Tuttle Bricks, Middletown, Connecticut.

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

The Tuttle Yards
The model Tuttle yards at Middletown, Conn. View of the No. 3 yard showing Machine House and 12-Track Drier.

One of New England’s Best

The Tuttle Brick Co. is probably the largest single independent producer of common building brick in the state of Connecticut, turning out something like 35,000,000 brick per year. It is one of the companies which has remained independent of the new selling organization known as the Central Connecticut Brick Co. The three yards operated by the Tuttle Company are among the most modern in all New England, and this company has shown itself to be very progressive in its methods and in the conduct of its business. Its product is high-class and finds a ready market. During the past season much of the product has been shipped to the Boston market where good prices have prevailed. Frequently, however, when the New York market is such that a selling price of $7.00 or $7.50 per M. can be obtained, large shipments are made into that territory.

The beginning of Tuttle brickmaking was by George L. Tuttle–the father of the present generation–ant Middletown, Conn., in 1842 and continued by him until his death in 1890 when the firm of Tuttle Bros.–consisting of the sons, George L. Jr., Willis W., Wallace M. and Lewis M.—was formed to carry on the business. At that time the brickmaking property comprised what is now yard No. 1, with an output of 13,000 per day, and a pair of horses at the end of a “sweep” for power.

The following year, 1891, the power was changed to steam, a “New Haven” brick machine was set up and the beginning made of the “rack and pallet” system of drying. Three years later another yard, now known as No. 2, was also fitted up as a steam plant, and its capacity brought up to 45,000 per day, the same as the No. 1 yard. In 1896 the copartnership was changed to an incorporated company with George L. Tuttle as president, Wallace M. Tuttle treasurer and Lewis M. Tuttle secretary.

in 1904 the ambition to do greater things was too strong to be suppressed and adjoining property was bought with the intent of having the best brickmaking establishment in the state.

Modern methods are employed in the excavation of the clay, a Thew steam shovel being used in supplying the clay for yards No. 1 and No. 2, although clay is still dug by hand at the No. 3 yard. Little stripping is required and the clay vein, which is about 30 ft. in depth, is easily accessible. It is hauled by cable tramway to the machine houses. The clay is of a red residual character and burns a handsome red, making practically all of the product suitable for use as a face brick.

The equipment of all the yards is very modern and complete. The “New Haven” horizontal machine has been adopted exclusively, the company being enthusiastic regarding its excellent tempering features and its stability. No. 1 and No. 2 yards have one machine each, used with Potts disintegrators. On both of these yards the pallet system of drying is used, but on No. 3 yard a 12-track Standard drier of 50,000 capacity is in use in addition to the pallet system. On this No. 3 yard, which is perhaps the most complete and modern, two “New Haven” horizontal machines are in operation in connection with a Horton sander; the pallet portion of this yard has a daily capacity of 48,000 which, with the drier, gives practically a daily capacity of 100,000 for this yard. Another innovation on this yard is the adoption of the Mentz 7-brick mold for the half of the yard used in connection with the Standard drier. The kiln shed at this yard holds 4,500,000 brick.

Alterations and improvements are as slow to crowd into brickmaking as into any other manufacturing business, but better methods of drying had been the desire of brickmakers for some time, although the trade in Connecticut had not kept pace with outside makers as to drying.

After search, thought and diligent inquiry, the method of the Standard Dry Kiln Co. was adopted and a 6-track drier of that make set up in the spring of 1909. The working of this was so satisfactory that after a few months an order was placed for a duplicate outfit, making it possible to dry 50,000 brick daily without crowding.

The brick from this drier are uniform in color as the “whitewashing” or discoloration from dampness is almost entirely avoided.

The digging of the clay with a Thew steam shovel and hauling up an incline with a winding drum makes necessary fewer horses than otherwise, and the large dump cars at the end of a wire cable move the clay faster and more economically than would be possible with horse-power.

The water supply both for fire protection and for general use is from a 15,000-gallon Caldwell tank mounted on a 50-foot tower, and this with a distribution system including an abundance of mains, hydrants and hose, gives a feeling of reasonable security against loss by fire.

Making up part of the property of this company is their real estate of more than 850 acres comprising clay, farm and wood lands in different towns about the state.

In connection with the substantial buildings and well arranged up-to-date equipment it is without doubt the model plant in the state.

The local demand is good, but as Middletown is a city of about 20,000 people, only a small share of the output is marketed at home, the bulk of it going all over the N.Y., N.H. and H. system, which is the same field which is supplied by all the other Connecticut brickmakers.

The power plant equipment is very complete, including a 200 h.p. Watts-Campbell corliss engine and two 150 h.p. boilers. Another feature of the equipment is the 4-roll crushers, furnished by the American Clay Machinery Co.

Excellent transportation facilities are provided and the tracks are so arranged that the car floors are on a level with the kiln floors, thus facilitating loading. Railway cars can be easily run alongside all the kilns.

My Tuttle brick:

16 thoughts on “Tuttle Bricks, Middletown, Connecticut.

  1. Dug quite a few of these brick out from my parents back yard.
    Apparently it was a brick patio that some time ago was buried.
    Nice to know the history behind them.

    Thank You

      1. I have nothing to do with the site. It is located 1/5 of a mile from my house. You may be able to just walk into the site late afternoon and obtain one. I think the gate/fence is closed today.

      2. Ok thank you Peter, Im about an hour from there so hopefully I can contact someone so it will be more than hopeful! Thanks again

  2. I’ve been researching my genealogy. My great grandfather lists his occupation in 1918 as a Teamster and his employer is Tuttle Brick Co. My g-grandfather lived on Newfield Street too… and his WWI registration card was also signed by W.M. Tuttle. I guess I need a brick now too! 🙂 Any tips on where to find one?

  3. I realize it’s been a few years since this article was posted, but we recently took down an old chimney at our house and it was made with Tuttle bricks. We have quite a few! If you are still looking, please email me at sweetlebeetle@yahoo.com

  4. Rebuilding a chimney on a 1926 historic house. I need about 600 old Tuttle Bricks to match the existing chimneys. Does anybody know where I can get them?

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