midst of heaven with delight.
( Nannar / Sin , the Moon Crescent god of Ur, son to Enlil , long beard custom of the Anunnaki from planet Nibiru )
Your rope-box is a whip …… which rouses up the donkeys.
Your pole-pin is a huge open battle-net which does not let the evildoer escape.
Your farings are the exalted princely divine powers sought out with great care.
Your platform is warriors fiercely attacking each other.
Your side beams are strong breeding bulls carrying a heavy load.
Your cross-beams are …… young men embracing each other.
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62-64 At that time Icme-Dagan …… decorated the chariot with silver, gold, and lapis lazuli for his king, Enlil .
66-81 His great festival having been performed perfectly,
Enlil stepped onto the chariot and embraced mother Ninlil , his spouse.
He was followed by Ninurta ( Enlil ‘s son & heir), his mighty hero, and by the Anuna ( Anunnaki gods) who are with Enlil .
The chariot shimmers like lightening, its rumbling noise is sweet.
His donkeys are harnessed to the yoke.
Enlil came out on his august votive (?) chariot radiantly.
Ninurta , the support of his father, made the way pleasant.
Having reached the place which gladdens the soul, where the seed is blessed,
Enlil stepped down from his holy …… and established a feast.
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82-87 After you have taken out the implements to the …… fields from ……,
let the hoe and the plow, the implements of field workers rival each other before you.
The king has paid attention to Enlil‘s instructions:
Ninurta has prepared the holy plow, has plowed the fertile fields,
(when the giant alien gods did all the work on Earth)
and to see that the silos and granaries of Enlil will be piled up high, he has sown with good seed.
88-95 The young hero then proudly enters the resplendent E-kur,
lord Ninurta prays to Enlil : “Please, look with favor on Icme-Dagan , the accomplished shepherd,
who is at your service in the dining-hall on the king who has built you the chariot!
( Inanna , Goddess of Love & War , Nannar‘s daughter, goddess-spouse to Ishme-Dagan )
Give him Inana your beloved eldest daughter (granddaughter to Enlil ) as a spouse.
May they embrace each other forever!
May the days of delight and sweetness last long in her holy embrace full of life!”
An adab to Enlil for Ishme-Dagan (Ishme-Dagan H): translation
( Enlil , King Anu‘s son & heir to planet Nibiru & Earth Colony, born under the alien “Double Seed Law” )
Nunamnir ( Enlil ), the lord of just decrees, who possesses fully the great divine powers (technologies),
father Enlil , made your fearsomeness manifest in heaven and on the earth.
He made the gods of heaven stand by in heaven (?), and gave them (?) auspicious names.
The Anuna ( Anunnaki ) , its great gods, line up before you.
Enlil , they pay attention to your holy words and august statements.
Nunamnir , you alone are elevated in the entirety of heaven and earth. ……
of the Anuna gods, august shackle on all the lands, your …… is unfathomable.
Everything this lord has is surpassing, and his orders are not to be changed. ……
your divine powers surpass all others, your ways are ingenious, ……
you are the trustworthy shepherd even of far-away foreign countries.
( E-kur, Enlil ‘s mud-brick-built temple – residence in Nippur )
Father Enlil , your beloved …… E-kur , has been built in Ki-ur , in Dur-an-ki,
the place chosen by you your august dais has been set up there.
The divine powers of your shrine are precious, its true purification rites are august,
and its cultic ordinances are pure and ineffable.
The interior of E-kur is artfully fashioned, and no one may come to know it.
Let Icme-Dagan ( Ishme-Dagan ) care properly for its true divine plans and powers!
20 Enlil , through you may the term of kingship of Icme-Dagan , your beloved son, be enduring!
21 Jicgijal of the sa-gida.
22- 40 Enlil , great lord of the gods, elevated above the numerous people!
. …. great lord of the gods, elevated above the numerous people!
…… your august utterances are prominent.
…… cannot be countermanded, your statements are firm.
Decide a good fate …… for the constant attendant of your temple …….
May …… to the uttermost limits of heaven and earth …… exalted.
……, bestow on him …… a good reign, and prosperous years.
( Enlil , Commander on Earth)
An Adab to Bau for Ishme-Dagan (Ishme-Dagan B): translation
1-8 Lady, imbued with fearsomeness, whose greatness is recognized in heaven and on earth, perfect in nobility!
Mother Bau ( Gula ), foremost among ladies, warrior ……!
( Anu‘s daughter Bau , Medical Doctor, & Warden)
Powerful goddess, who perfectly controls the august divine powers (alien technologies), proud one, …… great intelligence!
……, true woman, wise lady who has been made knowledgeable from birth!
Daughter of An ( Anu ), expert, eloquent, who holds everything in her hand!
( Damu & his mother Bau give ancient medical attention, also Bau’s guard dog & Ninurta )
Lady, great doctor of the black-headed people, who keeps people alive, and brings them to birth.
Cuhalbi, incantation priestess of the numerous people, ……!
Merciful, compassionate one of the Land, lady of justice!
/> ( Enlil . King Anu‘s son & heir, Earth Colony Commander )
9- 19 Enlil , the king of all the foreign countries, Nunamnir ( Enlil ), the lord who determines the fates,
decreed something of great importance in the shrine Nibru, in Dur-an-ki:
he made you exalted in the shining E-kur ( Enlil ‘s temple residence in Nippur ), …….
You are the strong spread-net of Nunamnir .
Anguba priestess, who provides the E-kur with food, you are in charge of the wine.
(Princess Bau / Gula & her nephew-spouse Prince Ninurta )
You are Enlil‘s exalted daughter-in-law (& 1/2 sister), you are the one who stands next to him with the libation water (?).
Because you prostrated yourself humbly with supplications, Nunamnir , the prince of all the foreign countries,
entrusted to you the exalted office of accountant of heaven and earth, and exalted you,
giving you the rank of lady of the shrine which brought the seeds of mankind forth.
20-26 Your own father, An , the highest god, clothed you in the ma garment.
He gave you the warrior of Enlil , Ninjirsu ( Ninurta ) , as your husband.
He bestowed on you the E-ninnu, the holy city, the shrine which brought forth the seeds of mankind.
He has set up your lofty throne-dais in Lagac (Lagash ), in Jirsu, the mooring post of the Land,
In E-jalga-sud, your beloved residence, in Tar-sirsir, the temple of ladyship
and now all the gods of the land of Lagac bow down before your august residence.
27-30 Supreme lady, whose divine powers (alien technologies) are untouchable,
daughter of An , omniscient great lady, young woman,
(mother Bau , King Anu’s powerful daughter)
mother Bau , you have looked favorably on the young man of handsome form ,
prince Icme-Dagan , the (semi-divine descendant) son of Enlil (appointed to kingship )
you have determined for him a good fate once and for all.
( Bau , Ninurta‘s spouse & aunt, 1/2 sister to Earth Colony Commander Enlil )
32 It is mother Bau who is to give prince (King) Icme-Dagan , the son (descendant) of Enlil ,
a life of numerous days (bigger, faster, smarter. & could live much longer than earthlings)
33 Jicgijal of the sa-gida.
34-42 You introduced prince Icme-Dagan , clasping to his breast a white lamb and a sheep of auspicious omens,
into the E-namtila , Enlil‘s temple, and made him stand at the royal offering place of life.
Then you saluted the Great Mountain, Enlil , and told him:
( Enlil , Anu , & Enki in their sky-disc )
“Father Enlil , great lord of all the foreign countries, determine the fate of Icme-Dagan , call him by name!“
Enlil , the king of all the foreign countries, looked encouragingly upon him, beaming radiantly
and determined a fate for Icme-Dagan :
43-60 “Prince Icme-Dagan , as your fate, you shall be given a throne which concentrates all divine powers,
an enduring legitimate crown and a scepter which maintains the people and keeps them united.
The Tigris and the Euphrates shall bring abundance, carp-filled waters for you, their yield shall be long-lasting for you
(1 ms. has instead: ……). Their banks shall grow vegetation for you, they shall bring (?) you rejoicing.
The irrigated orchards shall yield (?) syrup and wine for you.
The fertile arable tracts shall grow dappled grain for you grain piles shall be heaped up for you.
Cattle-pens shall be built, sheepfolds shall be enlarged for you.
Your name shall be exalted as king you shall be elevated as prince.
All the foreign countries from below as far as the uplands shall bring tribute for you.
You shall shine radiantly in the grand main courtyard like sunlight.
Your food offerings shall never cease in the shining E-kur.”
This is how Enlil determined his fate.
( E-kur , Enlil‘s mud-brick-built mountain ziggurat residence in Nippur, Command Central for the alien gods on Earth)
From the E-kur he gave huge strength to the king.
He has been made lordly Enlil ‘s words made him a man without rival.
He directed his steps proudly there and entered the august palace, the royal residence.
As he took his seat on the shining holy throne-dais, the palace …….
(giant alien Anunnaki gods, Anu‘s descendants establishing Earth Colony, standing upon animal symbols in procession)
62-64 Good woman, daughter of An , Enlil has called for you!
…… the holy shining throne-dais …… told you young woman, mother Bau ( Gula ), the daughter of An ( Anu ),
…… the holy shining throne-dais …… told you:
“Bestow on Icme-Dagan , the ( giant king of Isin , & semi-divine descendant) son of Enlil , a life of numerous days!”
Riddles of the Sphinx
PBS Airdate: January 19, 2010
NARRATOR: Nothing represents the mysteries of ancient Egypt more than the Great Sphinx. How did the Egyptians build this crouching lion, human-headed creature?
ZAHI HAWASS (Supreme Council of Antiquities): This is the largest statue ever built in ancient Egypt.
NARRATOR: Who built it and why?
MARK LEHNER (Ancient Egypt Research Associates): When it was in its heyday, it was a very brightly painted image, painted in comic-book colors.
NARRATOR: The riddles of the Sphinx have puzzled all who have laid eyes on it, from emperors to presidents.
Now, solving those riddles has taken on a new urgency, for after more than 4,000 years with only pyramids as neighbors, today, the Sphinx stares out at a fast-food restaurant. Traffic, tourism and construction are trembling it apart.
ZAHI HAWASS: The Sphinx is almost in downtown Cairo.
NARRATOR: It's a full frontal urban assault. Before it's too late, two teams of scientists and builders are tackling the age-old riddles of the Sphinx. They're immersing themselves in the world of ancient Egypt, a world of pharaohs and pyramids, animal gods and mummies, sun worship and human sacrifice.
Will the eternal sands of Egypt finally give up the secrets of this human-headed lion? Up next on NOVA: Riddles of the Sphinx .
Giant paws, longer than a city bus stretch out before it. A whipping tail, wraps around its back. And its enormous body, about the weight of fifty 747 jumbo jets, is on haunches, poised to pounce.
But this lion has a human head as big as a house, for this is the Great Sphinx.
At nearly 240 feet long&mdashalmost the length of a football field&mdashand almost 70 feet tall&mdashthe height of the White House&mdashthe Sphinx is the largest statue in all of Egypt, a land renowned for its oversized monuments.
It is here at Giza, home of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids, where building big really booms. Around 2500 B.C., more than 4,000 years ago, the Giza Plateau is a desolate landscape. A visionary Pharaoh named Khufu constructs the Great Pyramid. He's followed by his son, and then his son's son, who build two more pyramids.
Designed as giant tombs to insure the kings' safe passage to the afterlife, the pyramids and their surrounding temples transform an area of the Giza Plateau into a vast city of the dead. Pharaoh Khufu's pyramid is the most famous gravestone on Earth.
MARK LEHNER: Khufu's architect probably stood here and looked out over the panorama behind me and maybe foresaw three generations of building here, because of the excellent conditions for carving giant statues and for building pyramids and tombs.
NARRATOR: Khufu and his sons launch a golden age of Egypt, known as the Old Kingdom.
But while the classic pyramid can be traced back to earlier forms, like the stepped pyramid of Saqqara, the Great Sphinx appears out of nowhere, unprecedented in size and form. And while inscriptions inside the pyramids reveal who built them, there are no such clues about the origins of the Sphinx.
What is this crouching lion, human-headed beast? How did the Egyptians build this wonder of the ancient world? Whose face is this staring out across the millennia?
Now two teams tackle these age-old mysteries of the Sphinx.
One team of scientists investigates the geology, history and archaeology of ancient Egypt.
ZAHI HAWASS: Many people who try to look at the Sphinx, they look at it by itself. But you have to look at all the architecture, archaeology, art, inscriptions. You have to look at all of this to explain the function of the Sphinx.
NARRATOR: Another team of stone-carvers will build scaled-down replicas of the Sphinx and its missing nose, to shed light on how the ancients carved this wonder of the world.
RICK BROWN (Handshouse Studio): It's near mind-boggling in all Egypt, most of the stone was carved with just pounding for thousands and thousands of hours.
NARRATOR: The race is on to unlock the riddles of the Sphinx.
There have been thousands of sphinxes throughout history, but this sphinx, the Great Sphinx, is one of the very first, and is by far the largest ever built.
MARK LEHNER: This was an age of experimentation. The Sphinx is an experiment. It was something new, something highly unusual.
NARRATOR: So where did the idea of putting a human head on a lion's body come from?
Archaeologist Gunter Dreyer is searching the desert of Abydos, about 300 miles south of Giza and the pyramids. Dreyer is traveling back past Khufu and the Old Kingdom, to the very dawn of Egyptian civilization: 3000 B.C., 500 years before the Sphinx.
Like Giza, Abydos is also a city of the dead, but without pyramids. Here, Egypt's founding pharaohs are buried beneath the desert sands in a complex of mud-brick tombs.
Today, Dreyer is investigating one of those tombs.
GUeNTER DREYER (German Archaeological Institute): The tomb consists of three huge chambers underneath that mound over there and in front of it, there are three rows of subsidiary burials altogether, 35.
NARRATOR: The main chamber was plundered in ancient times and the royal body stolen, but inscriptions found inside reveal a name, Pharaoh Aha, the very first king of Egypt's First Dynasty.
As pharaoh, Aha wielded absolute power.
The Abydos excavation reveals evidence of human sacrifice: the skeletons of 35 healthy adults, most under the age of 20, all part of a mass burial.
GUeNTER DREYER: Even at that remote time, that is not a natural age of death, and so we may conclude they were killed to follow the king in his afterlife, to serve him there in eternity.
NARRATOR: The pharaoh and his worldly goods are buried at one end of the complex, followed by the 35 victims of human sacrifice, in smaller tombs, and in the last tomb are even more bones, but these are not human. For identification, they were compared with modern skeletons.
GUeNTER DREYER: We found a lot of animal bones, especially bones of lions. That was quite a surprise.
NARRATOR: Several lions died and were buried at the same time as the young adults, evidence that they, too, were sacrificed. But why were these lions entombed along with the pharaoh?
GUeNTER DREYER: The king identifies himself with the lion to show his power, to express his power.
NARRATOR: Dreyer's excavations reveal that Egypt's first Pharaohs wielded enormous power&mdashenough to command the ritual slaughter of dozens of people. And the lion sacrifices provide the first clue to the meaning of the Sphinx's form: lions symbolize the power of the pharaoh.
But the Sphinx is more than just a lion, it's also part human. Ancient Egyptians depict their gods as part animal, part human, but usually those gods have animal heads and human bodies. The Sphinx is just the opposite.
MARK LEHNER: When you put the human head on the lion body, you have all the strength and power of the lion, and you have the human head which is a symbol of intelligence and control. And so, it is an image of power under control.
NARRATOR: But whose power and control?
MARK LEHNER: The human head is actually wearing a scarf called the nemes. It's a headdress, and only the pharaohs wore the nemes headdress.
NARRATOR: So the Sphinx is both a god and a pharaoh, and when it came to symbolizing the power of the pharaoh, the bigger, the better.
Over the next 500 years, the pharaohs' tombs got more and more massive&mdashfrom underground burial chambers to simple aboveground tombs, and from stepped pyramids to the Great Pyramids of Giza. But while the form and size of royal tombs evolve slowly, the Great Sphinx has no precedent.
MARK LEHNER: It was the first time in the history of Egypt that they created sculpture at this scale.
NARRATOR: So how was the Sphinx created?
Looking at its paws, it appears to be built with thousands of blocks. Was it constructed like the pyramids, by stacking blocks of stone?
But a closer look reveals that its upper body and head are carved out of one huge rock. Does that mean it was carved like Mount Rushmore? Clues lie in the stone of the Sphinx and the rock around it.
Amazingly, nobody had ever investigated its stones in any detail, until Mark Lehner, 30 years ago. Today, he's one of the world's leading Egyptologists.
MARK LEHNER: When I first came to Egypt. The best maps that existed of the Sphinx were simply the outline.
NARRATOR: If you're investigating how the Sphinx was built, the existing drawings were about as useful as if you were trying to build a 50-story skyscraper using just a satellite snapshot of its roof. That's how little was known about the Sphinx.
To unlock its secrets, someone needed to take a much closer look.
MARK LEHNER: I spent five years here, mapping every stone to scale. This was my office. And I would take my breaks here and have a stale cheese sandwich and a cup of Nescafe (R) .
NARRATOR: Lehner's mapping gave him an intimate knowledge of the Sphinx, its stone and the Giza Plateau.
To begin with, the Sphinx is made of limestone. Close inspection of the limestone reveals how it was formed.
MARK LEHNER: You see a pattern that looks kind of like a brain coral, or almost like a sponge. All the limestone at Giza, including the body of the Sphinx was once the floor of the sea it was a seabed. So you have, frozen into the stone, various elements of seafloor life.
NARRATOR: Millions of years ago, the Giza Plateau was under water. Sea creatures and plants died, falling to the bottom. Over time, their remains were compressed to form limestone. But not all limestone is created equal.
Some limestone is formed from the soft sea bottom and some from hard coral reefs. Together they form a kind of layer cake of hard and soft limestone.
MARK LEHNER: The Sphinx is composed out of several different limestone layers. So it's as though you carved the Sphinx out of a layer cake. And there are gooey layers of soft frosting, and then there are intervening harder layers.
NARRATOR: The harder layers of rock have held up better than the softer layers. Today it looks a lot different from when it was first built. Its original smooth surface has been eaten away by over 4,000 years of wind, water and sand.
MARK LEHNER: Here on the right side of the Sphinx's chest, we can see how weathering has put the softer layers into deep recesses, while the harder layers protrude.
NARRATOR: To Lehner, this weathering pattern is another important clue to how the Sphinx was built. Recent restorations obscure this pattern, but photographs from the 1920s, clearly show it on both the body of the Sphinx and on the side of what is known as the "Sphinx ditch."
The pattern acts like a fingerprint, and when Lehner compares the Sphinx's body with the side of the Sphinx ditch, it's a perfect match.
MARK LEHNER: We are certain that these are the same layers of natural rock that form the south side of the Sphinx ditch.
NARRATOR: Lehner identifies more of that rock directly in front of the Sphinx's paws, in the ruins of a building known as the Sphinx temple. There, on the huge stone blocks that were once the walls of the Sphinx temple, he discovers those same familiar layers of hard and soft stone that he finds on the Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: You can see the layers run continuously from one block to another through many of the blocks forming the temple walls. Here is one geological layer, then this yellow band is a softer geological layer.
NARRATOR: But what does the similarity of the rock in the Sphinx, ditch and temple tell Lehner about how the Sphinx was built?
MARK LEHNER: The Egyptians quarried a horseshoe-shaped ditch leaving a core that left a big block from which they carved the Sphinx itself. They moved the stone, sometimes in blocks of a hundred tons, down to the lower terrace for fabricating the walls of the Sphinx temple.
NARRATOR: So the starting point for the Sphinx must have been a huge rock sticking out of the surface of the Giza Plateau. Workers cut a trench around it, quarrying the stone out from the ditch in huge blocks. They hauled off those blocks to build the nearby Sphinx temple, then sculptors carved the giant rock remaining in the center into the shape of the Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: The Sphinx was carved right out of the natural mother rock of the Giza Plateau.
NARRATOR: But knowing that it's carved right out of the earth is only half the mystery. How did they actually do it? Sculpting a human-headed lion out of 20,000 tons of limestone is no small matter.
RICHARD REDDING (University of Michigan): So, Fathi, we need to get two types of rock.
NARRATOR: To investigate the challenges faced by the ancient sculptors, archaeologist Richard Redding and Fathi Mohammed, a stonemason who has worked at Giza since he was a boy, team up to carve a mini-sphinx.
RICHARD REDDING: So let's see what we can find here.
NARRATOR: They search for limestone that's as hard as the layer in the Sphinx's head.
RICHARD REDDING: I think we've got it right here. What you can see is this one's nice and strong, like the head.
NARRATOR: They find just the right stone in a nearby quarry. It's extremely heavy and hard, maybe too hard.
FATHI MOHAMED (Sculptor): Mr. Richard?
FATHI MOHAMED: All the equipment will be ruined. What will I work with in the future? The equipment will be ruined!
NARRATOR: Fathi is worried that the hard rock will ruin his tools.
FATHI MOHAMED: I see a problem. The tool is made of steel but the rock bent it! The rock is very hard. With what will I continue my work?
NARRATOR: If Fathi is having such a difficult time using modern steel tools, how did the ancient Egyptians carve the Sphinx with more primitive tools?
The answer will come half a world away.
MARK LEHNER: Hey, Rick, New England in the fall is a far cry from Egypt in the desert.
NARRATOR: Mark Lehner has come to consult with Rick Brown, a specialist in ancient tools.
Based on actual copper tools found at Giza and tomb scenes depicting stonecutters at work, Brown gathers everything an ancient Egyptian would have had to carve the Great Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: Rick and I got together and looked at all the evidence we have from the tomb scenes, from actual tools that we found. And based on all this evidence, Rick has put together the rudiments of the toolkit that the Sphinx builders would have used.
RICK BROWN: So we have copper chisels, two-handed pounder, and there's the hammer.
NARRATOR: To really understand the challenge of using these tools for carving, Lehner and Brown begin by making them, starting with a copper chisel.
MARK LEHNER: Is that a good.
RICK BROWN: Even a little bit more. Right now, we just need to get some good heat.
NARRATOR: Working long before the invention of harder bronze or iron, the Sphinx sculptors had to make do with softer copper.
RICK BROWN: This is what they would have done in Egypt. What I want to do is take this blank of copper, heat it, and we'll fashion it into a chisel.
NARRATOR: The pure copper starts out a metal gray, and, as it heats, it turns red.
MARK LEHNER: So you want this copper red-hot.
RICK BROWN: Yeah, when I get color in the copper, we're ready.
NARRATOR: The heat softens the copper into a more pliable material that can be pounded into shape.
RICK BROWN: You know, this process is so basic. What they were doing was, they were using a hard material to fashion and shape a softer material.
NARRATOR: But as the soft copper cools, it hardens again.
RICK BROWN: I want to go back to the fire, because I could actually break the metal.
NARRATOR: Already, these ancient tools reveal there's more to making the Sphinx than just carving.
MARK LEHNER: Charcoal was a crucial ingredient of making these monuments at Giza. They must have been trucking wood in and feeding these fires all day long, all year round. Just to make the tools to make the monument.
NARRATOR: The heating-pounding cycle is repeated over and over, until the shape is just right.
RICK BROWN: I want it to be straight along the axis, just like this, because if it's turning a little bit, that means it's not going to last as long.
MARK LEHNER: They must have amassed more copper for building the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx than just about anyplace in the world in the third millennium, B.C. I mean, it just must have been a huge cost in copper.
NARRATOR: But the copper chisel was the high-tech finishing tool of the Old Kingdom. The real grunt work was achieved with something much more basic, stone hammers.
RICK BROWN: Mark, if you look at this photograph from the tomb of Ti, there is a stone carver using a tool like this. And this is what I've discovered: you have to look closely at these drawings, because they give a lot of information.
NARRATOR: Based on this 4,000-year-old tomb painting, Brown and Lehner make their own hammers today.
RICK BROWN: I want to use a harder stone against a softer stone.
MARK LEHNER: So you're using a stone to make a stone tool.
Whole lot of pounding going on.
NARRATOR: The grooves and lashing transform a simple stone into an effective hammer.
MARK LEHNER: It's not easy is it? But, like I say, they probably did it as quickly as tying a shoe.
The thing about this is&mdashI think the critical thing&mdashis it gives a lot more action.
RICK BROWN: He can work like that for many, many hours and not wear himself out.
NARRATOR: Now Lehner and Brown will put the tools to the test. They're going to attempt to carve the feature of the Sphinx that's most conspicuously absent: the nose.
There are stories that it was shot off by Napoleon's soldiers using it for target practice, but they turn out to be false.
MARK LEHNER: About 300 years before Napoleon, an Arab historian already mentions that the nose is gone. I think there is good evidence that it was snapped off intentionally. There's a deep wedge down the bridge and there's another groove down the Sphinx's left nostril. I think somebody might have pounded in these metal wedges and snapped it off to the south.
NARRATOR: While the original nose is lost forever, today Lehner and Brown, with just stone hammers and copper chisels will carve a new one.
MARK LEHNER: Let's go to work.
NARRATOR: Out of this six-foot chunk of hard limestone, they will attempt to carve a nose about one-third the size of the original.
MARK LEHNER: We're going to make this nose starting with tools like this? Was that my idea?
NARRATOR: They dive in and quickly discover that hard stone is much more effective than the soft copper in these early stages.
RICK BROWN: I think that's the evidence that the pounder, even though it seems primitive, is actually quite effective.
NARRATOR: But even with reinforcements and after hours of pounding, they've barely made a dent. Will Lehner and Brown really be able to carve a nose with these ancient tools?
Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, is the official guardian of the Sphinx. He has searched this colossal cat from head to toe for clues to how it was built.
He knows, from the geology, that it was carved right out of the earth. So why does the bottom appear to be built out of stone blocks like the Pyramids?
Hawass investigates the size and style of the blocks for answers.
ZAHI HAWASS: If you look at the two paws of the Sphinx, this is a typical small stone that the Romans, in 30 B.C., came, and they did add this to the Sphinx.
NARRATOR: Just between the Sphinx's paws, Zahi Hawass finds blocks from four different periods.
ZAHI HAWASS: This is 30 B.C., 1550 B.C., and this is 2600 B.C.
NARRATOR: Hawass concludes that Egyptians, Greeks and Romans have been covering the Sphinx in blocks for thousands of years but why?
The answer can be found in a deadly hidden force attacking the limestone of the body of the Sphinx and the surrounding ditch.
MARK LEHNER: All of this was once the floor of a sea. It was a seabed, 50 million years ago, so it's naturally full of salt.
NARRATOR: When groundwater rises, it seeps through the rock, drawing the salt to the surface, where it crystallizes and expands. The results are disastrous for the Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: I hate to do this, but it's happening naturally all the time. On this wall next to the Sphinx, the flakes fall and crumble. This is what was happening to the Sphinx body. It's this process that results in, literally, Sphinx dust.
NARRATOR: Amazingly, from the day it was built, the body of the Sphinx has been turning to dust. The blocks put there by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were to protect and conceal its deteriorating body, especially the more vulnerable parts carved from soft limestone.
But while the soft stone is bad news for the Sphinx, it's good news for sculptor Fathi, because it's much easier to work with as he carves his mini-sphinx.
FATHI MOHAMED: Now I'm working on the foot of the back leg. I'm sculpting the paw and the thigh.
NARRATOR: He makes quick progress because the stone is so soft, but now comes the hard part. Fathi reluctantly returns to the head, which, like the original Sphinx, is made of much harder limestone. Striking this harder rock, his chisel is far less effective, and progress slows dramatically, even with the advantage of his modern steel tools.
So how are Lehner and Brown progressing, back in New England, with their ancient copper tools?
After days of work, their copper chisels and stone pounders are barely making a dent. At this pace, it's unlikely they are going to carve a nose out of this rock any time soon, unless Brown and his team resort to taking some shortcuts.
RICK BROWN: Well, I guess you caught us. We worked on the stone for a long time using the Egyptian tools and then decided we'd move to the modern tools it's a lot faster.
NARRATOR: Granted, the power tools are a lot faster than the ancient tools. But surprisingly, the basic carving process hasn't changed much since ancient times.
RICK BROWN: What the Egyptians would do is they would make these channels&mdashparallel channels&mdashthen you come back with a flat chisel and blast out all that material in between.
NARRATOR: But while Brown's pneumatic chisel has a carbide tip, hammering 2,000 hits per minute, the copper chisel the ancient Egyptians would have used lasts only a few dozen strikes.
RICK BROWN: You can see, after I've only gone the equivalent of, maybe, 10 centimeters, my tool's already almost useless. Each time the tool gets dull, you've got to come back and reheat. When we reheat, it softens the metal and then we can reshape it.
NARRATOR: Brown is wearing down tools at an extraordinary rate. For efficiency, he moves his forge closer to the carving.
RICK BROWN: We brought our forge closer to the stone, because we're blowing through the copper chisels so fast. It gives us the opportunity to use them, dull them, sharpen them, and go right back to work, which is probably like they did in Egyptian times.
NARRATOR: Brown is discovering it's taking a lot of time and a great number of copper tools, and his stone shows little evidence of progress.
It's hard to imagine this hunk of rock will ever be a finished nose, even one a third the size of what was originally on the Sphinx. It's even harder to imagine carving the Great Sphinx as big as a football field.
Clearly only a pharaoh could pull this off. The question is, "Which one?"
The location of the Sphinx undoubtedly links it to the pyramids.
Whoever built the pyramids, likely built the Sphinx. The problem is the Sphinx appears to sit right between two pyramids, built by two different Pharaohs.
The first, and largest, pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khufu, who reigned around 2500 B.C.
His son Khafre built the second, slightly smaller pyramid.
Rainer Stadelmann, a leading Egyptologist, believes the head of the Sphinx represents the pharaoh who built it. So Stadelmann compares the face of the Sphinx to the face of the pharaohs, in hopes of revealing its true identity.
He turns to the only undisputed portrait of Khufu ever found, a small ivory statuette.
RAINER STADELMANN (German Archaeological Institute): This piece is something extraordinary. And I am so excited that you can open it.
NARRATOR: It has not been removed from its glass home in the Cairo Museum for 30 years.
RAINER STADELMANN: It is something. I would not have believed that we are allowed to do this. And this statue is a real masterpiece.
Everything is very finely sculpted, so detailed, that one can compare the statue with the enormous Sphinx. The face is, for me, the same face as the Sphinx, a square face, a little bit bitter mouth, uh, the eyes are protruding.
NARRATOR: But there's also a less subjective clue.
Unlike his son Khafre, builder of the second pyramid, Khufu does not have a beard.
RAINER STADELMANN: The statue does not wear a beard. So I am quite sure the Sphinx, which has no beard at all, is a picture of Khufu.
NARRATOR: But Mark Lehner finds evidence that the Sphinx originally had a beard.
And he believes the face of the Sphinx is the son, Khafre.
MARK LEHNER: An original beard would explain this very enigmatic bump on the Sphinx's chest. It starts right about here, and it's just right in position to support the long beard.
NARRATOR: The debate rages on: the father, Khufu, or his son, Khafre? The Sphinx's identity crisis cannot be resolved by facial features alone.
For Fathi, sculpting the mini-sphinx, a solution is needed.
With the body almost completed, Fathi returns to the harder stone for the head and must decide: beard or no beard?
FATHI MOHAMED: I think the Sphinx used to have a beard because all of the pharaonic statues in the form of the sphinx had beards, like those of Hatshepsut and those of Ramesses have beards, so the Sphinx must have had a similar beard.
NARRATOR: It's the crowning moment, as Fathi places the head on the body of his mini-sphinx. But the face is not that of Pharaoh Khufu or Khafre. It turns out, Fathi has ignored the advice of all the experts and followed in the tradition of the pharaohs: Fathi's sphinx bears a striking resemblance to Fathi.
For more than 4,000 years, this curious creature has captured the imagination of kings and emperors, poets and painters, and presidents.
Today the Sphinx is the face of Egypt and icon of its age-old mysteries, but what did it mean to the ancient Egyptians?
The Old Kingdom collapses, and the Giza plateau becomes an abandoned cemetery, the Sphinx and pyramids neglected. Nearly a thousand years pass, and the power of the pharaohs rises again, in a period called the New Kingdom, beginning about 1500 B.C.
But centuries of wind and water have eroded the Sphinx's fragile body and desert sands have swallowed the Sphinx up to its neck.
What happens next is written in hieroglyphs on a gigantic 15-ton granite stela, perched between its paws.
The inscription tells of a hero who rescues the Sphinx. A young prince clears away the sands, and the Sphinx rewards him by making him king.
ZAHI HAWASS: Who the first restorer on Earth? I can say it is Thutmoses IV. He ordered his people to build these two huge mud-brick walls to protect the Sphinx from sand.
NARRATOR: Opposite the Sphinx's left haunch and above the Sphinx ditch are remnants of a mud-brick wall. Some of its bricks are stamped with the name of Thutmoses. Originally coated in plaster, the wall stood nearly 30 feet tall.
And to restore the Sphinx's weathered body, Thutmoses placed large blocks of stone on its paws.
ZAHI HAWASS: Look at these stones. These are the big stones that were added in the New Kingdom.
NARRATOR: And this stela also reveals a clue to what the Sphinx meant to New Kingdom Egyptians.
KASIA SZPAKOWSKA (Swansea University): When the kings wanted to record something that they wanted to last forever, they would write on very large stelae, such as this one, in hieroglyphs.
NARRATOR: Kasia Szpakowska translates two key hieroglyphs.
KASIA SZPAKOWSKA: You can see there's something that looks like a bird there. That's actually the sign of the falcon. That's the name Horus.
NARRATOR: Horus, depicted as a falcon, is one of the oldest and most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon.
Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was Horus incarnate.
KASIA SZPAKOWSKA: And just below is the akhet: the horizon with the two mountains on the side and the sun disk in between.
NARRATOR: When the falcon and ahket hieroglyphs are combined, they form Horus-on-the-Horizon, the name of an Egyptian god who guards the entrance to the afterlife. This is the identity of the Sphinx in the New Kingdom.
To ancient Egyptians, the horizon was the entrance to the afterlife. Just as the sun sets over the horizon and rises the next day, they too believed they could be reborn.
As the guardian to the afterlife, the Sphinx was crucial to that process.
Thutmoses, by clearing away the sands, was not just saving the Sphinx he was saving a god.
And he does more. Close inspection of the face of the Sphinx reveals traces of blue paint still clinging near its ear. The evidence suggests Thutmoses gives the Sphinx a New Kingdom monumental makeover.
MARK LEHNER: We're used to seeing the Sphinx as this beige-colored monument out in the desert. But when it was in its heyday, reborn in the New Kingdom, it was a very brightly painted image, painted in comic-book colors.
The face was probably red. It's possible that the headdress was painted yellow and blue.
And this painting of the Sphinx was something that, for the Egyptians, probably brought it to life.
NARRATOR: The Great Sphinx, revered as a god, guarding the entrance to the afterlife a statue of its savior, Thutmoses, overlooking a royal chapel nestled between its paws, protected from the howling winds and sand by a tall retaining wall, and brought to life in vibrant color.
But the New Kingdom, when Thutmoses ruled, was over a thousand years after the building of the Sphinx. To him, the Sphinx and whoever built it, were already ancient history.
So what did the Sphinx mean to its original builder&mdasheither, the father, Pharaoh Khufu, or his son, Khafre.
Mark Lehner returns to the Sphinx temple to solve the final mystery. The ruins of the temple sit just 10 yards in front of the paws of the Sphinx.
There, Lehner finds a series of mysterious pillars.
MARK LEHNER: They look a little bit like Stonehenge.
NARRATOR: There are 24 of these pillars.
Lehner believes they are linked to the 24 hours of the day.
MARK LEHNER: It seems to have been a very early massive temple to the sun.
NARRATOR: This notion is reinforced by two inner sanctuaries at opposite ends of the temple.
MARK LEHNER: This niche, or sanctuary, is symmetrical, with another niche on the west. So the two niches defined the temple axis, probably for the rising sun on the east and for the setting sun on the west.
NARRATOR: During the spring and fall equinox, the two days of the year when day and night are in perfect balance, the sun forms a line between the east and west sanctuaries of the temple.
As the sun continues its path toward the horizon, it passes over the shoulder of the Sphinx and beyond, to one of the Great Pyramids.
MARK LEHNER: These two niches line up to the south side of the second pyramid, at a point striking right over the Sphinx's shoulder. And this is where the sun sets at the equinoxes.
When it sets, at those special times of year, the sun connects the Sphinx temple to the Pyramid of Khafre.
NARRATOR: And because the Sphinx temple and the Sphinx were part of the same engineering project, they must have been built by the same pharaoh.
MARK LEHNER: It's this line, this astronomical alignment, that's another clue that ties this temple and the Sphinx to the reign of Khafre, the builder of the second pyramid.
NARRATOR: The sun also played a central role in Old Kingdom religion. Ancient Egyptian art depicts a god supporting the sun disk as it travels over the horizon to the afterlife. He was one of Egypt's earliest gods, the double lion, Ruti.
After adding up the evidence, the original meaning and identity of the Sphinx becomes clear: to its builders in the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx, as a lion, was a symbol of the king. Like Ruti, the Sphinx was also a god, guardian of the horizon, the entrance to the afterlife.
The solar alignment on the equinox reveals that the Sphinx, Sphinx temple, and Khafre's pyramid are intimately connected. Their singular purpose was to ensure the pharaoh's safe passage to the afterlife.
It is Khafre's face that adorns the Sphinx, which protected the mummified king as he traveled toward the pyramid, following the path of the sun over the horizon.
Back in New England, Rick Brown and his team are finally completing their scaled-down Sphinx nose. They're putting on the finishing touches, using replicas of ancient copper chisels, in hopes of estimating how long it took to carve the Great Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: So you guys have been at it for two weeks?
RICK BROWN: All day long, every day.
MARK LEHNER: Well that's a pretty good-looking nose job.
I'd like to know how long, how many hours total, it took for this nose, because that might give us an idea of how long it took to carve the Great Sphinx.
NARRATOR: Although Brown had resorted, at times, to using modern machinery to speed up the carving, he's gone to great lengths to work out how long it would have taken using just ancient tools.
RICK BROWN: We calculated that we could do 200 hits in five minutes, over and over again, and sustain that for an eight-hour day.
NARRATOR: By measuring the amount of stone chipped away, he can calculate how much stone one worker could remove.
RICK BROWN: It would take 40 hours for one person to remove one cubic foot of stone.
NARRATOR: Based on Lehner's scale drawing, they calculate how much stone was removed from around the Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: So that big block and that big block, you got those out of there.
NARRATOR: From there, it's a lot of math to get to the final figure for how long it would have taken to carve the whole Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: And you come out with a million?
LAURA BROWN (Handshouse Studio): Around a million hours.
MARK LEHNER: A million person-hours to carve the great Sphinx. Well, that's impressive.
NARRATOR: And if they spread that million hours over 100 people, they come up with a rough estimate.
LAURA BROWN: It would take a hundred carvers three years to carve the Sphinx.
MARK LEHNER: A hundred carvers, three years.
NARRATOR: But by carving the scaled-down nose, Brown and Lehner have discovered that those 100 people for three years is just one part of a greater enterprise.
To build the great Sphinx there must have been an army of people cutting wood to stoke fires and forges, making tools, sharpening tools, running them back and forth, and pounding away at the giant rock that would become the Sphinx.
RICK BROWN: People was the power in Egyptian times, that's how they built the pyramids, that's how they built the Sphinx.
NARRATOR: That people-power used to build the Sphinx and the Pyramids did even more than create monuments we still admire today.
MARK LEHNER: Marshaling all their human and natural resources to create this monumental complex at Giza must have had a huge effect on the Egyptian state and its economy. The Pyramids and the Sphinx did as much to build Egypt as the Egyptians did to build them.
NARRATOR: Building the Pyramids and the Sphinx, actually built Egypt. And the clues to solving the riddle of the Sphinx were hidden in plain sight.
MARK LEHNER: The record was in the geology, it was in the archeological record, it was in the changes that the ancient Egyptians made to the landscape for building things like the Sphinx.
NARRATOR: Animal, human and god, carved from the very earth, and inspiring the imagination of people throughout time, the Great Sphinx has actually achieved the dreams of its creators: eternal life.
Search This Site For Brick Info:
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January 1 thru July 15, 2008
Daniel Polsfuss writes:
I am making a little documentary about a neighborhood in St. Louis MO called Richmond heights. The neighborhood was made up of workers from Evans & Howard Brick Works. Any ideas on how I can get photographs of Evans & Howard, maybe people working there or in general people working in a brick yards from the early 1900s. Thank you.
I was doing some yard work and happened to look into my buddy's window well. in the window well is a brick with a name on it. it looks to be,
& f. oo
with a iron cross at the end of it. i have two good pics of it i would like to send. could anybody tell me anything about this brick, thanks in advance
A reply from Fred Rieck:
Hi Josh, I just happen to be looking at a picture of a brick which appers to correspond to the one you describe. The nomenclature reads: ST. LOUIS V & F. B. CO + STAR +. The brick may be read as: St Louis Vitrified and Fire Brick Company
From Webmaster Don B.:
Found on the Web that the St. Louis Vitrified & Fire-Brick Co had an exhibit at the History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition AKA the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904.
I have 4 bricks, photos of which I thought I might like to send in: NEBCo, Widemire, D.B. Co.(has a bit of mortar on it), and C.B. Co (which has a point to it rather than regular rectangular. I picked these up at Massachusetts Mills, built in 1839 in Lowell, Massachusetts, now abandoned and partially falling into ruin. I also have photos of the mill itself, if this would be of interest. Thank you.
Hi Ann, aspiring brick collector . . careful, it's catching. By virtue of the the initials of the brick in your selection as a whole , it is a fairly good bet that the NEBCO is a New England Brick Co product. They had several plants in New England and one in Mechanicville , NY. The DBCO may be that of the Duffney Brick Co, also of Mechanicville. That is a guess at this point because you didn't mention if your brick had a "clothesline pulley" symbol between the "B" and the "C" If it does we can be more certain. Duffney also made an initialed brick with out the symbol in which the letter "D" looks like a box with square corners. DBCOs with more normal looking "D"s also abound but Its identity is a bit speculative, to my thinking. The Widemire is probably a fire brick, if an off-white or buff color and larger than the red building brick in your collection. Widemire, according to Karl Gurcke, of Bricks and Brickmaking , is the mark of the Harbison-Walker Co. of Pennsylvania, and in use from about 1921 to 1942. The CBCo is quite likely that of the Champlain Brick Co of (and again) Mechanicville, NY. When you mention point, I presume you are referring to the outside profile (shape) of the brick. Without actually seeing the brick I would suspect that the this brick's function (with others) may have been to give the building a more decorative look around doors and windows, for example.
Hello i love your website ..I live in lynbrook, ny (Long Island) .. i have a brick tudor that was built in 1931 with NASSAU BRICK do u know any history about this company?
The NASSAU marked bricks were made by the Nassau Brick Co. at Farmingdale, (Long Island) New York
From your Webmaster:
The Nassau Brick Company was originally called Post Brick. Here's some stuff I found on the Web (from "https://www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com/LI/LI.Notable.Requests.html"):
"Through the efforts of Francis M. Gaynor, Glen Head now has a beautiful twenty-two acre memorial park, donated to the town in 1946 by the Post Brick Company of which Mr. Gaynor is president. Mr. Gaynor has continued his work in this enterprise as chairman of the memorial park and building committee. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 27, 1894, Francis Gaynor is the son of Hugh and Jane (Pritchard) Gaynor, both natives of Philadelphia. Hugh Gaynor, who died in 1909, was a brick manufacturer by trade Jane Gaynor died in 1904. Francis M. Gaynor was educated in the public and high schools of Philadelphia. After attending Temple University for one year, he apprenticed with his uncle, James Gaynor, in the brick manufacturing business in Philadelphia and remained there until 1917. With the advent of World War I, Mr. Gaynor entered the armed services and for twenty-two months was assigned to the Air Corps at Hazelhurst (now Roosevelt Field.) In March, 1919 he received an honorable discharge. Upon his return to civilian life Mr. Gaynor became associated with Jotham Post, a brick manufacturer of Glen Head. Here his work was so successful and his progress so marked that he received a partnership in the Post Brick Company in 1924. Four years later, when Mr. Post died Francis M. Gaynor took over the complete managership of the company and continued in this capacity until 1942 . In 1936, the present plant was purchased at Farmingdale, the business was re-named the Nassau Brick Company, and Mr. Gaynor enlarged his managerial staff. Townsend B. Pettit, Sr., is vice president and Townsend B. Pettit, Jr., is secretary and treasurer. The only company of its kind in this area, the Nassau Brick Company employs fifty-five people and has a yearly manufacturing capacity of twenty-five million bricks."
(The Nassau Brick Company is now out of business.)
From David McTamaney:
Wow--great site. I found a brick today that has N. I. P. on it, with the N written backwards. Any idea what company that was?? I found the brick in Newburgh, NY
From Fred Rieck:
NIP is Norton I. Pennock. He is listed in a Poughkeepsie city directory as a brick manufacturer on Springdale Ave, Arlington, NY in 1914. His home was on South Hamilton. In a 1928 listing, NIP is stated to be located on Van Wagner Road. This is the last year that NIP is listed as a brick manufacturer.
From Don B., Webmaster:
There is a pic of the backwards N on our site on this page (scroll down).
Raynie Skipper writes:
Shaun, I am interested in a brick to comemorate Charles and Di's wedding in 1981. Please get in touch!
Shaun's post is HERE
Shaun, since we don't publish email addresses, you can contact Raynie via our Contact Form
I have a brick with JJJ on it. would you be able to help me decipher it's origin? (Here's) a photo of it:
Thank you for your time.
Amy, you have a Jova brick. For lots of information on JJJ/Jova,
click this link.
Thanks for writing.
--Don B., Webmaster
Don -- thank you so much! There are 2 unusual indentations on either side of the "JJJ" and i was wondering if you or someone else may know what purpose this may have served or if it was merely a decorative style? Is there any way that i can try to find out approximately the year this brick was made? The brick was found in Manhattan, NY around 30th street and 10th ave. I really enjoyed reading up on the history regarding Juan Jacinto Jova and will look into the Storm King as well. Your website is wonderful! thank you again,
Hi Amy, Why the big dents? Good Question. I have been looking for a definitive answer on just this for several years. The most popular answer is that the " dents" saved the manufacturer clay and made the brick a little lighter thus saving on freight. A third idea is that the "dents" may allow the brick to cure quicker and resolve stresses that may set up in the brick when it dries and is burnt i,e, baked hard in laymen's terms.
Now this "dent" is a bit of an afterthought or perhaps an experiment. and a number of the last remaining producers JJJ, BRIGHAM, WBC (Washburn Brothers Company), SSBCO, and P&M made bricks like these. Brigham even used both tapered square based pegs AND round tapered cobs. These pegs cobs cubes were inserted and screwed into existing molds on top of the placque that bore the manufacturers initials.
If you ever find a wrecked bldg in which these "dented" brick were used, you may also find an occasional brick which only has one "dent or a a dent that is rotated slightly in relation to its twin, OR you may see a 1/4 inch hole where the "dent" is expected to be . because the cob / peg / cube broke (split in two) off, leaving the mounting screw stuck in the mold.
Any other ideas . anyone?
From Ann Gibbons:
I have 4 bricks, photos of which I thought I might like to send in: NEBCo, Widemire, D.B. Co.(has a bit of mortar on it), and C.B. Co (which has a point to it rather than regular rectangular. I picked these up at Massachusetts Mills, built in 1839 in Lowell, Massachusetts, now abandoned and partially falling into ruin. I also have photos of the mill itself, if this would be of interest. Thank you.
Bob Malina writes:
As a teenager in 1956/7 I worked in the Eastern (Merwin) Brickyard in Berlin Conn and can share some first had experiences from the process and people there.
Webmaster Note: I have posted Bob's excellent first-hand account here: "The Brickyard, Summer of 1957".
I thank Bob for his unique historical documentation and I thank all our visitors who have contributed here and made this site a valuable forum for the brick collecting community and all lovers of architectural and industrial history.
Jack writes: I have a bricks with Hidden on them that I would like to sell. I don't know what they are worth.
Webmaster Note: We have some information on HIDDEN HERE.
We get a lot of inquiries regarding how much bricks are worth and if they can be sold. There are companies that will buy used brick. Some can be found in the Google ads sprinkled throughout our web site.
Regarding how much a brick is "worth," web site "regular" and fellow IBCA member, Fred Rieck writes:
"Most collectors would say, in one way or another, that brick are generally worth another brick. This may sound somewhat 'flippy' until one realizes that most collectors don't buy their brick. They find them dumped or discarded or where a friendly demolition contractor will let them help themselves to what they can carry. Many collectors are 'seniors' and collecting bricks offers them an interesting preoccupation with lots of sympathetic friends.
Secondly, many collectors swap their doubles and extras by the trunk, or trailer load for about as many others they don't have. . and nobody keeps score. That is not to say some collector may not shop for a brick he/she values for one of special interest to him. It is also not to say that some collectors won't buy a brick here and there if it fits a particular purpose. Many non-collector decendents of brick manufacturers, upon learning their ancestors were engaged in brick manufacture, may desire a brick from that company as a momento."
Hello, I really like your site!! I was doing some research into some bricks I found today. I found one online but mine is shaped differently. It is an "Allegany Valley Block" but it has a formed bulge in the top center. Have you seen any of these before? I found it in Albany, NY. I also found a "Pittsburg and Malvern" but really can't find much information on either of these. Somehow I can see myself getting into brick collecting!! Thanks in advance for any assistance or direction you could provide. Mark
A Reply from Fred Reick:
Hello Mark, The "Allegany Valley Block" is a street paving brick made in Olean, NY. I'm not sure about the bulge you mentioned, but these brick were extruded and repressed in such a fashion to produce spacer "buttons" or "lugs" which served to keep the brick separated enough when placed in the street to allow sand, tar, or some other material to be worked into the space and keep the brick locked in place and water out. The bulge may just be a deformity permanantly baked into the brick during the fireing process. Since these brick were largely destined for street use and not for the fronts of buildings, such imperfection was of little consequence. In building walls the brick had to be geometrically true, or the masons would have to fuss with them too much to make them fit properly and have the building look nice too. In the street, who would notice a little more bump? The Pittsburgh & Malvern is also a paver. . made in Malvern, Ohio by the Pittsburgh and Malvern Clay co.
Dan Eastman writes:
Found a brick of what looks like Granite. A.P.Green across the top and Empire D.P. below that..Approx. 10-12 lbs. and 10"Lx4"Wx3"Thick..Looks like it was poss. Died Red, But has faded to white. Can anyone Help with this. I've only found (1)one picture of an Empire Brick, and it just says Empire on it..Thanks.
A reply from Wayne Johnson
Empire D.P. (Empire Dry Press) is the lowest quality of refractory brick produced by A.P. Green Refractories Co. at Mexico, MO. The brick is a 9" 3" straight (9" X 4.5" X 3") and when fired has a light buff color with occasional dark spots. The 9" 3" straight is the second most common shape produced only to the 9" straight (9" X 4.5" 2.5") which is the standard for the refractories industry. The Mexico, MO plant has been closed for approximately two decades and in its' heyday was the largest refractories plant under one roof in the world. It occupied 27.5 acres and rose to approximately 105 ft. in the air. The plant complex had seven regular fire tunnel kilns, two blast furnace tile kilns, two stiff mud kilns, one IFB kiln and one Greenlite kiln. In the early 1970's it produced most of the refractories products which were used in the launch pads of Cape Kennedy.
Found a brick in my yard with LC LACLEDE on it. can anyone give me info on it? the LC is listed on the top line, and under it reads LACLEDE. thanks
Hi I found a brick under the roots of my very large pecan tree that recently was hit by a tornado and ripped from the ground. I tried to look it up but found nothing and then someone told me about this website. The brick has "WELLSVILLE SAVAGE" on it and I was wonder if you had any info on it?
Kathleen from Northern NJ comments:
Terrific website, thank you for all the information. I was able to research a large pile of bricks hiding in our woods we're using them for raised garden beds and pathways. Only a small number have disintegrated over the past year, perhaps because they're out in the open? I've started brick-trading with friends and family now that my eyes are open to their history. The bricks we have are stamped SSBCO. Thanks again for the information.
From Lisa Brown:
I have an old brick we found. My house was built in 1927 and think it was here then. It is solid and says H.P. Co. NASHVILLE. Can you tell me anything about this brick? Thank you
Fred and I know there are some brick "gurus" out there. Share your knowledge. If you have an answer for Lisa, or anyone else here, please use our CONTACT FORM.
I have three bricks. One appears to be a cobblestone. It has "Penn Block , caldor PA" on it. The second brick I have just has "STRASSBURG" Stamped into it and the thurd one has "WYNN"stamped into it. The second & third brick are a little larer than a regular brick and they are not red.
Tim Underhill writes:
Thanks for all the tips. I've found many bricks at the yards in Haverstraw and Croton. I've recently found a brick in Newburgh. Y&W It was by itself the street. The letters on the brick are raised in a frog any help would be appreciated
A Reply from Fred Rieck:
I believe the Y&W brand mark is attributible to Yaeger and Wagner of Flushing, Queens. NY. I'm not 100 % certain of Yaeger's spelling.
From Eddie Webber:
Hello: I have an old brick I picked up in an antique store in Oklahoma. The brick is stamped TAYLOR & RAINES WAGONER I.T. Being Wagoner Indian Territory. The brick had to have been made 1907 or before statehood. Any information about this brick company would be appreciated. Thanks, Eddie Webber
Hi, I found this site in researching a pile of bricks in my backyard. I am cleaning out debris from the previous owner and I have many Whiteselle Cherry Red Corsicana bricks. I know these are from a Texas yard called Whiteselle. I would like to find the best way to preserve these bricks maybe even recycle for one of my projects - new patio possibly. Some have caked on mortar. Would a capable craftsman be able to use these if I saved them? Jennifer
I have posted photos of several bricks found in a suburb of Chicago. I am curious if anyone has any information about them. It appears the manufacturer's names are: B & H Co., A B C (with a diamond after it), Wellsville Savage, LaClede (?) Sterling D P, & Canton Ohio Trademark B R I D E N (?). Any information would be appreciated. Thanks!
Kathy Zazula writes:
We just renovated our kitchen and found a stack of Dolan Bricks behind the wall. We want to know the history and value, if any, of the bricks. Thank you!
From Jessica Wickham:
hello -- I just discovered your wonderful website!
Internet stores are so convenient, yet there's something about being able to browse lazily in a bookstore on a Sunday afternoon! A compromise of modern life I suppose. Well, in any case I'm glad to learn that you are there! By the way, have you ever come across either of these bricks? The "HEDGES" brick or the "H" inside the moon brick? I found both of these in an old factory in Middletown, NY. Kind regards,
Thanks Jessica for your kind comments!
Website "guru" Fred Rieck replies:
Ms. Wickham, your HEDGES was made in Cornwall, NY. In rereading your entry relative to your Middletown discoveries, and more the brick described as featuring [an "H" within a moon]. May we ask you to describe this brick or the logo, in a little more detail? Is the brick a light yellow or buff color? . which may indicate it is a firebrick? Is the moon a crescent symbol? Is there a rectangularly shaped recess or drpression in the center of the widest surface? A photo would be helpful. We are familiar with crescents and single "H"s within a rectangular recess (called a frog)
Respectfully - Fred Rieck
Hello, I am from Spencer, N.Y. and there was a brick yards here in the late 1800's. I was wondering if you knew anything about it or know someone who might. Thanks, Bob
Judy Eadson writes:
I'm so happy to find your site! My sister found a pile of used bricks for me, and I built a front walk. There are 13 different patterns stamped into the bricks. I've longed to hear the stories the bricks have to tell. From reading your site, at least I can learn where some of the bricks came from and approximately how old they are. Thank you!
From Teri Carey:
Hello. Not sure if you can help me, but I am looking for one original CAREY brick from the Carey Brick Company that was based in Chicago, Illinois in the 1970's. It closed down in the early 80's, but my husband's father used to run the brick company. He died several years ago, and I wanted to get a single brick for my husband for a Fathers Day gift that I know would mean a lot to him as he has been looking for one. Can you help me locate a Carey brick?
From Robin Honaker:
Hello, I did enjoy your web site and have a couple of questions. I have some brick, one has TEXAS written across it, another a star in the middle with what looks like a cathedral window in the upper left corner, also one with KING B embossed on it. Might you know the history of these? I cant seem to find them online. Thank you.
Chris Wolford, an IBCA member and contributor to the IBCA journal has a website with backgrounds on a number of western brick. You may find info on your TEXAS and KING B brick there. To visit his website Click Here.
From Leonard J. Grega:
I am a structural engineer working on a renovation project on a building that was constructed in 1947. The floor system consists of concrete tee beams spaced approximately 13" o.c. with 8" Natco tile in between the tees. Can you tell me what the weight of the Natco tiles would be on a psf basis. Thank you
From Mike DeFranco:
I was digging in my front yard an found some old bricks with the name NEWBURGH & MASSILLO on them are these antiques?
From Christopher Amodeo:
In my town, there is a boat ramp. The ramp has degraded over the years and under the tar ramp, is a layer of bricks. The bricks are falling out from under the tar on the sides of the boat ramp and landing in the salt water. Each brick says "Terry Bros" on it. Are these worth anything ? How old are they ?
I found a paving block marked "Tidewater" on it. It came from an old Nike Ajax missile site from the late 1940's that was torn down earlier this year on Long Island. Can anyone tell me when Tidewater became a company and when it ceased ? Thank you.
Thanks to this great site I was able to identify 26 out of the 28 different bricks I have collected over the years. There are 2 however that I couldn't find, maybe I just missed them. The first one has the letters OB&V on it, and the second one which I just found submerged along the west bank of the Hudson River a few miles north of the kngston/R. Bridge has an almond eye shape, with the letter M in the middle. Do you have any information on either of these two. Thanks, Greg
Fred Rieck replies:
The OB&V is the mark of O'BRIEN & VAUGHEY. The M in the oval (or almond)is a bit of a mystery. Thoughts (suggestions) that have been ventured, to me, are possibly McCabe or McGinnis. Both of these manufacturers have been in the area but that does not preclude another manufacturer we have'nt discovered yet. If anybody has some input on the possible owner of this brand please let us know, This ID thing is still a work in progress. Fred Rieck
From Lois McGivern:
I have some bricks that are quite old and they say VICTOR - they are a yellow color. I am looking for a history on them.
From Shelly Black:
I have 600+ "starburst" designed bricks. more of an enameled/shiny finish. I would interested in learning more. I do know they were originally in the sidewalk of a post office in Portage, OH. I would be happy to send a photo if someone could help identify them. Thank you.
From karen kennedy:
Is it poss. to e-mail you photos of bricks that used to be the floor of a carriage house. They weigh 17 lbs ea measure: 10" x 51/2" x 5". Want to know their history. Interested in selling them Thanks!
From Vincent Morgillo:
I have lived in Wallingford, CT for the last 30 years and recently while digging in the yard found an old MURRAY brick. Did some research can't seem to come up with any Murray Brickmakers companies. Prior to our house being built there was an old barn. I have a few pictures that I'd like to share. Please let me know how to send them over. I'd like to get a little history, if possible. Thank you, Vin
A Reply from Fred Rieck:
There are a number of Murrays which manufactured brick, in both NY and CT. With out having seen your MURRAY , Vincent, I tend to think that your MURRAY may have been made in Westchester County's Town of Cortlandt. predicated on MURRAY marked scrap found in the area Just which Murray made them, I have not been able to determine. Fred Rieck
From Adam Gasperini:
I have been removing an old chimney form a house that I think was made in the mid 1800s the brick had the name Don.B CO do you have any info on this company and or the years that they operated.
There is a DON. B Co (Donnelly Brick Co.) described on Our Collection Page (A-L)
i dug up two evens & howard fire bricks out of my backyard recently. i found them a a foot deep. they are very heavy. i believe there was a house that used to be where i found these bricks, because there was a very bad tornado in 1949 that destroyed alot of property here in warren, arkansas.
Found some bricks with "Griffing" Eastern Long Island. Any information welcome
A reply from Fred Rieck:
I suspect it is one of several brick yards that operated in Suffolk County between Bridgehamton and Sag Harbor.
I found this on the Web: There is a "3.5-mile abandoned railroad spur that from 1870 to 1938 connected Bridgehampton to Sag Harbor’s Long Wharf . the connection between the spur and the Round Pond icehouse facilitated the shipping of ice to New York City. the Griffing Brick Works and several other industries . flourished along the railroad spur."
(To see the source page Click Here.)
I have found a brick with the word BRUSH recessed in the face of the brick. Can anyone tell me about it?
A reply from Fred Rieck:
The Brush Brothers were an early Buffalo, NY mfgr. Frank Clement has some history on this company with the brick on his website.Click Here.
From Dwight B Lindley:
I have bricks that say : LAD RIO BRAVO mexico, Butler, Diamond, Ferris, Houston, also a Houston brick with the S backwards, Groesbeck, Lucas, various Thurber bricks, any info would be helpful. thank you
From Dan Field:
dan calling from nabco country, have come across early twentieths century site made block here in north adams ma. you know any one who needs some of these
From Rosemary H. Jackson:
I'm looking for some Washburn bricks. Know where I might find some?
From Irene Francour:
I have a calvert brick mold very old in good shape could you tell me what it might possibly be worth. or more info. thank you
From Robert Protzmann:
I am looking for information on Oschwald's Brickyards in the vicinity of Cliffwood, NJ (near the raritan Bay). My wife's grandfather, and numerous other relatives, mostly immigrants worked there from ca. 1900-1930's. I am also looking for maps of the area at that time period, which would show the brickyards, and road names. Apparently all the roads that they lived on before 1930 have since changed their names - formerly Brickyard Lane, Amboy Road. Any information would be helpful.
hi thanks-very interesting fun site! this brick given to me by my Mother -with the story that a couple of generations back her family owned part of Dennings Point Brickworks. i have finally verified this through the tax rolls and a book in the Beacon library The History of Dutchess Co.
--Stephen Saunters (my g'g grandfather) and Joseph Lomas owned that property in 1865-1866.
Jessica Hall writes:
I recently found a pile of "Gardner" bricks in excellent condition. I live in Massachusetts and these seem to have come out of an old foundation. Just wondering if these are collectible and how would I link with people who collect them and might want them? I plan to keep some as they were found in Gardner, Ma. which is interesting. Thanks
Jessica, I had similar thoughts when I started collecting bricks just a few years ago. That's why I started this web site: to help collectors learn more about their finds and link with others who might want to trade. Way, way back in these pages are comments from a Mike in Peekskill who is a rose gardener and for fun was looking for ROSE and GARDNER bricks! Type GARDNER in one of our Search boxes and you find all the pages with Gardner info. When you open a specific page, hit CTRL-F, type GARDNER in that box, and you will find the exact place(es) on that page where "Gardner" appears. If you want to contact someone who has posted here, use our Contact Form and we'll try to put you in touch.
Walt Giersbach comments:
So glad to have found your site. Thought I was the only guy crazy enough to collect bricks, starting with Sayre & Fisher when living in N.J. Dug up Donnelly bricks in my backyard in Danbury, Connecticut in '95. Moving back now from Cambridge, MA, I'm bringing a Stiles & Hart brick found here on Huron Ave. Will see if I have anything to add to your collection.
Walt, thank you. Your kind remarks are appreciated!
Michael Misch writes:
I have bricks of the kind: DPBW, MARTIN, JJJ, OXFORD, HUTTON, KING, KANE, JMC, EMPIRE, ETC, I wonder if they are worth anything? Thanks,
From John Marks:
Do you happen to know the name of the brick factory in Pittsburg, CA on Parkside Dr. that made bricks from the early 1920's until the late 1950's ? Thank you.
Fred and I know there are some brick "gurus" out there. Share your knowledge. If you have an answer for John, or anyone else here, please use our CONTACT FORM.
Fred Kabbel writes:
Hi. I was back in Hell's Kitchen last week and I re-visited a demolition site I'd been to earlier. I was suprised at the variety of old bricks I was able to recover (with their permision of course) from their dumpster. I like to hear your comments on any or all of the bricks in the picture. Thanks as always from a soon to be IBCA member.
Webmaster Note: Fred sent us a photo which will be posted soon.
We may know of some local collectors who may want to trade for a few of those M&Ls and MW & Cos
Lloyd Armstrong comments:
Hello, I found a brick when removing a chimney from a farmhouse in Western Massachusetts. The text is:
O. Annese & Son
Woodbridge N J
(text is weathered) I can't find any reference to this company. Any help would be appreciated.(When company was in business,etc.) Thanks.
Hi Lloyd, I'm not familiar with Annese . You indicated that the brick's text was weathered - is it possible that that the name is spelled Anness ? I am wondering if your brick may be another variation of the several "Anness" manufacturing operations that Anness may have been envolved in - Anness & Lyle,. Anness Hollow tile & Clay Co., Anness & Potter, for examples. These were all in Woodbridge, NJ . We may be able to approximate a time of manufacture by the style of the brand mark lettering. Sorry I can't be of more help.
From James P:
Hi i have found bricks containing the word KING GEORGE V 1910 and B & B the & is in robe style.
Sounds like a commemorative brick but I am not sure what you mean by the ampersand being in robe style.
Mike McIntosh writes:
First let me say I have just discovered your web site and have enjoyed it very much. I grew up in the Hocking Valley region of Ohio and have been around many of old brick plants in that area, Nelsonville, Greendale, Natco, Shawnee, General Clay, and Claycraft. I know there use to be a lot more brick companies in Ohio and would like to find out more about them. Is there any information about these old companies?
Hi Mike. Indeed, Ohio, and the Hocking Valley was a tremendous producer of brick. If you are near any Ohio city library, I'm confident they should be able to "load you up" on Ohio brick history. Ohio has taken a great deal of pride in its brick producing heritage, and doesn't appear to have kept it a secret, either.
I have some whiteselle cherry reds, corsicana bricks. i know they are every old I would like to know how old they are and I also heard that they were collectable. Some one told me that there was a person who was buying them. Your help will be appricated thank you
Racquel, the Whiteselle Cherry Reds are a product of Texas. Texas has had a very large number of brick manufactures (and lots of collectors to collect them). I've generally seen some for trade at the various IBCA (International Brick Collectors Association) swap meets.
Found this on the Web: "There were four variations of the Whiteselle brand: Whiteselle-Corsicana, Whiteselle-Corsicana with a plus mark in a circle, Whiteselle-Cherry Reds (incut), and Whiteselle-Cherry Reds (in an inset plate)." For the complete article Click Here.
The Whiteselle brickyard was on South 15th St. in Corsicana, Texas. Here's a web site on Corsicana Brick.
Julie Porter writes:
I have a brick that I got from a mill from 1880 with the letters DMH on it can you tell me what that stands for? thank you Julie
Julie, so far we are stumped on this one. It may be helpful to know what state it was found in. . also is it a fire brick or building brick? Can you send us a photo?
I found a brick with the letters G G A on it. i am having a problem locating info on this manufacturer, i found it at the bottom of a reservoir in brewster ny. any info would be greatly appreciated. i am new to brick history. It did not have a "frog"
Hi, your brick was made by Garret G Allison of Haverstraw. The Allison family had a long line of brickmakers in the Haverstraw area. There is an Allison Street in Haverstraw. Garret is listed in this NY Times article dated July 12, 1853. His name comes up again in an article about the dedication of a Haverstraw cemetery on Thursday, July 7th 1853 in David Cole's History of Rockland County, New York.
Diane Tobin writes:
When were Widemire bricks made? While I was digging at the site of a glass factory which operated from 1876-1888, I found a brick stamped "Widemire." It appears to be a fire brick (or fireclay? brick)and I am hoping it was part of the glassworks furnace. Did Widemire produce bricks from 1876-1888?
Fred Rieck replies:
Ms. Tobin, according to research done by Karl Guerke, The WIDEMIRE brand was made by the Harbison- Walker Refractories Co. of Pennsylvania. durning the years of 1921 -1942. . perhaps earlier and later. One thing to remember is that firebrick may have to be replaced from time to time and the brick found after a plant closes may not be the same brick used in the original building of the kilns or fire boxes.
Angela Thiele writes:
We recently purchased proprerty in McKinney, Tx and unearthed an old well. The bricks lining the well are terra cotta in color, about the same size as a regular brick of today and have a recessed (indented) diamond shape on one side. Do you have any idea of the age and manufacturer of these bricks? Thanks!
Louise Goldstein comments:
We are trying to get more information about Cary Brick who built the Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, NY that opened July 26,1935.
Fred Rieck replies:
William N. Cary is listed as the President of the Cary Brick Co. in the 1903 edition of the Ballston Spa, Mechanicville, Stillwater and Schuylerville directory. A Cary ad, placed in the 1926 Mechanicville City Directory, indicates that Cary has yards in both Cohoes and Newton Hook, with offices in the Mead Building (Mechanicville). Cary was still listed in 1936 but not in 1940. Sorry that I can't be more helpful.
A reply from William:
Regarding cary brick's for the buliding of saratoga spa,i believe the willian h. cary brickyard was located in newton hook,ny,was called the empire brick company,my grandfather worked there and my family lived and (lives) across the rr tracks from the old brickmill
A reply from Fred Rieck:
Yes, the Empire Brick Co. yard was located roughly two miles south of the Cary (Newton Hook) yard. While Empire was it operation, the place was called Empire. Prior to Empire setting up operations there, the place was operated by the Walsh Brothers, and , according to the 1907 Hudson River Telephone Directory, the site was formerly called Walshville.
I'm e-mailing you a photo (attached), of a brick I found in my yard and as I'm not at this time a brick collector and really don't know much about bricks at all, I was wondering if this is a Graves manufactured Brick or a Chemical company's brick? Do you know anything about this brick I found ? It is Stamped : Graves Chemical Bham, Ala. Thank You for your time, Regards Sharon
Hi Sharon, GRAVES B'HAM is well known among collectors as an Alabama manufacturer of street paving brick. The term "Chemical" quite likely, refers to a special formulation in the clay, or its treatment in the manufacturing process, all of which is intended to make the brick more resistant to the "environment" in which it is expected to be used. This may include stricter control of the brick's porosity, size, and surface finish.
From Fred Kabbel:
Hi. I found 2 bricks in the old Hells Kitchen section of Manhattan. One says "ATLAS" and the other says "ALPHA". Both have deep frogs and raised letters. Can you tell me anything about them? Thanks. Love your site!
Hello Fred. The ATLAS was made in the early 1900s in Hudson, NY. You will find more info on ATLAS on This Page:
The ALPHA was made by the ALPHA Brick & Holding Co. in Glasco, NY which faced backrupcy proceedings in 1918: NY Times Article
Thanks for visiting the web site!
--Don B., Webmaster
Shirley Walker writes:
I have bricks from my dads farm in Missour. Laclede King , Evans Howard, St.Louis5, Mexico Ref. Co. Mo Rex. Want to know when made and any other information please.
From cap lesesne:
pls advise on where i can find kane bricks.
KANE bricks are no longer made. You may be able to find some near the brickyard site:
654 Newfield St.
Otherwise look for them at dump sites demolition areas, landfill, etc.
In February, we got this note from Mark Falco:
"I worked summers at the Michael Kane Brick Company of Middletown, Ct. during the late 60's and early 70's while going to college, We used the stove kiln system pictured in your site. The yard was "modernized" with modern dryers, but the ancient technology, the old clay stamping machine and the drying racks remained on site. The wire-cut bricks eventually put the company out of business. I was always impressed by the number of job titles associated with the process from clay bank to shipping the loaded product. There is nothing to compare with the colors and textures from the wood-fired brick."
--Don B., Webmaster
Hello i from argentina and i have a very old brick is similar like this. the brick has the impression PETRE BAUDOUR. if you are interest in my brick, respond. sorry for my poor inglish
You can respond to Nicolas (or any other person here) by using our Contact Form.
I was recently fishing at a hard to reach stretch at the 18-mile creek. I found a brick that says "Hall & Sons, Buffalo" The Brick looks very old, similar in color and font to some of the really old brick pictures you have on your site. Do you know how old it might be?
Well, according to this NY Times article, Hall & Sons was around as early as 1867.
Edward J. Hall was a businessman who had worked for the Perth-Amboy Terra Cotta Company in New Jersey, and started his own brick company, Hall and Sons at 69 Tonawand St. in Buffalo, N.Y.
Jeff Barker comments:
Hello, I found a brick with the name "QUAKER" on it. Do you have any history on it? Thanks
From Leonard J. Jacobs:
In 1914, work began on a 2 mile stretch of rural road in Pine Rock Twp. Ogle C. IL A few years ago it was covereed by asphalt. I have on of the bricks. The first letter I can't read but appears to be -urington Paver. I will try to get to read your fine website and maybe I will find your answer there. But I hope you can enlighten me about the Pavers.
What you have is a Purington Paver.
Here are two great "Purington" web sites to visit:
Purington Brick History
--Don B., Webmaster
Richard Florio comments:
Didn't see anything on the website matching these bricks, so thought you might want a pic and some info, but maybe you can enlighten me further? This brick is from my hometown of Huntington, Long Island, NY. It came from one of the outbuildings of a 1907 Gold Coast Mansion built for Ronald Conklin. The Mansion itself burned about 18 or 20 years ago, but one corner, several outbuildings and the carriage house still remain. The extant corner of the main house has these 'West Neck' bricks visible, so I am quite certain of the date. The 200 Acres or so are on a bluff overlooking Cold Spring Harbor and Oyster Bay, as well as what is today 'West Neck' beach, which is where I believe these bricks came from. I have found broken bricks their while shore-clamming. This area was renowned for it's clay dating back to pre-colonial times. I'll have to stop by the local historical society and see if I can dig up some more info on the local brick industry, but I do know it was large, as was the sand and gravel industry, with NYC only 40 miles west. Other bricks found along side these were NJ bricks from Sayreville (Marked just S & F, without the Co.) By the way, I live across Huntington Harbor on East Neck, but I have yet to find any brick marked as such. Maybe someday!
A reply from Fred Rieck:
Hi Richard, the West Neck brand mark is attributed to C. H. Jones & Co of Long Island, by Dan DeNoyelles, a former Rockland County historian and author. Mr. DeNoyelles is a descendent of a multigenerational family of brick manufacturers and has produced a listing of brick manufacturers and their brick marks. A listing is included in his book Within These Gates , a story about the brick-making industry in Rockland County. Whereas an excellent resource, there are a number of Long Island brick manufacturers and trade names which, in my opinion, are waiting to be listed or matched up.
According to maps I have seen, Jones, and his brick manufacturing neighbor, The Crossman Brothers, were located along the east shore of Cold Spring Harbor, south of the thin strip of water separating Caumsett from Lloyd Harbor. At some point in time Dr. O. Jones become involved with the business. What would be interesting to find out, is if Crossman Brothers produced a brick with their name or trademark?
On another note, there were several manufacturers located in the area of Fresh Ponds, north of Locust Grove: Long Island Brick Co, Prevost Bros., Sammis, George Longbotham, and Henry Brown. Would you happen toknow if there was a connection between L.I. Brick Co. and Prevost Bros? Did Longbotham make a marked brick? . and who may have made the brick with three, double outline stars as a trade mark? Any information would be helpful. Fred Rieck
Susan Petrie's comments:
Hi..love your site. I've read some about laborers who worked in brickyards and wonder if girls and women were employed by the yards, too. I'm up in Albany and was recently in an adandoned factory of some sort that had brick floors on the second storey. Seemed really unusual. Any reasons? Also, I have found bricks stamped "Troy." Were they made this far north? One more: does anyone know a total (or approximate) number of brickyards that the Hudson River helped sustain? I gather the last one finally closed in 2002. Thanks for any info. Best, Susan
A Reply from Fred Rieck:
Hello Sue. Generally speaking, it is doubtful that women worked along with men in the production part of making brick because of the dirt and weight of the materials handled. Building kilns in which the brick were baked (burned in the talk of the trade) generally required that a quantity of brick be tossed together up to, or dropped down to another worker who was on another level (tier) of kiln construction. That doesn't mean that somewhere in history, a woman had not done this kind of heavy and laborious labor.
Having said this, there have been a number of women that have owned and operated brickyards. According to a listing of brick manufactures compiled by Dan DeNoyelles, a descendent of a Haverstraw brick making family, the following women, (and there are more) Mary Buckley of Grassy Point 1885, Mrs. E.L. Chrystie of Newburgh, Mrs. Frank Dunnigan 1902, Mrs. A.Fisher of Verplanck, Mrs. William Bennett, and the Budd sisters of Dutchess Junction, are among them. It appears that a number of the ladies inherited these business' when their husbands (or father in the Budd's case) passed away. The Budd sisters carried on operations very successfully for many years..
The TROY brick you mentioned was made in Troy NY by the Troy Brick Co. I recall reading that there were about 110 brickyards in operation along the Hudson River in the early 1900's These yards ranged from Staten Island to Mechanicville, NY and there were still a few more yards from there, north to Plattsburgh.
Sue, you mentioned a second storey with a brick floor. Would you know the name of the building or what business it was used for? Sometimes tile and enameled brick were used where sanitary conditions must be conformed to . breweries, hospitals food prep and etc.
Dr. John Parker writes:
Brick with "HEATHERY KNOWE PATENT GLASGOW" frogged in a recess. I am looking for information on when this was made, what company, etc. I have done extensive web searches discovering the community of Heathery Knowe near Glasgow Scotland. But no info on brickworks. Thanks in advance for your help. John
I was just reviewing family heritage with my mother. I was told that my great grandfather's family owned a brick company in Berlin Ct. They had moved from Haverstraw NY around the turn of the century. She told me that there was a church in Kensington CT. that contained their bricks. Just curious thanks. What an interesting hobby.
From Greg Perez:
comments: I love to see your idea of preserving history, I have an historic building in Peekskill, NY and I need to restore the facade and some brick needs replacement, however I do have a sample of the original brick and the name ends in "ES" could you tell me where and who made it?
A reply from web site "guru" Fred Rieck:
Greg, it would be more helpful if you had more of the brick. We could suggest HEDGES (Cornwall, NY), STAPLES (Kingston, NY), and some Connecticut manufactures as STILES and SHARES. These brands are "off the top of my head", so to speak, and there are others as well.. The HEDGES and STAPLES seem more likely. . sorry I can't be of more help. - Fred Rieck
Inge Aiken writes:
Howdy! I have been scavenging old bricks from a local landfill in Albany, NY. My initial goal was to collect the old brick to learn masonry and brick the walls of our basement to look like an old foundation. Besides the fun in learning masonry, I have been fascinated w/ the origin of these brick. (I guess that's what happens when you spend so much time loading, unloading, cleaning, and installing bricks!) My question is that most of the bricks are: A.H.&Sons. Can anyone ID these brick for me? An internet search produced a brick company, A.H.Curtis and Sons, in Georgia. Can anyone confirm this? Some other bricks I couldn't find on your locator are M&R, RB, JM, CARY and a few others that I will need to double check. Thanks so much for such an informative website!!
Fred Rieck replies:
Hi Inga, bricks can be interesting, can't they? The AH&S is the mark of Alfred Hunter & Son. The name, in this format, shows up in the Albany City Directory about 1895..and was still listed in 1921. Al Hunter was listed as a brickmaker prior to 1895 as early as 1875. The AH&S yard, may have been at the corner of N.Pearl and Van Woert. Their brick appears to have been made primarily for local consumption as the brick marks tend to be mostly found in the Albany vicinity and not to too far beyond.
The other four brands you mention are, too, essentially "local" bricks. However, M&R, RB and JM brand letters were ALSO used by three "down river" manufacturers. M&R and RB in Rockland County and JM (John Morton) in Westchester. Since the down river manufacturers had enough of a time meeting the needs of the NY and NJ market its most likely your brick were made locally. The CARY (John Cary, president and CEO) was made at either the Newton Hook (near Stockport Stuyvesant) or the Cohoes plant. Your JM is very likely that of John Murray of Cohoes. The M&R and RB brands I'm less certain of. Moore & Riberty and Rennselaer Brick (Co) come to mind. A photo of the two would be helpful in comparing them with the Rockland County brandmarks.
Inga, you mentioned a land fill in the Albany area. Would it be possible to get a location for it? On the theory that the landfill would be a repository of local brick, we may be able to look through it and see what styles of brick marks may be found there and compare them. . in this case, to the Rockland brands for which we may be more certain of. Brick ID is still a work in progress
- Fred Rieck
From Diane Dalton:
While out for a walk, I ran across a pile of demolished bricks embossed with the word "Calvert". I have been unable to find out anything about these bricks, i.e. age, manufacturer. Please help clear up the mystery.
A reply from your Webmaster:
Per "Brick Brands of the United States" compiled by Jim Graves of the I.B.C.A., the CALVERT brand was made Victor Cushwa & Sons in Williamsport, MD. Cushwa was bought out by the Redland Brick Inc and today has merged into Belden Brick.
From the "Quad - State Business Journal," May 1999:
Baltimore's Camden Yards and Ravens Stadium blend as comfortably into their urban landscape as the older structures around them, but much of their exterior beauty comes from the rural countryside of western Maryland. The brick for the major league baseball and football stadiums was made at Redland Brick Inc.'s Cushwa Plant in Williamsport, Md.
Like most U.S. brick manufacturers, Redland's Cushwa plant is located near its raw materials: high grade clay with good ceramic properties and shale. Although shale is a sedimentary rock, it is formed from compressed mud and chemicals similar to clay so it is a common material for bricks.. The Cushwa plant has been producing bricks for over a century, and its 300 acres contain enough clay and shale for 100 more years. The brickyard was started in 1872 by Victor Cushwa and remained a family-owned business until 1987 when it was bought by a British company, Steetley PLC., which also owned two other American brick manufacturers, KF in Connecticut and Harmar, located near Pittsburgh.
In 1992, Steetley was acquired by Redland, PLC, another British company which at that time was the largest brick company in the world. The next year, all three American brick companies were consolidated into Redland Brick Inc. In 1996, Ohio-based Belden Brick Co. purchased Redland Brick Inc.
Today, Redland Brick Inc. has annual sales of $30 million and employs 240 people 116 people work at the Cushwa plant. Redland's corporate office is in Williamsport, in a Williamsburg-style building built in 1973 of (what else!) brick. When a two-story addition was built last year, the new hand-moulded rose-colored bricks matched perfectly.
Terence Gower writes:
Hello, I am a researcher looking for a picture of what has been described as a "salmon-colored" brick produced by Champlain Brick Company --- I believe it's from their Cherry Valley range. Has anyone seen this item? Thanks!
From Ronald Jobin:
I have an ancestor, George Holden, who according to the 1880 census lived in Stony Point, NY and worked n a Brickyard along with many of his neighbors.. He was 23 at the time. According to a family anecdote, the bricks were used in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge or one of the othe bridges spanning the East River. Can you shed any light on this for me. Thanks
From Daniel Hornbeck:
I am by marriage related to the John Jova family of Roseton, NY. My older brother worked one summer for the yards in 1962? Recently, I was living in Floral Park, NY and had bricks removed for A/C installation when I noticed the bricks had the Jova trademark[JJJ] on them. I have one, maybe to add to your collection of photos.
From Webmaster Don B.:
We'd love to post your photo here and thanks for sharing your family info. If you have any more history of the Jova yards, let us know.
Greg Perez writes:
I would like to know where I can find red brick made in 1940's near Peekskill NY, I have a historic buldg that I need to replace some bricks, I have an sample with a name on it. :Your help will be apresiated.
From cathy bennett:
I have some bricks from the brick plant in my back yard. the Sapulpa Pressed Brick Plant was purchaged by Nicholas Hermes in 1925. I have bricks stamped with Sapulpa Brick Plant. I may look under the house to see if any of the original bricks are under there. I live in his house now.
Per Jim Graves of the IBCA, the Sapulpa Pressed Brick Company was in Sapulpa, OK
From "FRISCO SYSTEM MAGAZINE," December 1902:
While the thriving town of Sapulpa, in the northern part of the Creek Nation, has numerous natural advantages upon which to found a hope, nay, a certainty, of future prosperity, recent developments lead to the belief that it will eventually become a great center for the manufacture of brick and kindred products. There is now no doubt that the town lies in the center of what is probably the largest and best shale deposit in the world. Thorough prospecting shows the shale belt to include an area of 15 to 20 square miles, and to contain enough shale to rebuild the cities of New York and London, should those centers of population be leveled to the ground by some overwhelming calamity. This is only another way of saying that the shale beds of Sapulpa are practically inexhaustible.
While the existence of an excellent grade of shale in various parts of the Territory has been known for many years, conditions were not until recently such that any advantage could be taken of the fact. A shale bed in the wilderness is of no particular value, but one in close proximity to good railroad facilities, and in the heart of a country undergoing the most rapid development the world has ever seen, will not long be overlooked. The extension of the Prisco System into Oklahoma and the southwest, the construction of the Red River division of the same system from Sapulpa into the heart of Texas, and on to the Rio Grande, and the preparations to extend a branch north through the Osage country and on into Kansas, now assures this locality an outlet by rail to all directions. Under these circumstances, a number of enterprising residents of Sapulpa decided to learn something more definitve as to the extent and value of the deposits.
An organization was formed for the purpose of prospecting the country thoroughly. A wide range of territory was covered, which established the fact that while shale was to be found in large quantities in many localities of that region, that found in the immediate vicinity of Sapulpa combined advantages of superior quality and quantity, as well as better shipping facilities. This having been ascertained by surface indications it was determined to discover the real extent and nature of the beds, and a company was formed for thnt purpose, in which Fred Pfendler, J. A. Boyd and F. T. Watson were the prime movers. Thus, less than a year ago, systematic development was commenced. Two prospect holes were drilled, each more than 1,600 feet deep. Except for a few thin layers of sandstone, both these wells began and ended in shale. Another hole drilled in the hope of finding artesian water, after passing through 8O0 feet of shale, struck a fair quality of oil, running from five to seven barrels a day. The fact is that the town of Sapulpa, and the entire surrounding country lies over an immense deposit of shale of unknown depth. Just in the edge of town rises a great hill, more than 100 feet above the level of the landscape, and about 40 acres in extent. It is a solid mass of shale. One blow with a pick will turn up the shale on any part of the hill. There is no superfluous dirt to be removed. The hill has simply to be tunneled and the shale can be stoped directly into cars. This is not the only shale hill in the limits of the belt. There are many others, and one or two are even larger. The huge, conical upheavals a few miles south of Sapulpa, from which the town of Mounds takes its name, are known to be composed entirely of shale. The mounds do not lie so conveniently to the railroad as the Sapulpa hill, but to run a switch to them would be easy and inexpensive. Still farther south, near Weleetka, the Red River division of the Frisco System cuts for narly half a mile through a solid bank of blue shale
It was only necessary to call attention to these facts to secure the capital necessary to turn them to practical value. A few months ago the Sapulpa Pressed Brick Company was organized, and immediately took steps to begin operations. Within a few weeks after the company was organized, it had erected a plant and was turning out brick. The output of the plant had already reached 50,000 every ten hours, and a total of over 2,000,000 have been manufactured and distributed. Recently J. A. Daly and C. B. Ritchey, practical brick manufacturers formerly of Nevada, Mo., have secured a controlling interest in the plant, and expect to more than double the capacity as soon as the necessary machinery can be put in. Experts who have examined these shale deposits pronounce them to be of exceptional quality and variety. When exposed to the air, the shale crumbles naturally. Three varieties--yellow, gray and blue--are found. Bricks manufactured from it take a beautiful color and polish. Comparatively limited as have been the operations of the company up to the present time they have amply demonstrated the value of its product, which has found a ready sale in open market competition. Preparations to add machinery for the manufacture of tiles and vitrified brick are now under way. Other companies are being projected, for, while the Sapulpa Pressed Brick company is first on the ground, the field is inexhaustible. There is room for a hundred such companies, so far as a supply of material is concerned, and there is reason in the prophecy, so frequently made by residents of Sapulpa, that the shale belt will, in time, owing to sheer excess of natural advantages, contribute largely in supplying the vast amount of building material neccssary to the upbuilding of the great undeveloped empire in the southwest.
I recently bought an old house in seekonk ma and found some old bricks. at first i was like ungh, but then i stumbled appon one that really grab'd my attention. it was a hollow brick with the letters DB Co with a enclosed cross in the center. i later found out that it was an original duffeny brick from possibly the the late 1800s as it looks to be abbout 100 years old or so. the fact that its hollow is what really captivates me. if anyone reads this and knows a little bit more and can enlighten me please contact me. thank you and good night.
From Dorothy Zamora:
I am an archaeologist and just finished a project in New Mexico in a coal mining town and found red brick with a hollow middle. What type of brick is this and do you know what they date?
Dan from New Jersey writes:
Does anyone know if certain companies had areas that only they could sell bricks to? because about 95% of the bricks i find in my town are either shultz, washburn, or tri-co. i did find a few that i can't identify though, maybe someone could help me out. M&LW..BR&S..NM&CO..R&S..T&G..HG any help would be great.
Fred Rieck replies:
Many times, particularly in locations away from large cities, smaller manufacturers may be more inclined to meet the needs of their locality. In the situation where you see so many Shultz, Washburn and Tri-Co brick, it may be more a matter of when in time that area was developed. Shultz, and Washburn were by in large upstate NY manufacturers which became big producers for the downstate market at a time when the downstate producers were folding their tents, so-to-speak. In essence, many of the producers near the NY metro area (and I am lumping northern NJ into this market) had gone out of business because their sources of clay had petered out.. From all the WASHBURNs I've seen in Jersey, one may (briefly) think, they owned the market. ROSE was another BIG producer that had connections and influence in attempting to control general manufacture of brick in relation to market demand.
To ID some of your finds: M&LW = Mordecai and Lucien Washburn (Grassy Point, NY), BR&S = Bennett Rowan & Scott (West Haverstraw), R&S, Roan & Scott or Redner & Strang (both of Haverstraw), NM& Co = N. Mehrhoff (Little Ferry,NJ) T&G = (Trevianus & Gardner Little ferry,NJ), HG = (Henry Gardner Little Ferry,NJ). The NY brand IDs are attributed to the work of Dan DeNoyelles, a Rockland County Historian. The NJ IDs are attributed to the compilations of Jim Graves, the librarian for the International Brick Collectors Association.
From Greg Craddock:
I have a Tiffany & Co. Chicago brick and a brick from a building at Western University. I was wondering if they had any value at all. Thanks,
Carol Todd writes:
Do you have any information (or know where I might possible search) on the brickmakers of Orange County, especially at "Cronk's Clove" or "Mother Cronk's Cove", in the narrow valley between Storm King Mtn and Crow Nest? They were named Kronkhyte or Cronk, and were probably in business before the 1840's. I am in Texas, so not near any local NY sources of information. Thank you!
A reply from Webmaster Don:
Hi Carol, Fred & I haven't found any info on brickmaking at Cronk's Clove but I did come across this page (which you may already be aware of).
Fred writes: I was able to pull up some USGS survey maps covering the Storm King and Crow's Nest topography (1892 West Point Quadrangle) ne. I believe I can see the valley between the two Mounts, and it has a stream running through it to the Hudson. I see no evidence of any brickyard in it, nor any structure in that valley. Please note that the valley isn't ID'd on my map. However, across the Hudson R., on the eastern shore, just south of Breakneck Mtn. is the site of the former Moser Brick Yard. Then north of Storm King, on the western shore, lies Cornwall-on-Hudson at which the Hedges Brick yard was located. North of that is New Windsor which had several brick yards over the years -- all along the Hudson River. There is a book entitled Hudson River Guidebook , Arthur G. Adams, 1996 (ISBN 0823216799) which makes reference to Mother Cronk Valley, but there is no mention of brickmaking there. Another resource may be to contact the Orange County Historical Society at 21 Clove Furnace Drive, Arden, New York 10910 FAX: 1-845-351-4696. The "Society" has a research library. . though I haven't visited it - yet.. My "at hand" information doesn't go back much before 1895. That's about all I can suggest.
Hi Don, Thank you -- and thank Fred, too -- for taking the time to answer. William T. Howell, in his book on the Hudson Highlands, mentions that the Cronks "conducted the old brickyard," I believe. Very likely, it went out of business 150 years ago, so probably nothing much remains. There was a CCC Camp there in the 1930's. Thanks again for your help,
Hello, I am working on a small interior project in my home and wondering the best way to "clean" the reclaimed Cream city or Chicago bricks that I have before I use them as a veneer on my basement wall. They are pretty grimey and I have tried Oxy Clean. should I try muriatic acid.
A reply from Fred R.:
Hello Mark, if it's the residual mortar and cement, that you wish to remove - scrub the brick in clean water to get off the dirt. Then let the brick soak in clean water for a couple hours to let it "fill" with water. Now you can dip the brick (or just the surfaces you wish to clean), in muriatic acid. To be safe, wear rubber gloves and goggles. ALSO . be careful and not inhale the fumes from this stuff (meaning the acid) . Just how long you should leave the brick in the acid bath depends on how much mortar is on the brick. If its a new bottle of acid, you are using, let it fizzle for 10 minutes , then remove the brick from the bath and see how clean it is. Being wary of how the brush bristles will spatter the acid, You may wish to scrub the brick with a brush under water to wash off the loose cement and mortar. If there is still an objectionable spot, dip it again. If the "soil" is tar or paint - I'm still looking for an easy way to remove that material, myself.
This from Leslie Smith:
Hello..My great-grandfather was the "Babcock" in the Moore & Babcock Brick Co. of Albany New York. I would love to have a brick from the company M & B. Would you advise me on how I could obtain such an item. Thanks
A reply from Gregory K James:
Leslie, my great aunt was Anna James Babcock, wife of Joshua Babcock and my great grandfather Howard James, worked in the brickyard for over 30 years. I was wondering if you had any luck in tracking down a brick, as I would also like to acquire one for my father. I would also like to hear from you in regards to the family. Thanks and hope to hear from you!
I am forwarding your email to Leslie Smith.
Don B., Webmaster
I received an email from Leslie-this is fantastic! Thanks Don-and thanks for putting together a great website!
Hello, i would like to find out the pricing of new bricks small and medium or the charge per sq ft is also fine. thanks.
A reply from Webmaster Don:
Look here for a company near you or look for Google ads from brick companies sprinkled thruout this web site.
More from Dave H:
When I was out and about today, I saw a brick with the raised corners that said MAY-AUG PA: https://hurtle.com/pics/brix/MAYAUGPA.jpg. If it's a mystery, it was found in an empty lot next to the old Lackawanna train terminal in Jersey City. The railroad has been defunct for decades so it may have been dumped. It may have read NAY-AUG PA but I assumed those were months. Once again, I left almost everything where it was but I took one home: https://hurtle.com/pics/brix/WBROS.jpg. It was the only one like it mixed in with hundreds of WASHBURNs. I assume it's a Washburn variant not listed on your site.
A reply from Webmaster Don:
IBCA authority Jim Graves lists the maker of your paver brick as Peter Stipp in Nay Aug, PA (just outside of Scranton).
John Renwick writes:
I have two bricks which I picked up when the execution chamber in Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow was being converted to normal cells. They are stamped BARLINNIE and they date from circa 1882 which is when the prison was constructed using convict labour. I was a guard at the prison for most of my working life. I assume the bricks must be rare as it is not often that major structural work is done in the prison. Is there a market for these?
From Ottavio Cinelli:
Today my son and I found several S&FBC stamped bricks in a creekbed here in N.J. One is in pristine shape and I suspect there are more. I was wondering if they might be worth anything. Regardless, I will save them anyway because I am a history buff, but any information you can provide would be extremely appreciated. I saw them listed here as Sayer and Fisher from Sayerville, NJ. Thank-you,
From Mark Falco:
I worked summers at the Michael Kane Brick Company of Middletown, Ct. during the late 60's and early 70's while going to college, We used the stove kiln system pictured in your site. The yard was "modernized" with modern dryers, but the ancient technology, the old clay stamping machine and the drying racks remained on site. The wire-cut bricks eventually put the company out of business. I was always impressed by the number of job titles associated with the process from clay bank to shipping the loaded product. There is nothing to compare with the colors and textures from the wood-fired brick.
From Webmaster Don:
Thanks Mark for sharing this!
More from Dave H:
I was on the Hudson River in Jersey City, NJ at the end of the long defunct Morris Canal. I'm just speculating but the bricks there could've come from upstate NY, somewhere local in NJ or eastern PA if they arriived via the canal. I'll try to get the tide info as it needs to be at low tide preferably early in the morning when nobody's around. One guy asked me if I was searching for gold. I'd love to find a gold brick!
Here's an update. I went back and couldn't locate anything named Mallory or even Malley but I did see a half brick with LLEY on it so I'm guessing I saw a Malley and got the name wrong. Unfortunately, I probably made a mistake with with the CMJ too as I couldn't locate that one either but I did find an imprint in mortar:
According to Bryan, the city was Amenhotep III's love letter to the god Aten.
"When ancient Egyptian kings built, they would dedicate their construction to a deity and associate themselves with that deity," she said.
Aten was depicted as a sun disc. Archaeologists typically associated the deity with Amenhotep III's son, Akhenaten, who worshipped Aten instead of the chief Egyptian god of the sun and air, Amon.
This discovery shows that Amenhotep III believed in Aten too, Hawass said — which explains why the Pharoah named the city "tehn Aten," meaning the dazzling Aten.
First Day at the Site – Looking for the Narrow House
Today we picked up our antiquities inspector and went to the site. (Inspectors are Egyptian Egyptologists who work for the Ministry of State for Antiquities and each foreign expedition is assigned an inspector.) Our workmen began to clean away the dreaded camel thorn that grows along the edge of the desert wherever a bit of moisture is available (for an idea of how they remove this thorny plant, see the blog post for February 15, 2010 below). Then we went off in various directions to check out the site. Joel, Pam and I went off to the Birket Habu mounds to see if we could find any trace of the “narrow house” that we told you about yesterday. Joel and I had already made a stab at estimating which mounds the structure might be hiding between, but we checked four possible locations, checking each against the old photograph. Of course, photographic equipment was different 100 years ago, so we aren’t exactly sure yet, but we have two really good possibilities.
The rectangular Birket Habu is the most recognizable feature of the site
As you can see from the photograph below, Joel has just estimated the location of the South Village. We think the narrow house is between either mounds B4 and B5, or B5 and B6. If we can locate it in the next few weeks, Joel will be able to add a huge plan that shows what was excavated by our MMA colleagues a century ago, and we may be able to relocate some very interesting features, including what was once called a furnace, perhaps a kiln for making glass and faience.
The best way to see the site is on Google Earth
Peter and Diana contacted a member of the Polish team that is going to conduct some testing with a magnetometer in several parts of the site, which will indicate whether or not there are structures still buried beneath the surface. That work begins tomorrow and we will keep you posted on the progress of that work to locate mud brick structures beneath the surface of parts of the site that have yet to be excavated.
The Ziggurat of Ur (photo taken 2005). Original structure built c. 2100 BCE. Image courtesy Wikipedia via user Hardnfast.
Recently I learned a few interesting points about the mudbricks of the Ziggurat of Ur. This ziggurat was built around 2100 BCE by the king Ur-nammu and his son Shulgi (see a reconstruction drawing of the structure and a map of the original complex HERE). We know that this structure was built by Ur-nammu because mudbricks from this structure are stamped with Ur-nammu’s name. 1 In fact, the first stage of the ziggurat construction was built using seven million mudbricks and 720,000 fired bricks.These mudbricks were created from clay and reeds. They would have been pressed into rectangular molds and left to dry in the sun, or they could have been fired to ensure the brick would better withstand moisture and wind. 2 Such fired bricks weighed up to thirty-three pounds (which is impressive, but this weight pales in comparison to the Great Pyramid at Giza, where the stones weigh an average of 2.5 tons!).
Brick from the ziggurat of Ur, stamped with Ur-Nammu’s name, c. 2100 BCE. Two dog’s paw marks are seemingly-accidentally marked on one side. Image courtesy British Museum.
The British Museum owns one such example of the stamped bricks from the Ziggurat of Ur (see above). The core of this structure is essentially solid, with only a small exception: in order to allow water to evaporate from the solid core, “weeper-holes” pierce the inward-sloping walls. 3 These holes were lined with fired bricks, instead of the typical sun-dried bricks. Additionally, the outer layer of bricks for the ziggurat structure was comprised of these weather-resistant fired bricks, and these fired bricks were placed in waterproof bitumen. Additional measures were also taken to protect the entire structure from the elements: every few layers of bricks were covered with criss-crossed reeds and sandy soil, in order to prevent the ziggurat from drooping when the surrounding ground was flooded with silt from the Tigris and Euphrates. 4
Detail of “weeper holes” at the Ziggurat of Ur. Other holes and damaged areas of the reconstructed ziggurat wall result, in part, from an attack on a nearby Iraqi air base in 1920s (see HERE).
I knew that the Ziggurat of Ur was made of mudbrick, but I didn’t know how much detail went into the types of bricks that comprised the core and outer layer. 5 With this new insight, I think I can better understand why the Ziggurat of Ur was called “Entemennigur,” which means, “House whose foundation creates terror.”
1 It is important to note that the second and third terraces were extensively restored by the Babylonian king Nabonidus (555-539 BC). Other rulers who preceded and followed Nabonidus, restored and/or altered this ziggurat as well (including Saddam Hussein). See Diana K. McDonald, 30 Masterpieces of the Ancient World (Chantilly, VA: The teaching Company, 2013), p. 40.
4 Martin Isler, Sticks, Stones, and Shadows: Building the Egyptian Pyramids (University of Oklahoma Press, 2001) p. 31. Available online HERE.
5 It is also interesting to me that the king Ur-Nammu considered other details in his construction of other buildings. A temple at Uruk included foundation figures, which were copper “pegs” that represented the ruler as a temple builder, holding a basket of earth to make bricks. One such foundation figure is in the collection of the British Museum.
I had no idea, either! It would be interesting to investigate this from the perspective of the history of brick laying and how it relates to modern structures or even Adobe.