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The Raw Material

Colonial Brick mines its clay and shale from a pit located on the plant property. There is a 25 foot seam of red burning shale, and immediately underneath is an 8 foot seam of buff burning clay. By using varying proportions of the two in the mix, a wide range of body colors can be achieved.

The Production Process
Most of the equipment used to grind the raw material, form the brick column, and cut it to size is pre-1950. It is, of course, a problem to maintain this equipment, but one can only respect and admire the innovation, creativity, and workmanship that was involved in the manufacture of this machinery. As compared to today's automated equipment, it is extremely labor intensive, but it also allows us to change size, color, and texture comparatively easily.

The Burning Process
Firing kilns has been described as being both an art and a science. It is also a very hot, physically exhausting job, particularly when it is time to remove the ash from the fire boxes. Since there are so many variables, it is necessary to keep track of and record all sorts of data which indicate the progress of the burn. The kilns eventually reach a heat of 1950 degrees F where they are held for 48 hours to allow the heat to penetrate the setting uniformly. At this point the stokers are shut down, the kiln cools for about 4 days, and then the bricks are removed, sorted, and packaged for shipment.