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.
commercial brickyards appeared in many places, and in them a crew of
workmen made and burned the brick used in the surrounding region.
Indiana's 19th century architectural heritage is attributable to the early
craftsman whose skill transformed the local clay into building material of
Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: