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Hi all, here in Chester County, (eastern PA) there are buildings from the 1920's thru 1950 made from a brick that is light red to almost a "pinkish" color, they are rather heavy but don't hold up as well as common red bricks. sorry I don't have a pic of them but I have been searching. They have been used to build homes as well as garage buildings. My question is are these common to anywhere else in the country? and does anyone know anything about them, name, etc. maybe Bill or someone from PA could help. Thanks.

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I don't know anything specific about your pink bricks. In fact, I have very limited knowledge of building materials after 1900.

There's a good possibility the bricks came from the Glen-Gery Brick Co., probably called the United States Brick Co. during those years. With plants in Reading and Wyomissing, it was the largest manufacturer of building bricks in the country between 1898 and 1950. Any suppliers near the Reading RR had easy access to their products.

They have since bought out many other manufacturers in several states, but they might have some historical info about their products in PA during that time. Their main office might still be in Wyomissing.

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We call 'em Chicago Commons, and the color is salmon.

Relatively soft, low fire, not vitrified.

Once you dig past the outer 1/4" of tempered finish, they're pretty soft and powdery. They work well w/lime mortars, but go to blazes quick when used w/modern mortar.

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Same as Kurt. They are difficult to re-cycle, but work well for landscape chips. Around Michigan they were produced from clay brought in from Ohio via rail and fired in kilns in Charlotte and Eaton Rapids. Fuel for kilns was sawdust.cc

We often will see a wall of them where the mortar is still intact and the brick is half gone!

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Wow! so these bricks made it to the middle part of the country and maybe farther. I talked to an old timer in my area and he seemed to think they were just a local thing but I guess not. And it seems like they do not hold up well in other climates either. If anyone else has them in their state or has any info on them feel free to reply. Thanks.

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The Brick Association Technical Notes 15 on salvaged bricks relates the history of salmon brick. Salmons were those bricks from the lower temperature areas of the kiln. They were not meant to be used on exterior wythes, just interior wythes, for exactly the reasons stated, they do not weather well.

Perhaps the depression/war economy forced the use of these seconds for the exteriors of some of the buildings you cited.

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There are those that work fine for exposure; you can tell by looking @ them.

In general, you're right; the softer brick goes on the inner wythes; in practice, at least here in Chicago, the masons would pick through them to find the "good ones" for the exterior wythes too.

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