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Brick Plant - type of rail traffic?

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Brick Plant - type of rail traffic?
Posted by CSXDixieLine on Sunday, October 04, 2009 9:13 AM

The prototype I am modeling has a large brick plant that I want to include on the layout. I am wondering what type of rail traffic a typical brick manufacturer would have. I have good aerial views of my prototype plant as well as several ones in my local area (I never realized there were so many rail-served brick operations!) It looks like nearly all have a loading dock where skids of bricks are shipped out by boxcar. Some also have covered unloading tracks with conveyor systems. I presume this is where covered hoppers of clay and/or open hoppers of sand are unloaded. I have seen some open hoppers of sand being unloaded in a few photos, but never any clay hoppers even though you can tell clay gets brought in somehow since there is a lot of "spillage" around the unloading pits.

Does this research seem correct? Does clay even move in covered hoppers? Would appreciate any more info anyone has regarding this.

Jamie

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Posted by locoi1sa on Sunday, October 04, 2009 10:16 AM

 I would not think clay would be shipped in hoppers. Clay is one of the most stickiest commodities that is very difficult to discharge. Raw clay from the ground likes to clump and stick to everything. Even our plastic lined dump trailers will get clay stuck to the sides and nose of the trailer. Another consideration is weight and density. Brick plants would more than likely receive raw clay in either a short side gon or side dump car. If the clay was dried and processed prior to shipping it could have been shipped in small shipping containers inside a box car. Pelleted clay could be shipped in small covered hoppers.

  Another product brick plants would be served by rail is fuel for the kilns. Liquid, coal, coke, or some type of gas.

  Sand, aggregate, fly ash,gypsum, pallets, and other raw materials are all transported by rail.

  Load  out would be in box cars or flats or even drop side or end gons.

  Some very large brick plants also made concrete brick/block and other products like flew lining and pavers. There is also specialty brick like fire brick and sewer brick.

   Have fun

      Pete

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, October 04, 2009 12:15 PM

Fire clay(a heat-resistant clay)  is indeed shipped in covered hoppers..You can receive covered hoppers of sand as well.

Sorry but,pallets usually comes from a local supplier/rebuilder by flat bed truck

Larry

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Posted by markpierce on Sunday, October 04, 2009 12:53 PM

Brick manufacturing plants were commonly located immediately adjacent to the clay pits, so clay was typically received by conveyer belt or truck.  It isn't usually economical to haul low-value materials (in relation to their volume and weight) like dirt or limestone a long distance. 

Even when the value of the raw material is raised by making it into bricks or cement, shipping the finished product long distances would also be uneconomical unless they were somehow unique.  It wouldn't be typical to ship bricks or cement across the continent.  Purchases of locally produced goods could be made at much lesser cost when one takes into account the shipping costs.

Mark

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, October 04, 2009 8:11 PM

markpierce

Brick manufacturing plants were commonly located immediately adjacent to the clay pits, so clay was typically received by conveyer belt or truck.  It isn't usually economical to haul low-value materials (in relation to their volume and weight) like dirt or limestone a long distance. 

 

Mark

Mark,While working on the Chessie we switch the  Didier-Taylor Refractory at South Shore,Ky and we did indeed switch car loads of fire clay.It wasn't unusual to switch several car loads at a time.

Also we switch out boxcars of brick.These bricks was usually billed to  steel mills.

We never switch tank cars of fuel or coal.It was my understanding the kilns(rolling,tunnel and hive) was gas fired.

 

Larry

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Posted by cacole on Sunday, October 04, 2009 8:23 PM

 Unless it's a brick plant that makes something so unique that it is sold throughout the country, all customers would only be local and the kilns would be near the clay pits.  Products would most likely all be shipped by truck, not rail, except something exceptional such as the steel mill firebrick that Brakie mentioned.

 

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Posted by BerkshireSteam on Monday, October 05, 2009 12:57 AM
I remember seeing a layout with a brick plant that was rail served. I will have to look for it. On the hand IIRC kaolin is made with a type of clay for coating paper. At least that's how I understood it.
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Posted by markpierce on Monday, October 05, 2009 5:56 AM

BRAKIE

Mark,While working on the Chessie we switch the  Didier-Taylor Refractory at South Shore,Ky and we did indeed switch car loads of fire clay.It wasn't unusual to switch several car loads at a time.

Also we switch out boxcars of brick.These bricks was usually billed to  steel mills.

Brakie, I'm curious as to how distant those shipments were made.  I'd be surprised if they were more than a few hundred miles.

I wonder if the D-T Refractory exhausted its local supply of fire clay, requiring it to import the stuff.

Mark

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Posted by CSXDixieLine on Monday, October 05, 2009 6:58 AM

Thanks for all the good info so far everyone. Followup question regarding the outbound shipment via box car. On most (75%?) of the modern brick plants I have located, there is a loading dock where you can see box cars spotted. The photo below shows the Boral Bricks plant in Atlanta where eight box cars have been spotted for loading or unloading. I had concluded that these box cars were used for shipping outbound product, but a few posts have suggested bricks would not be shipped by rail. Trying to figure out wat these box cars are being used for. Jamie

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Posted by jrbernier on Monday, October 05, 2009 7:40 AM

  Pallets of bricks are still shipped by rail.  Inbound clay is usually shipped in older gondola cars, but I suspect most clay is local to the plant.  The DM&E ships clay out of the Minnesota River valeey area.

Jim

 

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, October 05, 2009 7:50 AM

On the south side of Milwaukee is an unusual brick operation that is, or was until recently, still rail-served.  It reclaimed brick from old buildings that had been torn down.  Much of it was the Milwaukee "cream" brick (yellowish when new, dingy gray as it got older during the coal burning era but often steam cleaned to look yellow again).  I assume they chipped away at any mortar sticking to the brick.  My undersrtanding is that old brick can bring premium prices, either for new construction or for repairs and alterations to historic structures.  Anyway I have seen them load pallets of reclaimed brick into box cars.  I was never able to check out just how filled the boxcar would be before it hit its load limit.

One interesting operation in the midwest was Purington Brick in East Galesburg (sometimes called Yost, sometimes also called Knox), Illinois.  This was located right on the Santa Fe mainline but the factory was served by a spur from the CB&Q.  There is a lot of information on the web about Purington -- the made street pavers that are often seen on depot platforms.  This website from an historic brick outfit has some pictures and info but Google "Purington Brick" and you'll find tons more photos and information.

http://www.historicalbricks.com/brick_history.html

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, October 05, 2009 7:53 AM

markpierce

BRAKIE

Mark,While working on the Chessie we switch the  Didier-Taylor Refractory at South Shore,Ky and we did indeed switch car loads of fire clay.It wasn't unusual to switch several car loads at a time.

Also we switch out boxcars of brick.These bricks was usually billed to  steel mills.

Brakie, I'm curious as to how distant those shipments were made.  I'd be surprised if they were more than a few hundred miles.

I wonder if the D-T Refractory exhausted its local supply of fire clay, requiring it to import the stuff.

Mark

Mark,There wasn't any nearby clay mines after 1900-the closest was Firebrick Ky(this outfit had a railroad powered by mules-the 4 legged type- that pulled clay dump cars on rail made from logs to the C&O loading site)..Years ago clay arrived by boxcar and was shoveled out by hand..

The shipments was to steel mills located in Gary,Chicago,Pittsburg,Warren and other steel mill locations.However,by the time I started working on the Cincinnati Division boxcar loads of brick was 1-2 cars a week due to the down turn in US steel mills and I suspect trucks cut into the boxcar loads as well.

 

As a side note,CSX's list for jumbo hopper is:Bulk commodities like grain, fertilizer, flour, salt, sugar, clay, and lime so we can see clay is indeed hauled by coved hopper.NS also mentions clay shippers.

I know there was at least 1 clay mine in Greenup Ky but,that was miles away and by the 70s been closed for 30 or more years.

 

 

Larry

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Posted by garr on Monday, October 05, 2009 8:22 AM

 Jamie,

 Brick is hauled in boxcars. The traffic volume has been reduced since around March '07 when the housing boom started to slow.

 I know there was(is) a brick distributor with a small rail unloading dock near Legacy Station Hobby Shop on Hurricane Shoals. The one time I went to that shop I turned on the wrong road shortly before getting to the shop. I turned around in the driveway of the brick lot. Not for sure which railroad served it, but probably CSX.  There were a couple of waffle side boxcars in the process of unloading.

There is also a brick distributor here in Acworth receiving brick by rail.

Augusta, GA also has a large Boral Brick plant. It used to be Murray Brick years ago. Not really knowing what I was hearing when I was kid in the '70s, I remember Murray Brick always being mentioned on the news for local stock numbers.

A brick distributor might be a good option to modeling the large brick plant. Not as many cars in, but it does save space.

 

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Posted by garr on Monday, October 05, 2009 8:35 AM

dknelson

...Anyway I have seen them load pallets of reclaimed brick into box cars.  I was never able to check out just how filled the boxcar would be before it hit its load limit...


Dave Nelson

 

Dave,

The boxcars I have seen loaded with brick have only had one level of palletized bricks, approximately 5' high.  I believe all have been 50 foot boxcars. I don't know if it is the order size or weight over volume that dictated this load size, but my guess it is the latter.

Jay

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Posted by markpierce on Monday, October 05, 2009 2:29 PM

If bricks are interesting to you, I suggest you study the information provided at this site.

http://calbricks.netfirms.com/index.html

Mark

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, October 05, 2009 2:41 PM

markpierce

If bricks are interesting to you, I suggest you study the information provided at this site.

http://calbricks.netfirms.com/index.html

Mark

 

Mark,

That's interesting reading..Especially about the bricks shipped to California from Arkon,O.

.

Larry

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Posted by markpierce on Monday, October 05, 2009 2:56 PM

BRAKIE

That's interesting reading..Especially about the bricks shipped to California from Arkon,O.

Glad you enjoyed it.....  Those weren't your every-day bricks.  They were specialty (refractory), high-value bricks.  A person may want to consider this in selecting/naming his brick works.

Mark

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Posted by locoi1sa on Monday, October 05, 2009 3:21 PM

 Most modern brick is not shipped on pallets anymore. They are stacked and banded in a way that leaves room for forks to pick the cube. It has been quite a few years but I think there were 144 brick to a cube. I remember picking up trailer loads of brick in New Jersey and bringing them to Cape Cod. We would ask the lift truck operator to set the cubes to the side so they could be shrink wrapped before putting them on the trailer. At one brick yard near Boston there was a couple of bulkhead flats with cubes of sewer brick being loaded out. They were covered with cardboard and banded with 2 lift trucks loading from both sides. I had to wait for hours until one truck was freed up.

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Posted by CSXDixieLine on Monday, October 05, 2009 11:16 PM

Wow...what a wealth of information. I am sifting through all of the historical brick websites. The brick industry is a great one to model: lots of traffic in relation to the size of the footprint. I think I am going to have one production building/warehouse combo with a single spur track/laoding dock for box cars and a double spur track for unloading bulk materials such as sand/clay. There will also be a large storage shed for the bulk materials and a conveyor system to take the materials over the tracks to the production building. The storage sheds are pretty unique in that they are large metal buildings with the lower half of the sides open. I'll post a plan once I can figure how to fit this grandiose plan into my actual space available. Jamie

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Posted by grizlump9 on Monday, October 05, 2009 11:48 PM

 richardson brick co in edwardsville il had their own clay pit about 20 miles northeast of their plant, near new douglas il.  it was located on the NKP and clay was loaded into the hoppers at an elevated truck dump ramp.  i remember seeing 5 or 6 open top hoppers at the loading site most of the time.  20 miles was a pretty short haul but was obviously more efficient than trucking the clay at that time.

 as for box car traffic, i remember a lot of brick coming out of ohio (near cambridge) on the former PRR and being interchanged to western connections at st louis mo.  palletized brick is one commodity that is easily damaged by rough handling even when properly loaded and blocked.  most cars were placarded "do not hump"

 when i worked in the claims department, we used to intercept westbound loads of brick, open the car and photograph the load.  if it was already damaged, we just played dumb, resealed the car and let the delivering carrier take part of the heat. if the load was still tight, we had photographic proof that the damage did not occur on our line. (heh-heh-heh)   what? affixing blame is the standard railroad way of solving problems.

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Posted by ericsp on Monday, October 05, 2009 11:48 PM

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Posted by DANCBQ on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 12:05 AM

Milwaukee wasn t the only town with a used brick trade for many years there was a used brick company located next to the q racetrack on cermak road and central park which shipped old chicago red facebrick. A good deal of it according to one person i met 30 yrs ago was that there was an entire subdivision in the Memphis area where the bricks were reused. Apparently the face brick are quite valuable due to the color not being easily replicated.      Also as far as purlington brick goes they re best know around chicago for their use on commuter platforms.                                                                       

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Posted by Bradley A. Scott on Thursday, October 08, 2009 5:32 PM

Interesting thread!

The prototype I plan to model, the Kansas City Clinton & Springfield Railway, had both brick and sewer-pipe factories as major online shippers.   The brick plants didn't last much beyond 1910 or so, but the sewer-pipe factory stayed open until 1948, when it shut down after a labor dispute.  Its longevity may have been due to its more specialized product. 

These industries picked their locations according to the availability of clay and fuel.  The largest of the manufacturers on the KCC&S, the Dickey Clay Manufacturing Co., had onsite clay pits adjacent to its factory.  Clay was hauled into the plant on a narrow-gauge intraplant railway.  Coal was mined a few miles away on the KCC&S and, to the best of my knowledge, was hauled the short distance to the plant by standard-gauge gondolas.  In later years, after the clay pits adjacent to the factory were worked out, clay was reportedly hauled a few miles on the KCC&S from pits about 5-10 miles away.

Sanborn fire insurance maps show that the Dickey Clay pipe factory had two long tracks flanking the main factory building.  On one side there was a long spur for product loading, surrounded by stockpiles of finished product.  On the other side there was a long track for unloading inbound materials.  This second track had facilities for transloading bulk cargo (coal/clay) into the narrow gauge plant railway for transfer into the factory itself.  There were also tanks for oil storage and a shed for salt.  The salt was used in the glazing process for the sewer pipes.  I have no documentation of what the oil was used for, but I won't let that stop me from routing tankcars into the plant.  <grin>

A Sanborn map of a smaller nearby brick factory shows a similar layout, with two tracks flanking the main building, presumably one for inbound materials and one for outbound product.

Local history books report that the Dickey Clay Mfg. Company's voracious demand for empty boxcars, and the fact that its product was virtually impervious to water damage, led the railroad to route large numbers of battered and leaking boxcars there.  Inevitably, some of these "leaky roof" cars got shunted to other shippers of more water-sensitive cargo such as flour, hay, grain, etc.  From such mishaps the KCC&S was dubbed with the enduring local nickname "The Leaky Roof Line". 

Is this practice still common today?  Are badly-battered boxcars still preferentially assigned to haulage of relatively water-insensitive products like bricks, clay products, etc.?   If so, it might be a good excuse to indulge in some extensive weathering on boxcars assigned to this service.

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Posted by bladeslinger on Friday, October 09, 2009 3:35 AM

 Let me clear up one thing...YOU are right Jamie...don't listen to these other guys.

Bricks are quite commonly shipped in Boxcars.  I'm an active engineer for NS and have been with the company for over 10 years, and unfortunately most of the lumber and brick industries on my route have either gone out of business or discontinued rail shipments, but I can atest that we did indeed have a number of "brick holes" just a few short years ago...and that was on my route alone.  We had two locations for Simpson brick, one in Doraville, GA and one in Commerce, GA.  We had a place called  North Georgia Brick in Doraville.  There was also a Boral Brick (former Williams Brothers) in Duluth, GA.  There were a couple other places that received brick by rail as well.  All of them received their brick in 50' boxcars, generally double door, but sometimes single door.  I see consists for our through trains all the time with boxcars of brick in the manifest going to various locations around the country.    On my route, I think Simpson in Doraville is the only one still getting cars.  I know Boral hasn't gotten any in a long time, as the weeds are head high in their track...and by the way it's a different Boral location from the one you show in the photo.  Someone told me that N.GA Brick wasn't getting cars now.  Simpson in Commerce closed down.    I'm really trying to think hard to see if I can remember another location that's still active.  Unfortunately a lot of our local business has dropped off.  I'm hoping it'll pick back up in a few years.  I'd like to work a local out of Chamblee as a regular job whenever my seniority permits, but right now I'm extra-board.

I've never seen an actual brick manufacturing plant, only distribution centers.  I'm not sure what all a plant would receive by rail, but a lot of others have given you good possibilites.  Whenever I eventually get around to building a layout, I plan on modelling a brick distribution warehouse.  I've bought a lot of palletized bricks and blocks from Walthers for whenever I get the space to build.  I have plenty of nice Southern box cars to be spotted up at the loading dock. 

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Posted by Blazeman on Friday, October 09, 2009 7:59 AM

I was traffic manager at a company that would custom grind manganese and iron ores, package them in bags, and ship to brick companies. The purpose of the ores was for coloring the bricks.

Believe it or not, the ores also were shipped to glass companies for colored bottles.

Since the plant was in the east, and the rail-delivered customers in the west, back in the day, the western lines had car distributors posted at eastern RR HQ's to direct their empty boxcars to these loads. So, depending on where your layout is geographically, as well as era, you can possibly employ ATSF, UP, SP boxcars for these inbound loads.

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Posted by CSXDixieLine on Friday, October 09, 2009 8:08 AM

bladeslinger
Let me clear up one thing...YOU are right Jamie...don't listen to these other guys.

Do you ever run up towards Chattanooga? There looks to be a General Shale Brick between Inman and the 'Hooch (hopper unloading, no box car ramp) and Boral Bricks just outside I-285 (hopper unloading and box car ramps). I didn't even know about the places up on the northeast side of Atlanta. Thanks for the info. Jamie

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Posted by jsanchez on Sunday, October 11, 2009 12:04 AM

  The class one railroad I work for has many customers that recieve bricks by boxcar, the business was increasing before the economic downturn and I'm sure it will increase again when things improve economically. Most of the bricks are coming from North and South Carolina to destinations in PA, NY and New Jersey.  Due to an increased focus on North South traffic this has been a growing source of revenue and keeps many boxcars in service.

    One thing that modelers my find intersting, is the doors of the boxcars are left partially open to allow the bricks to cool in transit.

Jim 

 

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Posted by Dave-the-Train on Sunday, January 10, 2010 3:41 PM

I have just read through all the posts but not the links...

I would like to suggest a few things...

The most significant has got to be that both the brick industry and rail connection will be extremely era specific.  The size, means of extraction, volume of production, methods of production, fuel, handling, and loads more things will vary massively

I'm sure that, if one looks back far enough, there will be pics of men filling wheelbarrows with clay.  In the modern period there will be various machines from front loaders to rotary cutters... these will be loading onto very long conveyor belts that have replaced the temporary rail lines that would once have run strings of tipper cars.

Near where I grew up in the 50s/60s there were lots of small pits with equally small kilns serving them.  A lot of them had spurs serving them - even in this copuntry where we are much less inclined to put in connections all over the place - the reason being that brick is a small. dense load that until palletisation was a pain to handle... and handling, especially when the bricks were fresh, could easily mean damage.  Every chipped or broken brick reduces profit... I find the post on insurance claims very interesting.

One thing that used to happen a lot was that brickworks and brickyards would have tips of mis-baked, bent, burst, flaked, chipped and broken bricks.  Some were dumped into old clay pits.  These days there is less waste from "mistakes" in production because thwere is more science applied and everything is more computer monitored and controlled.  I think that most sub-standard brick is now used as aggregate.

Both here and in the US experiments were carried out (in the C19) to see if broken brick could be used as ballast for railways/roads.  This proved totally unsuccessful in all the evidence I have seen.  Basically the brick was too friable meaning that it would crush down into a compacted base.  It also failed to drain.  These properties make crushed brick fine for providing a sub-base for driveways and parking lots but rubbish for the rail industry.  I would imagine that crushed brick would leave works in trucks these days.

In this respect tiles are a different issue.  (Pipe has been mentioned but no-one has got round to tiles yet).  Tiles are no good for ballast - or much use for sub-base - but they can be used, broken up, for field drains... this was both a cheap alternative to clay pipe drains and before modern plastic tube drains,  The same principle applied... cut a slot, put in pipe or broken tile and back fill.  Just as clay pipe drains don't like modern (large) tractors neither did tile drains. 

 There is a pattern with this... defective goods eat at the profit margin... so if you can get some money - or at least get rid of the rubbish for free - you are reducing your losses.  These are very low value products though so - except in times when values rise - the dispersal of use would be within a limited radius.

Demand is a major issue.  The thread has covered special bricks such as fire bricks and coloured/glazed bricks.  Two other things apply.  Peaks and troughs in demand (unfortunately we have evidence here of a major trough) and type/application of brick.

In the 1920s and 30s there was such a massive demand for brick for London housing alone (not to mention factoies, offices etc) that block trains of brick were run with specially designed large/high weight capacity wagons.  Billions of bricks went from the Bedford and Luton areas into London.  (Also tons of sand from Leighton Buzzard).  So just think about how much material must have gone into New York and Chicago to name but two.  Each of your major cities would have had periods when the area from which they drew in materials expanded... and later contracted.  I would think that until the 1960s the weight and handling characteristics of the materials would have meant that a lot of traffic - especially the mid to longer distance supplies - would have move by rail... era specific again.

These days there are amazing machines that you can tip front loader bucket fulls of brick rubble into one end and the other ends will pour out aggregate and cleaned up bricks.  I've seen these working on demolished factory sites.  The bricks get sorted for face quality and palletised.  Those pallets are cling film wrapped... I hate that stuff!

The packs of bricks that don't have pallets are banded with steel (black or light rust - if they've been standing) or plastic... blue, pale green or yellow.  All the bands are only about 1/2" wide.  Once there had been anough leg injuries construction sites got round to making proper provision for not just disposing of the banding but policing it up very fast and securing it so that it didn't blow around site.  The SoapBox stuff is lethal.

Some blocks are cling film wrapped as well as banded.  I've not seen them only film wrapped.  It's usually the high value / specialised bricks that get double treatment... the packs and/or bands often get the producers name on them.  This makes a modelling detail similar to the plastic wrapped lumber loads on centre beam flats... which makes me wonder why bricks aren't loaded on CBFs or bulkhead flats...?

Within the banding and the pressures between the bricks that hold the blocks together there can be movement.  If a block is lifted wrong or put down on uneven ground the cube can twist.  If you get a distorted block you have to be careful how you cut the strapping... always assuming that the block hasn't already fallen apart to some degree.  A l;ot of this is relevent to modelling construction sites but and brickworks or yard would have at least one or two bust blocks somewhere around... maybe with a manager yelling at a forklift driver...

I'll come back with more stuff for insomniacs in a bit...

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Posted by Dave-the-Train on Sunday, January 10, 2010 4:29 PM

More for insomniacs! Tongue

Era specific... pre and post palletisation (we later get the banding into blocks...)

Pre palletisation bricks were what we call "hand balled" (I guess you use the same or similar expression).  For the youngsters and those that have always had soft jobs... hand balling bricks is usually done in threes and either individually or in a chain you get into a rythm.  If there's a mouthy kid in the middle he will suddenly catch a five without warning... the stream  of threes won't let up while he tries to pick himself up.  The mouthier they are the more bruises they end up with.

Where I played these games we were close to several brickworks.  This often meant that our bricks arrived hot.  They almost always came on flatbed trucks.  If they came netted they weren't so bad but sheeted was (literally) a pain - because the dust would not have been blown off/out by the journey.  Hot brick dust can leave your face like a bad dose of sunburn.  Back then the only PPE we got was gloves.  Brickies and their hod men worked without gloves but you always unloaded a truck with gloves... no gloves you didn't unload... one trucker solved the problem by making a ramp in front of his rear wheels, accelerating up it and shooting half the load off the side onto the pavement... best thing (for us) was he did it just as a police car came by.  Laugh

I don't even want to think about handballing glazed pipes or any kind of tiles.  I'd rather play with block pavers or paving slabs.

Palletised and blocked bricks obviously get stored in stacks of pallets/blocks.  On a hard stand I think the highest stacks I've seen have been four high.  I suspect that above that the weight pressure could start to mess with the stability of the stack.  On a site I rarely see them more than two high unless they are in a hard based compound.  A lot of the time they don't get stacked at all unless space is really confined.

Of course palletisation ties in closely with hydraluic handling equipment.  Once you start to get Hiabs you can lift the heavy packs.

Pre palletisation there were specific ways to stack bricks.  This still gets used at times on sites where bricks get barrowed in to places the booms can't reach.  For a stable stack you start placing bricks on edge side-by-side (let's say left to right) when you have two levels of a dozen or so down you go to the left end and 3/4 of a brick length away you put one brick face down, lined the same way.  On this and at right angles you put three bricks so that they slope to the existing stack.  This arrangement makes a "bookend" that stops the end of the stack falling outward.  Provided you get the end right you can make a pretty huge stack and it doesn't have to be on level ground along the stack.

All the old brickworks and yards used to have monster stacks of brick with the ends made up in that way.

Bricks used to come in local sizes, esp[ecially when they were hand made.  This will be another reason why some bricks have a higher recycle value.  It's cheaper to clean old ones up than mess about making unique sizes.  That said I know of a specialist hand-brick brickworks that will make almost any brick to order... provided that you pay, a lot, up front... and they charge for the duds!

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 2,299 posts
Posted by Dave-the-Train on Sunday, January 10, 2010 5:50 PM

The bricky, Cedric, that I worked with summer of 73 had done a five year apprenticeship in the 20s.  He would walk onto a site we were modifying, look at the bricks and tell me which brickworks the bricks came from, look at  the mortar and told me who had laid it and what it would be like to drill for tie-ins.  This sounds ridiculous but I can tell you that if he said a job was going to be a bad one he was never wrong, Disapprove  Then again, he always told the managers that they would be bad even when they were soft as putty. Approve

So for your cities the early bricks would be local in the same way and the lime/cement/sand mixes would all have their own unique attributes - even down to colour.

The coal-fired-everything-era made everything (people included) a mucky sooty grey.  In areas with bad sulphur coal the acid rain destroyed some brick so buildings were demolished / fell down or were repaired with different brick.

Different bricks are different inside.  Some are hard all through, some have a hard shell all round and some have a hardened face on one side and one end,,, this is usually a coating put on the face... often a sand mix.  On a machine the machine will not just spray on the coating but can even put a pretty pattern in it.  For a hand brick the maker will thump the wet brick down on a tray of the sand on the appropriate sides as the last part of the making.

This is relevent to works, yards and buildings for modellers.  The thing that makes it easier for very modern image is that, if a block of bricks isn't wrapped, it will probably be extremely uniform at least on each face.  On the other hand whereas old works mostly turned out all their bricks pretty much the same modern ones can switch from doing 1,342,609 bricks style A to 63 style F and then 20,000,093 without the operator even bothering to look up from his newspaper... the latest plants will even run their own quality checks - not just for hardness etc but even for colour consistancy.  This is why people pay more for older house "with character"!

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