Ferris Paving Brick Company, Mechanicville, N.Y.

From Brick, Vol. XXII, No. 1, Jan., 1900:

The Ferris Paving Brick Co., of Mechanicville, N.Y. has been incorporated with a capital of $100,000 to manufacture paving brick, pressed front brick, hollow brick, tile and other clay and shale products. Directors are J. C. Duncan, F. H. Ferris, W. L. Howland, H. O. Bailey and E. F. Strong of Mechanicville, and H. S. Harp, of Green Island.

From Municipal Engineering, Vol. XXI, No. 4, Oct., 1901:

From Brick, Vol. XXI, No. 4, Oct., 1904:

The Ferris Paving Brick Co.. of Mechanicsville, N. Y., is putting in new machinery for the manufacture of chimney blocks.

From Municipal Engineering, Vol. XXIX, No. 4, Oct., 1905:

Mechanicville, N. Y.—The Ferris Paving Brick Co. is adding building brick equipment to its plant. The additions will be completed by October 1. The company will continue the manufacture of paving brick.

From Brick, Vol. XXXI, No. 4, Oct., 1909:

The Ferris Paving Brick Co., Mechanicville, N. Y., has completed the installation of new brick machinery which will increase the capacity of the plant to 84,000 daily.

From Brick, Vol. XXXII, No. 6, June, 1910:

The Ferris Paving Brick Co., Mechanicville, N. Y., has changed its name to the Mechanicsville B. B. Brick Co. [Building Brick]

From Brick, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, Oct., 1910:

Brickmaking at Mechanicville.

This thriving city, 30 miles north of Albany, has excellent shipping facilities, being located on the D. & H. R. R , which delivers brick north and south and at times into Pennsylvania. The N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R. delivers west and south; the Boston & Maine east through New England as far as Boston. It is an ideal location for the manufacture of brick. The clay and sand cannot be equalled in any section of the country. They are taken from the hills, which have natural drainage, so there is no annoyance or expense for drainage. The clay bank averages 50 ft. in depth, the top 6 ft. being sand, which is used in the mixture; below this are 8 to 12 ft of fine yellow clay, while underneath this layer to a considerable depth is found a blue clay, containing a small percentage of quicksand. This clay is easily taken from the bank.

There are at the present time five large brick plants located there, all making sand-mold brick, and running steadily the year through, with an output of from 18 to 24 million brick each.

The brick made there are in demand in Boston at all times. The natural market is Albany, Troy and Schenectady, all the brick used in these three cities being made in Mechanicville. The brick are of good quality, special care being taken in the manufacture and burning. There can be no question about a market for brick such as these in any section, and if brickmakers generally would devote more thought to the manufacture of a good brick they would not need to spend time and money and worry in order to find a good market for their product. Brick such as made in Mechanicville and a number of other places by the sand-mold process create a demand for this class of building material and make their own market.

Up to 1894 there was only one yard located at Mechanicville, and that one used the old-style, upright machine, tempering the clay in wheel pits. But in the spring of that year this company contracted with the well-known firm of C. & A. Potts & Co., Indianapolis, for a complete plant, consisting of a horizontal brick machine, disintegrator, granulator and a 10-track drier. This was the first plant on the Hudson to work the clay direct from the bank through a drier. Old-timers predicted failure, but the plant proved to be a success, making better brick than formerly and reducing the cost of production $1.25 per M.

W. H. Duffney was superintendent of this plant for two years; he then resigned and organized a new company—the Champlain Brick Co.—and a contract was made with the Potts Company to furnish the equipment. This plant was put in operation in the spring of 1897, with a capacity of 42,500 brick per day. The demand for the brick made was so great that the following year the company purchased a second Potts’ outfit, increasing the capacity to 85,000 brick per day.

Following this, the Ferris Brick Co. was formed and purchased a complete outfit from the Potts Company; and in the fall of 1909 another outfit was purchased, making a daily capacity for this yard of 85,000. This plant differs from the others in the drying system, using the Sharer direct-heat tunnel drier.

The latest plant for Mechanicville was erected this past season, when Mr. Duffney sold his interest in the Champlain Company and organized the Duffney Brick Co. Modern equipment for two complete plants was purchased from C. & A. Potts & Co., giving a total capacity of 86,000 brick per day.

At Mechanicville the raw material is taken direct from the bank, where the required proportions of the blue and yelow clays have been loaded into carts—four carts being required to handle the clay from the bank to machines—and dumped directly into the granulator. No labor is required to feed the clay into the machines; the granulator breaks the large lumps and mixes the different clays thoroughly and feeds same regularly into the disintegrator and brick machine. It was proved on the first plant erected at Mechanicville that a better brick could be made by this process than was possible by the expensive tempering wheel. From the disintegrator (which is placed directly over the end of the brick machine pugmill) the clay enters the pugmill, where the tempering shaft pushes it forward—at the same time tempering it thoroughly—to the press box at the further end of the pugmill, where it is pressed into the molds. The brick are dumped onto wooden pallets, placed on rack cars and taken to the drier.

All the brick made in this section are burned in scove kilns, set 156 brick wide and 55 high, making 48,000 in each arch. The burning is done with wood in from six to seven days.

From the small beginning made in 1894 has developed a large and profitable industry, all due to the success of the first plant equipped with sand-mold brick machinery. Another advantage of this process of manufacture is to be found in the system of drying. By the rack-and-pallet system work could be continued only a short time each year, and a new set of men, so-called drifters, was employed each season, and in this way half the season would be gone before a good crew had been obtained. But under the system now employed the plants run the year ’round, giving the men steady employment, allowing them to become interested in their work and take pride in making good brick.

Ferris Paving Brick Company building brick.

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