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University Range Dark ClinkersThe brick molding process unique to New England is called Water-struck. In this process, very high moisture content surface alluvial clay is pressed into molds. Water is the lubricant used to release the wet clay from the hardwood molds. The resultant troweling of the wet clay by the wet hardwood mold box as the wet bricks slide out leaves behind a textural patina after firing that has never quite been duplicated by any other brick making process.

Water-struck brick have been used extensively since early Colonial time in the entire New England area. The surface alluvial clay in much of New England has lent itself to this method of manufacture because of its naturally occurring high moisture content and high plasticity. Early examples of projects built with water-struck brick with each still in daily use today are:

  • Pre-1677 - The Peter Tufts (Cradock) House in Medford, MA
  • 1713 - The Old State House in Boston, site of The Boston Massacre
  • 1723 - Christ Church in Boston, aka Old North Church of Paul Revere fame
  • 1729 - Old South Meeting House in Boston, meeting place of Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty while planning The Boston Tea Party
  • 1798 – Massachusetts State House in Boston, designed by Charles Bulfinch, the first native-born American to train as an architect and practice professionally. This building was finished during the Presidency of John Adams and two years before then Vice President Thomas Jefferson completed the dome on his home at Monticello.

Vermont Brick carries on this tradition of assured durability with compressive strength averaging above 18,000 psi or nearly five (5) times that required by ASTM or CSA standards.

The brick molding process unique to New England  is called Water-struck. In this process, very high moisture content surface alluvial clay is pressed into molds. Water [actually, sodium silicate commonly called waterglass] is the lubricant used to release the wet clay from the hardwood molds. The resultant troweling of the wet clay by the wet hardwood mold box as the wet bricks slide out leaves behind a textural patina after firing that has never quite been duplicated by any other brick making process.

Water-struck brick have been used extensively since early Colonial time in the entire New England area. The surface alluvial clay in much of New England has lent itself to this method of manufacture because of its naturally occurring high moisture content and high plasticity. Early examples of this water-struck brick would be The Peter Tufts (Cradock) House in Medford, MA (pre-1677) and the Old State House in Boston, completed in 1713 but still in daily use.

Locally in New England, because Waterstruck was the most prevalent molded brick on the scene, the lore of its virtual indestructibility was attributed to its manufacturing process. The reality is that the exceptional durability of this type of brick is due to its superior absorption rate and high compressive strength – both a function of the alluvial clay deposited near the earth’s surface by the recession of the last glaciers at the end of the Ice Age.