Pioneer Brickmaking in Indiana (HI-11)
Most of the brick made in Indiana until the late 1800's was shaped by the "soft-mud" process, in which molds holding one, two or three bricks were filled with a wet mixture of sandy clay and then turned out to dry in the sun and air until they were sufficiently firm to be fired in a kiln that burned cordwood or coal. Clays suited to this simple process are obtainable at many localities within the state. When brick was burned at the construction site, the shapes were formed and dried before the itinerant brick burner arrived to build and fill the kiln.

By 1850, commercial brickyards appeared in many places, and in them a crew of workmen made and burned the brick used in the surrounding region.

Much of Indiana's 19th century architectural heritage is attributable to the early craftsman whose skill transformed the local clay into building material of enduring beauty.

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Historical


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