The Story of Old Carolina® Handmade Brick

The history of making brick by hand can be traced back thousands of years to the early Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations where clay from the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates and Nile Rivers were formed by hand and left to dry in the sun. Later, in about the third millennium BC, the brick makers discovered that heat applied to the bricks would greatly increase their durability and be much more resistant to cold and wet weather conditions. This enabled the construction of permanent buildings where harsh, cold and wet conditions prevented the use of earlier mud brick. The early field kilns were fired with either wood or coal.

The Romans used fired brick and they introduced their brick making technology to many parts of their empire, including Europe and Britain. Later, during the colonization of America, the ships bringing settlers often held handmade brick as ballast in their holds.

The art of making brick by hand was brought from England and Holland to the American colonies by craftsmen who would set up a brick making operation at each construction site. They would gather the local clay and throw clumps of it into their set of wooden moulds, which they carried from job to job. After sun drying, the brick were stacked into piles or field kilns and fired with either wood or coal, which imparted unique colorations to the brick surfaces.

Old Carolina® Brick has preserved this ancient art of making brick by hand. Although our operation is modernized and automated, we have kept the process of throwing the clay by hand into wooden moulds. Our skilled mud throwers form a clump of clay into a wedge shape, roll it in sand, and drop it into a wooden mold. This hand moulding operation imparts distinctive folds, finger marks and other surface irregularities which make each brick individually and uniquely characterized.

Colonial brick makers used a batch firing process which made control of quality and brick durability rather difficult. After the forming operation, Old Carolina® brick are fired with clean, efficient natural gas in a modern tunnel kiln to assure a consistent high quality and structurally durable brick. Old Carolina® brick have the same warm and earthy colors found in brick made hundreds of years ago.

After firing, Old Carolina® brick are then blended and packaged on a modern monorail into our unique double pack cube. This type of package, which uses extra strapping half way up the cube, insures the brick arrive at the job in perfect condition. From the clay mining to final shipping of the brick, full quality control measures are used in our plant operations to achieve a beautiful, durable, and well blended brick in the wall.

We offer a full line of shapes and pavers, as well as arches of all types. And we offer expertise in matching any brick in size, color and texture to those in numerous historical sites. Please advise us of the type brick and desired quantity or send us a photo or sample of the brick to be matched and we will be glad to offer a matching brick.