Poston Brick Company Memoir - Part 1
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Poston Brick Company Memoir P846. Poston Brick Company Interview and memoir 5 tapes, 240 mins., 78 pp. The narrators discuss personnel, machines, operations and types of bricks manufactured at the Poston Brick Company in Springfield. Narrators also discuss working conditions, hazards, co-workers, and the structures located on the factory grounds. Interviews by Garnetta Cook, 1972 OPEN: see individual names for legal release See individual collateral files : interviewer's notes, photos of factory, photocopies of articles about the factory, list of buildings built with the company's bricks, and background notes. Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1972, University of Illinois Board of Trustees COPYRIGHT@ Poston Brick Company Ivory Carter Estol Cook Mark Cook William E. Poston Earl Robinson Henrietta Van Cleve (23 pages) (11 pages) (14 pages) ( 4 pages) (10 pages) ( 4 'pages) These interviews are part of a project on the Poston Brick Company in Springfield, Illinois. People interviewed include a former employee's wife, former employees, and the president of Poston Brick. They relate their working experiences with regard to making bricks. The interviewer was Garnetta Cook. ! ' 1985 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY, SPRINGFIELD, ILUNOIS. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois 62708. • Table of Gantents 'lhe Pond • • • • • • • • • • • • Introduction of machines • • • • W::n:king with the dryer • • • • • Tow moters • • • • • • • • • • • • 'lhe setting gang • • • • • • • • • • • • • • The gooseneck. 'lhe turmels. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Office personnel • 'IYPes of bricks. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Buildings made of Poston brick • Swell bellies. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Setting and meeling gangs • • • • '1)1pes of bricks. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 • 2 . 4 • 5 • 8 .10 .11 .12 .13 .14 .16 .19 .20 Preface This nmmscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by Ga.metta Cook for the Oral History Office on November 1, 1972. Kathryn Back transcribed the tapes and Susan Jones edited the transcript. Ivory Carter w:~.s employed by the Poston Brick Company of Springfield, Illinois from 1917 to 1962. In this naooir, Mr. Carter describes the different jobs he held at the Poston Brick Company and the changes in the machinery over the years. Mr. Carter also discusses brick tmking and the different kinds of bricks. Readers of the oral history neooir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken ~rd, and that the intervie\\er, narrator and editor sought to preserve the infonnal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangaoon State University is not responsible for the factual accuracy of the naooir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. The nmmscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be reproduced in mole or in part by any maans, electronic or nechanical, without permission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamn State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708. ------------ --- --------- Ivory Carter, ~ember 1, 1972, Springfield, Illinois. Ga.metta Cook, Intervieler. Q: Today we're going to have an interview with Mr. Ivory Carter, a long-tin:e employee of Poston Brick Caupany. Mr. Carter has lived in Springfield for many years. He has a lot of experience with the brick company, and I think he CBil give us a lot of information. A: I started at Poston's in about 1917 hauling brick away fran Poston Brick Caupany. And then, when I first started to ¥X>rking at the plant, it ~s at the Springfield Paving Brickyard, and then in 1928, Mr. Poston bought the Springfield Paving Brickyard and brought us all 011er to his yard. I worked there for the rest of my days except I had one other job in 1937. I 'ietlt to the city and worked from 1937 to 1939, and I went back to the brickyard. '!hat's mere I put the rest of my time in, at Poston Brick Caupany. Q: lbw long -were you there? A: tell, I started out there 1917 and I ¥JJrked there until 1962; that's when I had the heart attack. That was my last ¥X>rk that I ever did. (laughter) Vhat is that, Estol telling on ne? Q: \ell, he just asked ne to ask you about the ~nd and the logs, and all. He just mentioned it to me; he thought you d be able to tell us. (laughter) A: ·\Ell, ~er the brickyard or the mill would break dO\!Il, that T,\10Uld stop the setting gang, and then we'd all go to the pond. I had a board, ·and I was on this board, and Harry Mann, and I think Roy Kirby. I couldn't swim and that pon:l ~s deep. But I was riding this board (laughter) and Bob Kennedy--he's dead now--he ~up by me and forced that board out and forced that board aut fran under me, (laughter) and Roy and Harry helped ne get out. W1en I got my feet on to W:tere I could bitch about it, (laughter) I really told Bob Kennedy sooething. (laughter) But that's mat we'd do always menever the brickyard would go dCMl, the whole gang of them. ve 'd have to wait until the uen fixed it back so they could make brick again. So -we'd go down there and get in the pond, and had a lot of fun dom there. That til:Ie, it wasn't fun for ne after they pushed that board out. (laughter) Q: Did you ever go back after that? A: Yes, I -went back, rut I didn It go back on the board no mre. I didn It get DllCh deeper than my knees, rut this tin:e I was way out in there and riding this ooard. Oh, I was really deep, going along on ~s Ivory Carter 2 board, b.lt men Bob slipped up behind and p.lShed this board out fran under ne, that let ne dow:1. That -was part of this shale hole; that pond was deep at one time. Estol: [Ga.metta Cook's luJsband] I imagine it was thirty, forty feet deep. A: Yes, f?<lery bit of it and them pushing that board out frcm ne and I couldn't swim. (laughter) I don't kncM. I seen a lot of different things there and then they got, I think it was in the 1950s or the late 1940s that's rAl.en they got the machines. They got one set of machines and they dido' t w:>rk, and they sent than back. 'Ihen they got the second set of machines and they dido 't w:>rk. They sent than back. And ~en they got the third set of machines, Mr. Poston said the tmchines 'WaS w:>rking at other brickyards and they ~re going to w:>rk there. And he never did ewe to the brickyard until around nine o'clock in the IIDming. But when he got the third set of machines, he caue out there at Bf?<len o'clock, just like ~ ~ started. Mr. Poston maybe \ilOUld be 011er here, Olarlie McCoy w:>uld be over here, Pat Turley 'WOuld be over here. Every way you w:>uld look, you w:ruld breathe d.ol.on one of their throats. And they did that for about ~ veeks until they got their production that they wmted and then that was it. He said they were going to llt'Ork and they did. And I stayed on the DBChine from 1952 until 1962, until I got sick. E: Can I ask him sooething? \<bat did you uean that they llt'Ouldn' t w:>rk? A: \Ell, here's what I think, the rren knew that their machiries was going to knock sooebody out, mi.ch they did, because, see, I was in the meeling gang then, and they had three five-man wheeling gangs. W1en they got these machines, they got 0.0 machines; they give ne one and they give Carrpbell Smith one. They give Carq>bell a helper and rre a helper. That was four m:m did mre ~rk than fifteen m:m did. '!hen., in the setting gang; t\tlO 11E1 did the \tlOrk that blelve t1E1 did with one machine. W!!ll, the 11E'l, I'm sure they knew T.tla.t them machines \ere going to do. Q: Wlat type machines ~re these? A: Tow motor machines, tow motors. E: They knew they was going to knock them out, so they just decided they • • • A: Yes, that they wasn't going to w:>rk with them, and they dido 't for the first tl«l' rut When they got •the third one' my, every t:i.ne they looked up, they W!iB looking at a b::>ss 's face and they had to \tlO:rk. That went on and they did that for about ~ ~eks and after that' my' that was all. E: \ell, then, what did they do, lay the m:m off? A: Sale of than got laid off, yes, because they didn't need all that croo. It looked like we had fifteen rren \\heeling brick and four mm Ivory Carter 3 did IlDre than the fifteen ~uld, with a tow tootor. That's one of the things that the ~ knew what it was going to do and that's the reason my they didn't 'Want to -w:>rk with them. The mill, the sarre 'WaY. 'fttey used to take a pick and pull that shale down on the belt to go to the machine mere it was ground up. After I quit work--after I had the heart attack--and \Eilt back out there one day, and a~ -w:>rking back there said, ''Have you been back lately?" And I said, 'No." He said, "Cooe on back here and look." So I went back there, the trucks were dunping in a bin and this bin IWVes and all he was doing leS standing there at his post, pushing a rutton. He'd push a b.ltton and so lD.lCh shale "WJUld drop out and be ground up. He'd p.1sh another hltton and shut if off, and as soon as it would grind that out, he'd push a button, cooe mre shale drop in there. That knocked nen oot of w:n:k. E: Yes, W:l.en I got there, that's vhen they.had that already in. But then I used to have to go up there and PJSh it doWJ.. A lot of tillEs like it \Oll.d rain or ~thing it wouldn't slide. A: You'd go up on the top? E: N:>, I 'd go up on mere the trucks dunp at, and you'd have to stay there and keep it pushed doWJ.. And a lot of tillEs, you'd have to take fuel oil and pour in along this bin to make it slick, so that it would slide. 'lbey'd bring in big ctumks and stuff. A: W;um I started there, they only made a rug brick, and a mat, and a sl<M b.lild for all red brick, all except the rugs. Now they ~d put zinc in the kiln to color those, and then sene of them would have green spots on them, sare broWJ., and they set them in the kiln, see, set them in flues so that they would have spots on them like that. The slow b.lilders, they \<Were just red and the ca:mvns ws red. Q: I ·just 'Almted to know alx>ut the mule you nm.tioned the other day. A: That 'WBB at the old brickyard. A fellow ~ used to live up on 17th Street, his nane was Ha.Wd.ns. He had a nule and the uen meeled the cinders. They fired the brick then with coal, and then \then they'd clean the cinders out, they'd ~l them out across the dock and Mr. Hawkins w:ruld load than in this car and hook his mule on and pull them dom at the end and dtmp them CNer the hill. W:lenever the transfer 'AUUld break dom--that we hauled the green brick on to the kilns--they'd get him to hook his Dille on to this transfer and pull the transfer. And you had to cooe out fran under the dry and this electrical wire, the transfer was run by electric, and they didn't tum the juice off. This old nule was · coming out under the dryer and his ears touched this hot wire, and knocked the m..tle dawn. '!hey had a time getting him back upl (laughter) E: Yes, I '~l bet they did because that's a 440 wire that runs there. A: Yes, that's a great big wire just like the streetcar wire they used to have and the trolley pulled on it. Mr. Hawkins didn't like that either, knocking his urule out. (laughter) Ivory Carter 4 E: It's a WJnder it didn't kill it. A: It's a 'it!Dnder. A 440 wire, and there was another out there, an old man named Mr. Green. He pulled the dryer, and you know how they pull it with a rope and have ann hooks on the end. 'Ihat hook broke and When it broke, it flew up and hit him on the leg and broke his leg. And 'liVe wmt in and pulled the dryer, all the loaded cars out of the dryer, and Hugo Baptist, see, he was superintendent at that time, he told another guy, I can't raDelllber his IlBile, to go on in there and pull the dryer. (laughter) He said he wa.sn' t going to face that cab and Hugo had to go out of there and pull it out him3elf before this old man w:ruld pull any out of there. After Mr. Green had got his leg broke. 'Iha.t rope w:>uld break every now and then, rut it just happened this time, it hit the old man on the leg and broke his leg. E: \that did it do? I think men they hooked on, it had to go up in there three cars. The hook them on one end and then pull it across the other end, didn't they? A: Yes, and I think at the old yard, they WJuld fUll tw:> tracks at a tin:e. I think they pulled out six cars. But wer at Poston's, they only would pull three cars at a time. E: If they put them in the dryer, like they CCll'e off the belt, I think every three cars they w:ruld :t=Ut in, they had to hook this rope one because • • • I think here Is mat was going on. I think them dryers held about nine cars, rut then every tin:e they :t=Ut in three cars, they'd hook this rope wer the back. Like that first car that r,ent in, they bad to pull that rope back to get oore. They'd pull it back so far and then the next one -w::ruld go in, they'd have to fUll it back a little further until they got three cars in there. And then they'd go over, and there'd be six that was already in there. A: Then the man on the other end, ~en they got that car pulled on the other end, he could pull it. I used to pull the dryer out there. E: I never did fUll the dryer. I nean, I've been out there men A1 Beatly pulled it. A: lell, I did about everything out there rut fann. Wlen I used to help at farming, clinker, and looking in there to get all them clinkers off of them bricks. 'Ihat part rumed my eyes, so I didn't want that job. But I did about everything else at the brickyard. Q: This was men they r,ere using coal? A: Coal, yes, that's When they ~reusing coal. Then after they started to using gas, you didn't have no clinkers or nothing. E: Didn't they go to oil before they 'INeilt to gas? A: Yes, oil and then gas. Ivory Carter 5 E: I thought they w:mt to oil , because I used to see them big tanks. A: Big tanks, yes. 'lhey had t~ up there. 'lhey went to oil and then fran oil to gas, rut even with the oil, they wasn't like coal. Because when they bJ.rned coal, they had to clean them clinkers off of the bricks. And them clinkers ~uld be just like jelly, they was, you knCM, so hot. I didn't like that because you had to get than all off of than grates, looking in there in that red. It was just too li1lCh for m. It hurt tqy eyes, bJ.rnt my eyes. I dido' t like that, rut everything else I had a part in. Q: \hen you say you ~rked with the dryer' tell us aoout W:la.t you did with the dryer. A: Just, ~t I did was every once in a While, w:>uld be pull the dryer on the end that the brick was ccmi.ng out d:cy. But I never did put in any green brick in, on the other end. I 'd pull them out ~ they was dry, after they -were dried. That's about the end of my brick ~rlc, because mst of my ~rk was either in the \'beeling gang or the setting gang, that's where I did the mst of my ~:rk at. Q: W:len you \ere meeling • • • A: W:leeling was before they got tCM m:>tors t that Is men they had five m:m to each gang. I w:rrked in that. E: You can tell her about how the little cars was made, you knCM, that they put so m:my bricks on each side. A: It was just a meelbarrow, and you put fifty on each side--you W:leeled a hundred brick--fifty on this side and fifty on this side, and wheels in the middle. You'd raise that up to a certain place, it w:>uld very near try to roll itself. E: If you didn't raise it up, it ~uld roll you! A: Yes, if you raised it up too high or get a little chip or SOOEthing up in there, you better tum it loose or you'd be laying aver across it. Q: \tlere -were ycu wheeling it fran? A: Fran emptying the kilns, \'beeling them to the yard or to the wagons or trucks. See, 1A1e 'd load cars, wheel than right out of the kiln, put them right in the car, put them on a truck. E: M:>st of the days back there, they had DDstly wagons, didn't they? A: Yes, mostly wagons. E: M:>re "'lgonB than they did have trucks, because they didn't have too m:my trucks • A: W! \ere always glad when the guys would cooe out to get a load of brick, because when we'd be wheeling them out of the kiln, they'd help Ivory Carter 6 you unload. You 1 d be loading on their ~on and that let you get back to the kiln quicker. You was wheeling, you know, by the thousands. You wasn't w:>:rld.ng by the day, it was all piece 'i«>rk. Yes, the setting gang was ~ieee lVtn:k, and the wheeling gang was piece work, so that way you didn t have a ooss standing over you all the time, because if you didn't do nothing, you didn't get nothing. You had to work to 1ll9ke your m::ney. '!hat was one of the nice things I always liked about the brickyard, you didn't have a boss standing over you all the tin:e. Maybe he'd care in, in the oorning, and tell you so many to put in a car or on a truck or sarething. 'Ihen after that, you TNOUI.dn 't see him no mre. You'd put them in a car or out on the yard or on a truck or something. · '1hen after that, you w:ruldn 't see him no mre. You 1 d put them in a car or out on the yard or on a truck. Q: \tlen you say on a car • • • A: In a ooxcar, boxcar. Like mst of the cars, we alwa.ys put 20,000 brick. 'lbat w:ruld take you all day. 'lliey tell ne the boys out there now are taking them tow motors and in half an hour or an hour, they can set 20,000 in there. Just two n:en, and it took five of us all day to put 20,000 in a car, v.b.eeling them by hand. E: Them tow IIDtors, they pick up five lnmdred of them at a tin:e. A: '!hem packages pick up eight lru.ndred because there's four lru.ndred in a package now, one lnmdred in each section. There's a hundred in each section and it picks up four sections, that's four lu.mdred on each side. E: I run a tow mtor when J:f.Im\y Handley wasn't there, like he'd take off a day or sooething, and I'd run the tow motor and set them out on the yard, off that big belt, you kn<:1tt1, off the conveyor. A: N:>w, see, v.b.ere they banded up them brick and things, they got that since I left there. E: See, that didn't cane in there until about 1970, sa:newhere along in there. 'lbat basn 1t been in there too long. Maybe it cooe in there in 1969. A: See, men we used to v.b.eel it out of the kiln, the brick--well, it's still loose until they take than up there to be handed--rut I think it was 635 brick in a pallet that we'd take out of the kiln and take to the yard or to the boxcar. Now, they've taken that sa.re machine and are picking up eight hundred, taking it to the yard, to the boxcar, or setting it on the truck. They just put a little mre weight oo the back end of the tow llX>tor to hold then dO'tiV[l, and picking up eight hundred. E: M:>stly they don't even have to do that.. They don't even have to put the weight on there, because the mtor on the tow motor sits on the bank of it and that weights it enough that it'll pack and pick up. A: Yes, you'd be surprised that with 635 brick in front of you, it made a difference. Just a little weight back here helped hold it dom. Ivory Carter 7 E: Yes, I know. I nm one out there for a long time. That's what I . was doing when they quit. You know, I'd have to go in and w:>tk on the belt, maybe one or 1:\«> days, and then wa 'd have to go out in the yard. 'Ihey 'd put ne on a tow mtor. Bill McCormick put ne out there with a tow mtor before he left, see, and I was just supposed to be a yard man, running a tow roo tor through the yard, picking up, and then hauling away the junk brick that WJU.ld caae out. \oben they p.1t that shale up out there, they put that there ring in there. Then they had to have rockets sitting in the ring, so that they thro\ed all the brcken brick, and all TAha.t they called their bad brick, they throwed in these ruckets. Then my job was to haul them b.J.ckets out and dunp them en a truck and take them over to be ground up or to be throwed in the hole. Sc:net:ines they cooe out so bad that they 1f0lldn 't grind them, so, if the brick was broke apart too bad and they stuck too bad, then them brick they didn't grind. ~ had to take them back over and dunp them in a hole. But the others that was good enough to grind, sooeti.tnes I 'd have to IIBke two different loads, you know, because if -we got a b.mch of bad ones that was stuck too bad, then they didn't want them. So I had to DBke a different load so that I could take the good brick wer so it could be ground and they could make chips out of it. A: You know Harry Mann, I think he left there about 1932 or 1933. But I bet if you'd seen him, that'd been the first thing he v.uuld have told you about, rre and that pond. (laugther) 'Ihey got the biggest kick out of that, teasing me about very near drCMling out there, rut I never did go under. I TNas fighting that water. E: I '11 tell you sonething that happened to me out there. Wlen I first started there, I was doYVn on the crane, you know John was rurming the crane rut I'd have to be the oiler. It had been raining and there was a big puddle of water, as big as this roan now, and it was cold that day. I walked wer and I had a little fire going, and I walked wer and kicked a gas can. W1en I kicked that gas can, it splashed up on ne and zoan, caught rre on fire! Here I was, fighting this fire, trying to get it out. And the oore I'd fan, the roore the fire v.uuld cooe up. Then John hollered, "Jllllp :in the water, jllllp in the water I" And I was just like a big fish, swish, right in the water. (laughter) And oh, that water! I about like to froze to death! I told John, I said, "I'm going home." He said, ''Oh, no, no, if you go ham, you w:>n 't get paid." He said, "Stay here." So I care up in the hick of this free vall WE!re this mtor was and dried myself off. A: But that was one of the things everybody did at the old yard, because that pond was right that close. You could just walk out of the mill and you WJU.ldn' t walk no further than fran here to out there to the street tmtil yru was dom at the pond. Everybody went in there. let's see, mat was that old man's name? You know, that was out there, he was a policeman out there. After he got too old to v.lOtk, they give him a job--old mm Fountain--they give him a job as police:nan to keep the kids out of this pond. He'd go down to the pond to run them out and they'd just jump in, swim on across on the other side. Wl.ile he'd have to go around to get ~re they Ivory Carter 8 was at, and they'd swim OOck to the other side. That old man couldn't do nothing with than kids, h.rt: that's W:lat he was supposed to do, keep the kids out of this pond. leek, they'd just swim across to the other side and by the tine he'd walk around and get very near around to than, they'd swim back across to the other side. (laughter) But I think he worked at the brickyard until he got too old to woxk. See:Jed like they give him a dollar or a dollar and sauething a day to keep the kids out of the porn. But he couldo 't keep them out. Q: lh you want to tell us about men you belonged to the setting gang? A: \ell, I ~rked in the setting gang. After I quit the setting gang, that's men I went to the meeling gang, and then frcm the "*teeling ga:tg, to the tOW' tJDtor. There was two uen on each side. Now this tine would be my time to pitch a half of a car off to the man up above, setting them on up to the top. Q: Wis this in the kiln? A: Yes, in the kiln, setting the green brick to be b.lrned. 'Ihen, the next tine, he'd go up and I 'd have to pitch to him. There was four tiBl to a kiln, and that's the way they set the brick. I know there was OM tine, I don't know what happened, sooething happened that they had sent to Indiana and got sooe guys just to set the brick. But that dido' t last too long. In the old yard when Mr. PostOn. was talking about wying it, they brought us (Ner to his yard and ~ 'd been used to setting one and pitching one. And they had these new guys there and~ b.lilt a bench up so high, jump up, and set it on to the top. Next time would be my t:i.IJ:E to get up there and set. A guy ·WJU!d jtmp up and we'd say, ''No, no. ~ pitch cne and set one." And "We broke that stuff up, the setting was the easiest and you were dmc on that hot floor and the boards was always hot, by the time you enpited a kiln, the setters V~.Uuld go in and fill it right back up again. The floors never did get a chance to get cool. Like in the wintert:i.ue' they'd cool off quick then, rut during the SUIIJier • • • and just like out here before I left here, yru know them big fans they got' to meel a kiln taoorrow. Now this evening after w: 'd empty a kiln, well, we'd go take about three pallets out of the door and flip · this big fan on. A lot of times, I'd go in there and I'd have to take a handkerchief and cover my nose and m:JUth up. If you dido 1 t, you couldn 1 t get in there, inhaling that hot heat backing out of there. I just put a handkerchief around my nose and m:JUth, go on in there and get than three out, and hook that fan up there. Next tJDrning, it'd be ready to V~.Urk. But if you dido' t do that, then when you took than brick, you couldn't worl<: because after you'd--you know vbere the holes's in the middle--after you'd get to the middle and pull your steel over that hole, that heat canes abacking up then, sure enough. 'Ihat 's the way w: 'd always do that, get about three pallets out so that fan would blc:M. E: But you had to go up on top and pull that lid. A: Yes, we had to take the top off, and then take three pallets out and hook the fan up. Campbell, TE 'd put the fan on the tow motor and take it around to the kiln door and set it down, and he'd drag this cord all Ivory Carter 9 around and plug it in. You seen them little boxes that got the switch in. Sambody pushed that handle in and he caught ahold of that plug, to plug it in, and it knocked him clcMl. (laughter) After that, he drawed that cord around there, rut he TNOU!dn 't never plug no m:>re in. I'd always have to go around there and plug it in, rut I was sure that that handle was dowt. Then Vem Bermett's father, he got electrocuted. ~body had shoved one of then in and he \\tiS w:>rking it and was paying no attention, and it knocked him out. I thought he was dead and nobody kn~d first aid or · nothing, didn't know what to do. \oe \\tiS all standing there, he laying on the ground, just foa:ning at the m:JU.th, and old man Burrington that nm the coal mine over at Doolittle, he had sOOEthing to do with the brick canpany then. I think he had a share or sanething in it. He was in the office and he cone out there and tole Bernett to tum his father over and pump him. By the time the amhllance got there, Ray had pretty ~11 brought him to. E: let ue ask you a few questions. After, like you said, they opened the door up, after they got the tow m:>tors, they didn't have to take them three pallets out through the door. All they did was take them tw:> doors dow:1, ycu know". A: Yes, they always had them b.u doors. You could set that fan after you took them tv.10 doors off, set the fan right in the door. It'd blow just up against that pallet. You had to take a couple out so that air could go in there, and then it TNOU!d circulate around the kiln a lot. You know, the last pallet was just one, well, all that fan ~uld do is blow the air up against that pallet. But if you took that pallet and a coople of n:Dre out, it had a hole to go in there • . E: W:!ll, I guess they lliJSt have got to setting them different, after you left there because I can't remember them taking any out. They just tore the doors doWJ., then they went and got the fan and set it in there, rut they set them kind of angled so they w:>uld ••• A: The last pal.let, when I was there, was always set in straight, set right straight in the door. And you set that fan in there, all it w:>uld · do is blow against that pallet. You had to take that out and then take out two mre. W:! 'd take two mre out and that v.uuld make a hole there so when this air went in ~re, it had a chance to circulate. E: They might have done that ~en I was there, rut I didn't pay that IIJJCh attentim. But I thought they just had then sitting in there. A: See, they had a gooseneck on the back that bl~d that heat out. 'lhat heat w:!Ilt on to the dryer. E: Wlen I was there, I used to have to help tear the doors dow:J. and they'd always tmke ne take off that lid, the top and they'd tmke ne go around and take cut all the brick. Sane uen w:>uld take the damper out. 'lbe damper was on the back where the gooseneck set. I never did have to take it out. Ivory Carter 10 A: A lot of times, after -we pulled the brick around the pocket and take the top off and take three pallets out of the front, and then we'd go around there to see 'libether the damper was ciovn. Because if the damper was dow:t, that fan, all it ~d do is blow that heat out the hole at the top. But if the damper was open, it ~ld blow that heat into the gooseneck and that 'WU.ld go on to the dryer. That left mre heat going out the top than going out the gooseneck. 'lhe gooseneck was drawing because that big fan was pulling, and that \iOU.ld cool the kiln off pretty quick. Q: Tell us mre alxrut the gooseneck. A: 'lbe gooseneck is ~t, after they bJrn the kiln off, they take-that's in the back--they tear a hole in there and put this gooseneck in and this gooseneck pulls that hot heat out of this kiln to go to the dryer to dry them green bricks that cane out of the mill, ain't that right? E: '!hat's right. I never did know how they dried them. A: See, like if the brickyard lNOUld start up tan:>rrow, they'd, chances are, light a kiln, put a gooseneck on it. That's be pulling heat out of that kiln to the dryers to dry the brick. But after they get a few kilns hlmed off, they pull the heat out of the bJ.mt kiln, that big fan that they got, it runs; that pulls the heat out of the kiln back to the dryer to dry them ~t bricks that's caning through the dryer. E: Yes, in other v.urds, they could start up tcm:>rrow, they could start making the green brick at the press, like in the JXlS mill, they could start making them there. But they'd still have to light a kiln soo:e~re. \ell, nCM, if this kiln didn't have no brick in it, it v.uuld still just 1:e • • • A: It wuld just be a dunny for the dryer. E: It would just be a dunny. 'Ihey 'd have to wild the door up, they'd have to hlild up 0\o doors in it, fill up all the pockets and put this gooseneck on the back and close the top on the top. A: Yes, and this big fan that pulls that heat fran this kiln into the dryer and dry the brick. Q: Tell us mre aoout how this gooseneck was made and Wla.t it was I1lB.OO of.- A: It's just made of heavy steel and light steel, the gooseneck. You know ~t the goosenecks are; they're just like an L, made just like a1 L. Say like the gooseneck is just alxrut this high, and now it'll go cbYn to the ground here and then this part goes into the kiln. ve always called them goosenecks. E: '!hat thing I'm thinking about must be the pocket on the back. W:lat' s the square thing on the back of a kiln, now right at the back, they hare a slanting deal there. Is that part of the gooseneck? They have a big piece of retal wer that. Ivory Garter 11 A: A gooseneck's all netal. E: \ell, this here is part of the brick on the back of each kiln, they got this like door. A: Maybe that's sauething new, rut \<ilen I was there, there was a door in the back and a door, t~ doors, one :in each end. Just like where the transfer track run along, see there had to be a door there for them tNhen we set by hand, because your transfer v.oild run right up to the door and you'd have rails fran the transfer track on in to the kiln. You just run your car right in the kiln, rut now see, with the tow mtors, ve \\lerlt :in the other door, vbere there was no transfer track. · E: Ar.d then probably Where there 'WaS a door on the back, you'd cam out the square rut it would slant off and it had a piece of uetal wer that with a ••• A: I know ~t you're talking about. E: I never knew ~t that 'WaS called. I been there nine years, rut I still didn't know llilat it 'WB.S. A: Did they take that off and put the gooseneck back? E: I don't remember putting a gooseneck in, rut it's a tunnel, kind of like a turmel deal. A: I'm sure that's sane part for the beat to cam out of the kiln and go to the dryer. It might have been for the stack., I don't know. E: You know, there's three big stacks out there. A: The stacks on the south side 'WaS all on the dock. E: Yes, they're on the dock, rut they got tunnels. The smoke goes through this t:lmnel to the stack. I used to have to go dov-n there sa:tl!t:i.n:es and help clean the tunnel out. Q: lbw that's another thing, I wanted to know about the tunnels. I have beard about the tunnels, rut I wanted to know about than. A: That's lilat they are. 'D:lere's a tunnel to the smoke stack, and then there's a tunnel that goes on back to the dryer so this beat '11 go back to dry the green brick that the mill makes. 'lhat' s r4lere they get their beat to dry. E: 'lli.e tunnels , they 're made out of brick, ain't they? A: Yes, they're brick. You can get out :in them and crawl all the way, all over the brickyard because of them tunnels. It -wasn't hot, you 'WOUldn • t have to just lay dov-n. There 'WaS roan enough for you to go right on through there. Get on your hands and knees and crawl right on through. That is, if you didn't hit a brick chip or sar.ething. (laugb.ter) Ivory Carter 12 E: By now, one of them was liable to fall off and hit you in the head or sonething like that. 'Ihey ~s made up out of brick and so maybe they ~d be cnmbling, dried out so bad they might crumble. A: Yes, I imagine, because they've been there a long, long ti.J:Ie. Just like them big stacks out there. 'Ihey've been there so long, smokestacks, they've been there so long, sone of them are beginning to fall to the ground. E: 'lhey had the snorkel out there one year to put bands around the tap, sonething like that. A: ~11, the bricklayer, he used to have to keep them stacks up just the sane as he did the kilns. E: Yes, they used to have a scaffold that he lEnt on and bad to take them around it, and on the last, they didn't even have a bricklayer. Bob Aboott used to re the bricklayer out there. I think he finally finished ooe, b.J.t then they started another ooe and they never did get it finished. A: N.:>, the years that I worked at the brickyard, I really enjoyed w:>tking there. E: I always thought myself--! n:ean just retween rre and you--that they thro~ away enough brick that they could have b.lilt tv:o or three new kilns. '!here on the reginning, they was really thrCMing away SOOJe brick, before they got so they had those tubs to haul it in. You couldn't even hardly walk around in the yard refore; them bricks v;ould re laying on the yard. 'Ihey let people cooe in and haul them away for nothing. A: I reuenber men I first started out there, there was three men; Mr. Poston, old man Hale was the brick salesman, and Austin Reese was tinekeeper, that ms the officers. Out at Poston Brick Yard there was three men in the office there. Q: How many 'iEre there W:l.en. you started, Estol? E: 'Ihere lea alx>ut three out there Mr. \obitney and Pete Allen, he was a ross and a timekeeper. A: Vhen I first started out there, they didn't have a \~hole office full of help, like they got today. I ~t out there at the brickyard a lot of times, I told them .that~ I started w:>rk out here that there was three, Mr. Hale, Austin Reese, and Mr. Poston. That was the office crew. E: 'Ihis Austin Reese, didn't he w:>rk out there, wasn't he a salesman? A: He was part oWler at ooe ti.n:e in there. E: How long he'd been dead. Didn't he die? A: I think he did, he died. Ivory Carter E: I think he was some kin to sooe people out hooE. A: His uncle was Roy Reese. 13 E: Seans to n:e like there was sooe guy out there that was some kin to Pippins out there :in Buffalo, rut I can't think TAihat his name was. A: It wasn't Pay 'furley? E: I:b. 'Ihi.s fellow 'WaS a salesman. 'lhey said he really sold brick, he really got around and sold brick and stuff around here. And after he died, it seemed like it kind of started going ~11, I mean for SOOE reason or other. · A: I've seen a lot of different kinds of brick made out there. One t~, they made flue brick. There may be sOOE of them still out there, they're wide on this end and then cooe to a po:int. 'lhey didn't make too many of them. E: Like a triangle. A: Yes, they made a few of them. E: Vhen did they start makii.ng that little brick, you know, they had a little brick. Qlat did they call it? It was long, and didn't they tmke a short one, too? See, your brick is only alx:rut four :inches long, but they just cut it in tw:>. A: Yes, about two :inches. I can't remember, I know vtla.t you're talking about rut I can't remember wilat they called it. E: Roamin, Roamin, wasn't it? Because everybody used to get Roamitis whenever they had to cooe to wo:rk. A: Yes, I believe that was vtla.t they called it. It was about two :inches thick. E: Yes, the same brick as the same nomal brick, just alx:rut ~ inches thick. I remanber when I first started, they was tmking saoo of those brick and they used to get on leonard Davis, because ~er they went to make that brick, leonard Davis w:ruld lay off because they was hard to handle. A: After they were bumed, they would break so easy. 'lhey turned them hard, and they was just as san:e as glass when you'd ness with them a little bi..t, they'd break right in half, in two. E: 'lhey made a lot of yellow ones, tangerine or saoothing like that. Oak ba:rlt and tanger:ines. 'lhey roade sooe roofs of those ~, didn't they? A: No, I don't think so. They made rrats, rut I don't think they made too many roofs. The rub brick was one of the old t~ brick, old original brick. 'lhat was one of their tmin bricks years ago. 'lhey had red rose and then they bad these, they'd take zinc after the kiln rumt off, Why Ivory Carter 14 then in each pocket, they'd put so m.JCh zinc in there and the smoke ani stuff going outside Ynlld be bright greenish looking. 'lben when you'd take these brick out, they'd have a red spot on them, green, maybe brCHl. That was your rubs, then. E: \then that wind bl~d rNer those people's gardens out there, "WOuld that kill their gardens? A: I think gardeners straight east there and a time or tv.J:>, they was raising sand about that BUDke ~rking on their gardens. But after they quit l:uming coal, I never did hear them hollering a v.hole lot about that, when they started to bmrl.ng gas. But when they was l:uming coal , ~y there'd 1:e times they'd be fussing about that smoke killing their gardens and like that. Q: I would like to know about the different l:uildings and things that ~re put up with brick around here made by Poston's. Il:> you have any idea about those? A: Marine Bank was one, and this school out on--I had to haul brick out there and that's been years ago--it was Test Grand and Laurel then. And they called it MacArthur and laurel now. I helped haul that brick out there. They hauled them out there with wagons and horses. You knOW', that • s been a good many years back. E: I bet you that school house around Buffalo was l:uilt out of Poston's brick. A: I imagine so. E: There have been three different sets of school houses in Buffalo that I know of. fue of than was right there ~re Stevens has got their house now, and that 'lio18.S an old, old school house. So I bet you Poston's sold a lot of brick there to b.lild that. But I got to tear it dowt. It seened like to n:e, when I helped to tear it down, soo:e of the brick had Poston's naae oo it, like they used to do. They used to put Poston's nane on the brick. A: Yes, his na:xe was on it. You knOW", we went up to <llicago after my daughter, and she lived upstairs, and I cooe out on the back porch and I seen these ropes, next door to them had a garage b.lil t out of Poston's rubs. And I went dom there, I knew it was Poston's brick, and I looked at them right good, l:ut I couldn • t get to see the back of them to see his nane, rut I knew than was his rubbed brick up there in <llicago in that garage. Yes, sir, men I cane back here, I told sam of the hmch that I seen sane of Poston's brick up to Ollcago and in a gargae. Hot as I got them, I couldn • t forget them brick. E: If there was a brick 11Bde and you seen a wilding samwhere, you start looking to see mere it cone fran. A: Yes, when I seen these rubs, why, that's what made n:e go to looking mre. And I would sure like to have been able to have took one of them. out of there and seen if Poston's nane wasn't on the back of then. I bet it was. Ivory Carter 15 Q: W:len you say rubs, ~t '>ere the rubs? A: A rub had cuts through it this 'WaY and cuts this 'WaY, just like ••• E: \ell, I can tell you W:l.at a rub 'WaS made out of. 'Ihey set a thing across the brick and they had little nails like drove in this thing, and that thing cut your brick. 'Ihey cut it on the side, on the top, and they cut it on the sides, on each side they cut it. 'Ihe back side and the oottan side 'WaS flat. 'Ihe oottom was flat because it had his ~ on the lx>ttan. The lx>ttan side stayed flat and your ends and your top side of the brick was all cut. But the rub machine was made just like you put a nail here and a nail here, all the 'Way across like this. A: Then your mats was a finer cut. E: Your mats was wires, see, it was a wire deal on a brush, and they had belts on this roller and they'd roll over it with the bricks. Mix--the reason I can tell you alx>ut this is that I used to mix those things up, see, when I w:tsn 't doing nothing else, like on a rainy day and you couldn't get outside before I w:!nt on the belt. \ell, that was my job; I'd go over there and set and you'd have to take alxmt seven little wires and tx>ke them through these iron b.lrsh, you know. 'Ihey had these holes in them and you'd poke than through, and you had to get than even, see, so that men they put them on the machine, they ~uldn't dig in too deep on there. Vben you put than on there, this thing went along there and cut them and you had, down at the bottom, maybe after an hour or so, you'd have a big b.mch of crumbs. You'd just pick than cunnbs up and throYn them back on the belt or you know, they had that drag belt, you'd thrCM than back on the belt or sooething like that. Q: I want to talk to you about political implications. Ih you know anything about the political affairs of the c~any and v.10rking and contracts? A: lb J I don It know anything about that. All I know is aoout the w::rrldng part. (laughter) Q: \ell, I was told that there was a contractor with the state who insisted that Poston put dolJIIl bricks that ~re not what Poston wanted to put down, because this state contractor evidently wanted caoont streets rather than brick streets, and that 'WaS what I 'WaS referring to as political implications. A: lb, I don't know about that. Since you nentioned it, I was just trying to think. No, I don't know alxmt that. Q: Those b.rl.ldings behind St. Patrick's are Poston Brick, aren't they? A: All those brick houses? Oh yes, yes, at that time, behind St. Patrick's Church, all th.em brick houses there, them was Poston's Bricks--~11 belly. E: That's men they poured .them too bad and they'd ~11 up. Ivory Carter 16 A: They'd swell up, and heck, "We'd haul them d.avn there and just dump them. I don't think they cost a whole lot. Mr. Bell's house, right across the street there, that's BW::!ll bellies, you w:.mldn't know it to look at it, it's a brick house. Wlere M:nty lives that's made out of swell bellies, and next time you go over there looking, just look. E: Yes, if you know What a s"Well belly is. A s"Well belly, Scm9 of them's that wide. Too IIIJCh heat, I guess, on them, and BW::!lls them. Heck, they couldn't sell them for a number one brick, and they sold them for swell bellies. There's a lot of houses, brick houses, put up here. Next ti.Jne you go to M:nty's, just look at her house. It's put up out of swell bellies. 'Ihey just ~11 on one side and then they get a little flare, too. They'll get flat, and.mstly on the backside is where the belly's at. If you could tum that belly in, you got a good side on the outside. See, a brick wall's got to be eight inches wide and the guys W:lo knew row to work them, they could just \«>rk them right in and get a good brick house cheap. E: I w:ruld have liked to have bought sane of those they had out here, they hlrned up a kiln or two, you know, after Ted Reese left there, and they were swell bellies. Same of them were BW::!ll bellies and some of than were good brick. I wanted to try to get SOIIe of them, and s011e of them were stuck brick. But you had to go in there, you know, and beat them apart, break them loose. I wanted to get SCI.Te of these and put saxe of them around my house like that, l:ut I never did get around to doing it. Vbat they done with them, my J they took them out there and dumped thell. back in the hole. I done it myself, I took them out there and dumped them back in the hole. I done it myself, I took them out there and ciuJ:Iped than back in the hole, and they said they'd let scm9 big contractor cane in there and use them for fill. You know how they used to use then for fill? 8aJ.:e of than brick w:ts so hard, there w:ruldn • t be no way in the t.«)rld that you could break them up. Anything t.«)uldn' t go through them. A: I never thought about that, all those houses down there, back of St. Pat's. Q: I imagine there • s sane :in St. Patrick's Church. A: I don't know about the church, rut I do know I hauled brick to than houses b!hind the clurch ctu,n on 18th Street. All them is s-.;.ell bellies. Say, in the first block, fran the chruch going back south, then 1-bnty's house over there, because her dad w:n:ked with the brickyard men they \laS naking them. E: Didn't they intend to make them? A: No, no, that wul.d be kilns that w;:ruld get away fran them, get too hot. Every time they rurned a kiln of swell bellies, they were losing IlDileY. No, that was just a getaway. Ivory Carter 17 E: Seems like to ne that there 'WaS sooe canpany that--! mean it wa.sn 't Poston' s--bJ.t it seens like to ne there wa.s sooe other canpany that did make ~11 bellies for mil.ile and sell them. Maybe they wasn't trying to either, maybe they was having bad luck with the kiln. A: \ell, they wasn't trying to rum them swell bellies out there, rut that was just the kilns getting away fran them. A lot of people got good cheap brick banes out of slell bellies, and half of the people don't e\Ten know' that they are sTNell bellies. E: A gey dc::Mn the street, you ~uldn 't know that. A: You can leave here now and go by funty 's house, you ~dn 't know that WB.S swell bellieS e But that IS vilat it IS ruil t OUt Of • E: Just like, there's a lot of these houses been wilt around here now, you wouldn't know that they was second band brick either, rut Poston's ~d sell the w:>rld out of second band brick when we wa.s w:>rking out there. Like they'd tear ~ a wilding in Olicago, they'd clean them brick and send them do'illll here in a iron car, and they sold for DDre that mat Preston was getting out of his new brick, good brick. Q: W:1en yoo say a kiln getting away fran than, What do you uean? A: Getting too hot. A kiln didn't get up and walk, (laughter) it just had too IIJJCh fire under it and got too hot. They've got gauges on the wa.lls I:1CM, rut I imagine in those days, they didn't have those gauges like they got today. 'lhey 'd got in to number ten kiln or number tw:> kiln and go to the wall and tum it to number GJ:>; it'll tell than just how IIJJCh heat's on the kiln. 'lhan days they dido 't have that. They TNent in there, pulling that brick out W:lere the door is and looking in there, through that hole there. 'lhey coudn't tell what they 'illlere doing. E: 'Ibey didn't have anything like a microscope or anything that they could look in there and tell how hot that kiln was. They just had to go in there and look through that hole. A: I don't know what you'd call it, lnt it wa.sn't modem ti.nes then, like it is today. They got everything out there now. They don't have to guess how IIL1Ch heat's on a kiln, they know. All they got to do is, if it's number one or nuner tw:>, go in there to that l:x>x and tum it to one or tw:>, and it'll tell than how many lumdred degrees of heat is on that kiln. E: Yes, I know they got that. A: Years ago, they didn't have that. I imagine that's the reason they was getting so many swell bellies. (laughter) E: I just w:>nder how they told. How in the w:>rld could you tell men a kiln wa.s getting too hot? A: I don't know, I really don't know because that \<il'isn't my line of \\O:rk. Ivory Carter 18 E: N:>w, like they had a 'E}lY at that time 'iNOuld be like Ted Reese or s011Elxxly that read that thing, because I used to see him have a little black roood tPing in his pocket he was carrying all the time. He would take that thing and you'd see him walk up to the kiln, take it and look in there. A: Yes, pull that brick out and look in there. But Wta.t they got out there on the wall ncm, he don't have to look in there with that thing ncM, he can just tum that knob and it'll tell him how many degrees of heat is on that kiln. E: \ell, I knOW' after he left there, I never seen nobody open one of those black things in the pocket, so Ted Reese was there 'When we made brick years ago. fu lD.lBt have been there \<ben he was looking through this little thing. A: I imagine that was one of the things that got used before they put this machine in. E: Yes, and TAhen Ted w:>uld go around there and like, if he didn't want to go back to the clock and look at the clock, he \iUU!d just look through there with this little black thing and I guess he could tell just exactly What he ~s really doing. Vben he did it, it rolled around to a certain degree, I guess, and then he could tell just exactly What it was. I used to see him with this little thing in his pocket a lot, like a little horse screw with a big round end on it. A: Yes, he'd take that thing on up to his eye and look in it. But Ted was a good brick dryer. E: Cb, he was the best, I think. If he'd still have been there hlmiog brick, Poston's might have been still going tcxlay. They kind of got mad at him for sane reason or another. Him and Bill McCoy didn't get along together too good or s<llEthing, kind of bickering back and forth. A: So I guess Teddy just sold him a little, because he told n:e way before he quit there that he'd bought him BOllE property. Fhd of Tape One E: Can you tell her anything aoout pulling the brick, you know, like out of the dryer and anything, like back r4len they used to do it with horses or pushed it, the trolleys by hand? A: No, I never, all the tilm that I was out there, they always bad electric trolleys to run, to take the brick fran the dryer to the kilns to be hml.ed. 'Ihey never did--when I was there--have horses and that, that I can reue:nber. 'lhey might have had it before my time. Q: Now these fifteen nen in five-n:en gangs that you talk about, what type of machinery replaced them? Ivozy Carter 19 ' A: These high lifts, tow mtors. Them's the things that they got. 'lWo of then for the wheeling gang, that takes care of the fifteen nen. Four nen, b.u nen on a tow motor, one to run it and one as his helper. And the san:e way in the setting gang, one man to nm the tow IIDtor and one man did p.1t the steel c1cJr..,n fran the run-on, you know to keep fran tearing up the bottOJIS of the kilns. Q: lbw, a setting gang, is that ••• A: That was the setting gang and the wheeling gang. A wheeling gang had fifteen nen and the setting gang had oelve 1re11. Q: Now what did the setting man do? I don't know anything about the particulars. A: That was to p.~t the green brick in the kilns to be hlrned, and the 'Wheeling gang, after they \\lere hlrnt, takin than out to the yard or to the trucks or wagons or v.hatever it was, to be taken and distrihlted. E: Did the wheeling gang have anything to do with loading the trucks, like they used to do years ago? You know, they used to load them by hand, yoo remember when the boxcars can:e in, they loaded everything. A: Yes, yes, ~11, you take the \tleeling gang. Just say, if you w:re hauling brick out there, then I'd roll the 'Wheelbarrow load of bricks wer there. You'd help me unload that, so I could get back to the kiln to get another one. ve 'WaS always glad to see a wagon or a truck there to take sam brick because a man was going to help you unload. Q: How old were you when you started? A: Seventeen men I started out there to hauling brick, and I worked there until I was sixty-four. Q: That was fran 1917? A: Yes, 1917, let's see, it was during W:>rld war I, that's 1917, 1918-that's When I started to hauling brick CNer there. W:!ll, I had one other job outside of the brickyard and I worked for the city fran 193 7 to 1939. The rest of my v.o:rk has been at the brickyard. E: Ib you know anything about inside the mill, how the brick was made, like we used to IIBke than inside there? A: Yes, the shale caxe wer there in big luops and they ground that shale up into dust. 'Iben that was mixed into a roold and they coo:e through the press, and then the brick was cut. Then the D81 in the mill loaded them on cars to go through the dzyer. I don't know what the heat would be on the dryer that they went through, rut it took them about two or three days to go through that dzyer. 1hen when they coo:e out on the other end, they were dzy. Then they was ready for the setting gang, and then after the setting gang took than and put than in the kilns and hlrned them, then we took them out, took them to the boxcars or wagons or trucks or piled than on the yard. I Ivory Carter 20 E: Did you ever help unload any of the shale, like vben they TNOuld get it in the cars? Cooling fran Indiana. A: I never did Y<~t>l:k out of the cars, rut I took the pick and pulled it on the belt to be ground to go upstairs. I did that, rut I never did take none out of the cars. '!here used to be three men back there, tw:> dow:t below and one upstairs Where the screens 'ileS at. But I never did help unload, take none out of the cars. After they dunped it in the bin, you had a pick to pull it on this belt that was taken it on to be ground.· E: I used to help take it out of the cars men I was there. A: \ell, I never did. I never ~rked in the mill, too DllCh. E: \ell, they had a crane that Y4t>uld take and dip into the coal cars, and then the guy that TNOuld be dow:t in there, sooet:ines you'd have to take tlND guys. A lot of times it took one to follow that crane up and scoop that dirt up out of there and clean it all up. 'lhey'd help them get it out and then they'd unload mat was it, three cars a day, wasn't it, that they used to try to unload? A: I think so. See, vben I TNOrked there • • • E: It took three cars to DBke a day. A: Vhat you're talking aoout now is the fire brick they sent in, the fire clay that they sent in. \ell, they used to haul the shale in cars, run right up that ramp Where the trucks back up, and then clu:q> it in the bin. That was the regular red shale that they have right here now. But vbat you're talking aoout is fire clay that 'ileS shipped in there. E: Yes, I 'm talking about the white and yellow that made the different colored brick. A: \<ell, I never did 'WJrk in that. E: But, do you know any of the type of the brick that was made out here? A: Wlen I first started, they didn't DBke nothing rut red brick and face brick and mats. E: Yes, they made mats and smooth building bricks, canoons. A: Yes, that was about their mrin deal until the late years and then they started shipping this fire clay in and ~nt to making • • • E: \ell Il<7«, there's another kind of brick that they made and they started making that was about, a flc~.red brick. You know, they had flo~rs and little trees and stuff in that brick? A: '!hey DDJSt have been making them after I left. Just like that oakboard brick, now that's a brick that ain't been made too long. I imagine since you started. Ivory Carter 21 E: <h, that was Lincoln Herj_tage brick, they called it. They ~ a brick that had fle>W9rs in it and then the little trees in it and then they put sand 011er the top of it, you know, make them colored brick, put sand 011er it. A: They did that, I guess, after I left there probably. E: I didn't know how long they made it, rut I know that they • • • A: The main brick was a smooth wilder. They made a brick they called the birdie, it was a rought brick,· it had rubbed things on it. And SIOOOth b.lilders and c001l'Dl1; them \~Jere their main brick years ago. E: About the pave brick, did they mke those then? A: Paving brick? No, they never did make those at Poston • s, they made then at Springfield Brick. 'Ihat's all they used to mke over at the Springfield Brickyard, was paving brick. E: That was solid • • • A: Yes, I think the big ones was thirteen pounds and then they made a t-w:> and a half inch paving brick. Then ~ they got to the place mere they cooldn't sell anym:>re of the paving brick, why then, that's when Poston bought that yard out, and that was in 1928 and they brought us all 011er to this yard. And we w:>rked 011er here atillle and then we went back over there, and that one caught on fire. The old Springfield Brickyard caught on fire and then we CCIII! hick here and that's mere I fini.shed up my WJrk. in 1962. Right there. Q: \ell, I thank you very much. It's reen very interesting. A: I hope that What I've told you--! know it's the truth--! hope it's all right. But that was my days fran 1917 up until 1962, that's men I had to quit. F.nd of Tape Two Preface This manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by Ga.rnetta Cook for the Oral History Office on November 19, 1972. Rosalyn Bone transcribed the tape and Susan Jones edited the transcript. Fstol Cook was employed by the Poston Brick ~y in Springfield, Illinois for nine years. He started out cleaning the cars that carried t~ ¥bite clay used in mking the bricks. He m:wed up to a job on the belt W:Uch involved loading cars with bricks. In this UBIDir, Mr. Cook discusses his TNOrk assignments, production teclm.iques and the pug mill. Readers of the oral history IOeDDir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken TNOrd, and that the intervi~r, narrator and editor sought to preserve the informal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangaroon State University is not responsible for the factual accuracy of the IOeDDir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. The nmlScript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It uay not be reproduced in mole or in part by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing fran the Oral lH.story Office, Sangaoxm State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708. -··--· .. -····-·-------- Estol CoOk, NOvember 19, 1972, Buffalo, Illinois. Gametta Cook, Intervie"Oer. Q: Estol, ~d you mind telling us now? A: \Ell, I w::>rk.ed at Poston's about nine years. W:len I first started there, wmt down in the hole, I greased the cradle that they had in the hole that dumped the dirt out and broke it up to send up on trucks. Q: And was this just plain dirt or was this shale? A: \Ell, this was shale and clay and things that they had mixed up. I think they mixed owenty-five percent clay with a load of dirt to send it to grind. to the mill. I liOrked there for about, oh, maybe a couple of IOOilths down there. And then fNery once in a mile, we'd have to take tine out and go up and unload the cars that were caning in fran Indiana mich was the vbite clay and they made lnff brick out of it. I would always have to be in the car after the crane started it. I W!lB the clean-up man in the cars. Of course, ~er they got a day out of .the mill, well then, fNerybody w:mt hale. Finally I w::>rk.ed around to T.<tlere I helped him san! with fixing the cars. That was like the maintenance IIIIIIl. 12 w:ruld be fixing the cars--like the T.<tleels ~d go bad or • • • Q: 'Ihis was repair l~X>rk? A: Repair liOrk, yes. And I would grind off and then he would put the new slats on. I r,;ould grab the ·Old s~ats off the cars and he would put new slats on the cars. 'Ihen I 1Nellt up and worked SOIJ:e in the bin, where the dirt -was ground real fine and you had sooe mtors to watch and you \<IDUld have to watch the bin to see that the dirt was caning through the sl'D.ltes all right. Scm:!t:ines, we 1 d choke up the shutes and you 1 d have to clean out the sl'D.lte. Scmetimes you liOuld have to get dO'WJ:l in this bin where the fine dirt ms at, and push it dow:1 so that the pug mill could get it. 'Ihey would just be running and it w::>uld just eat out a big hole in there and you'd have to get in there with a rod or shovel or sooething and scoop it down so that the mill could go ahead and make their day's nm. And then, I w::>rked around as, kind of like the flunky boy for a mile until the belt carre up. Wla.t I nean about the belt caning up, is that they had to, well, you had a bid on the belt and if a man quit or he got sick and he couldn't work no mre they would have a bid on it, and I bidded for it and I finally got it. I worked there the rest of my tim! until the brickyard closed, off and on. M:>st of the time that I worked there I was on the belt and that's as far as I usually got until later years. They put ne out on the yard and they started me off on toll board cleaning up behind, well, I guess you'd call E:stol Cook 2 it the ring, that they had vbere they scrapped the brick. Vben I worked in the mill, packing brick, I think it ~ arOI.md eight hundred bricks on a car, and I was on one side of the belt and there 'WaS six guys that done this. You had What you'd call a h.tddy, you would be on one side and the other f!fii -w:ruld be on the other side. You'd start in, he had to put tt«> lrundred brick on his side and you put two hundred on your side and then they would m:we the car dor.n a little bit and then you'd put two l"nmdred m:>re on and he'd put biO hundred m:>re on. \ell, no, we had to put four hundred instead of two b..mdred, we put four hundred on a side because he ~d have four hundred on one side and then they would push the car dowt and I would handle four hundred on one side. Q: Now ~d each one of them put four lnmdred on at a time? A: Yes, each one of us had four hundred bricks to put on each side of the car because you had to set them in a certain way. One time you set tw:> bricks on the rail and then you set a brick crossways and the next time you turned it across again. And you kept coorl.ng up tn1til you got up to mere it was, I think it was seven bricks high and then that made your full car, out of which \O.lld re arOI..Uld eight hundred bricks. I think that's the way it was, I don't really know for sure nl7ili, rut that's ..-bat I done for the biggest part of my tine. Q: Those were green brick? A: It was green brick. Q: And men they m:Ned the car, you said m:wed around, vilere did they send it? A: \ell, they W'Juld take it like on the other side of the belt, there was a b..mch of empty cars and they would have to knock them dom. Vben you got your one car full, somebody pushed them under for you so you could start up with a new car and you just kept that up tm.til you got one lumdred. twenty-four cars. Six 1IBl. bad to get one hundred twenty-four cars a day. 'lbat was their quota, that was aOOu.t ninety-five thousand bricks at that time, that day. Wlat it 'WaS, I mean, you w:n:ked, it was kind of like task worl<. You had to wo:rk hard to make the day and as soon as you got your one lu.tndred twenty-four cars, well, you got to go bane. Soo:et:i.nEs you took time out for your nine o'clock, ten minute break and then you went fran ten minutes • • • Q: W:lat tiDe did you start WJ:rk in the rooming? A: Started v.ork at seven o'clock in the roming and you WJrked up until nine o'clock. Then yoo. went out for whatever you wanted to do for ten minutes. And you cruld go do it, eat breakfast, do W:l.atever you wanted to. At. ten minutes after nine, you liiellt back to wo:rk and you worked fran ten minutes after nine until twelve o'clock. Scme days, if you were lucky, yoo. WE!re done by twelve o'clock; sc:ce days you had to w:>:rk on through till one-thirty, two o'clock, two-thirty, sanetimes three-thirty, sonet:ines WE! didn't make a day at all. I reaenber tines when ~ couldn't even make a day. Maybe the dirt would re too ~t or it cane out too bad and it ~d break up a lot of brick or run a lot of green brick over. Estol Cook 3 The brick w::ruldn' t be straight and they w:>uld sane times cut the corners off and that wuld nake it bad for you, because you couldn't pack them kind of brick. You had to let them go and maybe went down in a hole, ~t they called a hole, w:m.t back on the belt and then reground. Q: Wlen you say the belt, was this a conveyor belt? A: 'Ihat 's a corweyor belt. ve just called it the belt rut it's a conveyer belt. And there was, like I said, there -was six guys that w:>rked this. There was tv.lo guys to each car; one on each side of the car. Q: W:>rked pretty fast, pretty hard? A: Oh, you had to WJJ:k fast and you had to w:>rk hard to get your day's -w:rk done. I nean, you earned your mney. 'Ihat 's the reason my they had it set up that way because they know that you w::ruld go ahead and do it and the faster that plug mill w:>uld kick them out, well, the faster that you w::ruld get out. I uean, you had to hack the brick, if you worked on the front of the car the first thing of the mming you had to do ¥hat they called go around. You had to get tWJ cars out to the rest of them one. 'Iha.t makes it cooe out one hundred bwenty-four cars a day at the end of the day. And then after you got that, you -went around once, then the rest of the time you kind of float, as long as you stayed al:x>ut three layers ahead of each of the other cars back of you. But the guy on the end of the belt, W:len you got back there, well, in the middle of the belt it was real easy there. You kind of got your rest back when you -was in the middle of the belt because if you missed a brick, it was all right, you knew you had tw:> IIDre guys to catch it. But then when you got on the lack end of the l:el t and if you was on the end of the belt you was supposed to catch rNery brick that cane back there that was good. You wasn't suppose to let none of them go. \ell, a lot of t1mes you would 1:e back there WJrking and the guys w::ruld get to goofing off up in the front end or sooething and then that w:>Uld put the hard shift on the OiO guys on the back. If you had a very poor b.lddy on your side, he took the notion that he didn't want to help pick up the bricks, well then, you -was in trouble. You had to try to do ~tever you could and sooetines you could get them and sometimes you couldn't. So that's the way that thing worked. Q: Did you always woxk in one spot? Or did you have tums on this front? A: Ch, yes, you had turns. If I started on the front I ~::.n:ked the front that day and the next day I wuld be in the middle and the next day I w:>Uld be on the end. Every three days you would be back on the end is the way that it worked out. Sale 'ieeks you would worlc, maybe, one day up on the front end and then time if got back to you started the right way, maybe you wuldn' t have to w:>I:k that ~ rut uaybe one t:i.ne, on the back end. 'Ihe back end was the hardest thing of the l:elt. 'lhere have l:een t:i.nes that I worked it three, four, five days in a rry. And that ~p 1:e on account you had a floor ruddy and WJuld try to learn him how to ' pick up the bricks._ So, if you get a good b.lddy that knows how to pick up the bricks, well, it wasn't no trouble, it was just as easy as pie. He ~d pick up his part and sooet:imes you wuld overdo it rut if you; i i I Estol Cook 4 got too far ahead of you on the end of the belt, ~11, wen he could get out be vnll.d have to stop because you ~d be still back there and trying to get yours out, so that "WJuld make it pretty hard on you because you'd have to "WJJ:k so 1DlCb. harder to get yours out and try to catch up with him. So I always tried to have the gpy that tried to go out together as 1DlCb. as "i.E can, Whenever I "WJrked on the back end of the belt. Up on the front end it doesn't make any difference. It made a difference, it made a hardshi.p on the others if yru 'Went out too early rut if you didn't go oot too early, well then, maybe five or six bricks ahead of time because you usually had to go out, the guy -was on the right hand side of the car, he usually had to go out a little bit ahead of the other one because he always had to bend dovn and pick up the sticks so the car to roll ~. Q: 'Ihi.s stick was like a brake? A: \-ell, yes, used it like a brake. It blocked. It blocked cars, keep fran rolling any farther· doWl. And When I -was Y.lt>rking outside on the tow motor, now, my, that there's a different thing. I mean, I went around on the yard and picked up the junk bricks and then I had a truck, a dtmp truck, that I picked up the old brick in and took them over. After I Y.lOUld get a load, which trucks s<XJetines YlOUl.d hold four, five tanks of bricks, or baskets you call them and then I would take the truck over to the hole and dump it, TAhich was about two or three miles away ·fran the brickyard. And then I w:>uld bring the truck back and pal:k it and then I 'd go up around the ring and I w:rul.d get the baskets up there and ch.mp them. Saoetimes I would take them and dtmp them ~re they ¥as ground up for chip brick, and if the brick wasn't good enough for that, then I would duDp them d£Ml in the hole -mere they was just throwed away. Covered up sooetin:es. I don't know too 1DlCb. mre I could tell you abcut it. I mean, that's aoout all I know, whatever they ask me to do mst of the time, that's what I done. \ben they first started out they used to make ~t they had a sand brick that they made every so often and they Y.lOuld put sand on top of the kilns, heat this sand to dry it. A lot of times I ~d go in very early of a mrn:ing and I would scoop this sand off into a vmeelbarrow and take it up and sift it so they could get all the rough sand out of it so the sand ¥J:>uld be nice and sroooth, so it ~d go through the popper that they pour it in to go on top of the brick. Sanetimes, you'd have to iXJ.t a coloring in it. I don't know ...tlat they did call that color rut they called it a coloring. They had a na:te for it. And then saootimes, I had to carry sc:ue berium. 'lhat' s the stuff that they iXJ.t in the brick to help make than stick together, and make them mre tighter. Q: Wl.en you said color, are you talking about the red color that you used to get in your clothes? A: That's right. 'lhat 's the coloring. And then sana times this coloring Y.lt>Uld be black or sooet:i.nes it Y.lOuld be red or saretines it YlOUl.d be \obi.te. They had several different kinds of brick that they made to pl1!t this stuff on. And there has been tines that I WJU.J.d be on the yard 01r sa:rething and they'd -want sanel:x>dy to fill brushes. I would go up and I w:ruld fill brushes, that's steel brushes. 'lhat's ~t they made mat bricks out of. And you bad to take and iXJ.t in several little wires in EstolCook 5 each one of these little holes and bend them dow:l and get every one of them even so that they ~dn' t dig into the brick vtten they did get them set. They had to be even so that \\hen they tumed O'ller, w:>uld scratch a place on the brick. Now, these were green brick, would scratch a place on this green brick and make it so it \<ilOuld be mat they called a mat. It WJuld scratch it on the top of the brick and then scratch it on the sides of the brick. And sa:netimes v.e 'd have as many as ~nty-five and thirty of those things to tmke up. Q: N:>w these little scratches were really a design? A: Yes, that was the design, that was the design for it. And then sanetimes men we \<ilOuld get through on a belt, we w:>uld get O'llertime. You would have to change the head of the pug mill if you go to a No:rman brick or you'd have to change it to go to a standard brick and sane times you'd have to put on a road machine. Maybe you'd have to put on the sand machines, or just anything that came out they asked you to do. Like if they was changing O'ller like that sa:JEt:ilJEs you had to help change the cutter, ~ch is a great big outfit with lots of wires in it, they cut different sizes of brick. Scmet:ilJEs it took five and six guys to change this thing. You had to put it up on a big hoist. You had to pull it up on a big hoist up in the top and take it doom to the end of the belt, put it on a car and meel it O'ller into the back roan. Then you got another one O'ller there and wheeled it back, put it on this hoist and pulled it up and take it back up. Q: Are you talking about a cutter? A: I 'm talking alx>ut a cutter. Q: That's the machine that did the cutting. You changed cutters. A: Cllanged cutters, that's right. You had to change cutters for different types of brick you're making. If you're making a standard brick, well, it's got to be a standard cutter. If you're uaking a Noman brick it's got to be a Nonnan cutter. If you're uaking a Ranan brick, it's got to be a Roman cutter. Q: Ch, men you speak of these different brick can you tell us ~t they look like? Say when you say a Reman brick, ~t did it look like? A: \ell, a Reman brick was just about half the size as a Nonnan brick. Q: vell, let's hear about sizes. A: \ell, about ~ inches wide and about, oh, I don't know ~t a Noman brick is. . I guess maybe • • • about fifteen inches, I guess. Heck, I don't know just exactly ~t they are. I don't rem:mber making any standard Raaan bricks rut if they do, the standard brick would be, I think it's eight inches long. It's about four inches wide or three and a . quarter. I don't know which b.J.t ~tever ~ch way it is, well, then, this wire took just about half of it to make a Ranan out of it. And ~er you was uaking your mat brick, well then, you had this wire brushes. If you was uaking rug brick, well then, you had this rig that L____.I(IL__ ______________ ~·---------··---- ····-·-----·-- --· -· -- -· ··-------- ----·--·-· -----·-·-·. - i i I. Estol Cook 6 you put on that looked like nails was in it and it ;;ent on top of the bricks and scratched little lines in it. It WJUJ.d have the sane thing on the sides that scratched them on the sides. And l<tten the thing cane dovn to cut it, my, the design was already there. So we coae on doWI and you had to put them on the car. Q: You had to be careful about not miring or -was it hard enough that • • • A: \tell yes. fust of the time your brick was hard enough that you didn't put too Dl.1.ch of a print in it rut sooetin:es you did. Sooeti.nes the bricks ~d get printed. If a man squeezed them a little too hard, my' yru. v.uuld get a fingerprint in it. 'lhey kind of liked for you to i keep your fingers out of them as much as possible. So sanetimes it couldn't be helped. Q: \tell now, you talk alx>ut different types like Roman and mats and all, did yru. make other designs other than that? A: \tell, we made mat they call Lincoln Heritage and that thing was made with rollers like but it had little trees and little offsettings and all kinds of pretty little designs on it and men the brick ~t through, this thing could roll over the top of it and that made a print in the brick. It done the saue things on the side of the brick and that made the print in there, what design 'WaS on there for it to do, that 'WaS wt the design came out. And they sprinkled sand. 'lhey had the sand machine over, they sprinkled different kinds of sand on it. Sooet:ines it'd ~ W:l.ite sand, sometimes it's be black, sometimes it'd be red, and you just didn't know what color it WJUJ.d be men it CBIIE out. Sooet:ines they'd make maybe, oh, fifty or sixty of them would ~ red and the next time be black, and the next tinE be mite, and soaetin:es it'd be all three at one time. You didn't know Wdch one was caning out. You just picked them up and put them on the cars whatever way they ca:re out. Q: 'lhese ~re still green but they were these different colors? A: Yes, yes. 'lhey was still green and different colors. And then, oh, I 'm trying to think of the Nonnan' s. You could make a mat Nonnan or could make a lx>lt balk Nonnan. Now your oak balk Nonnan was a, well, it was kind of on the same thing as a tree like b.J.t it was just a big press thing there that just made oak, you know, just kind of tore it up and made kind of an oak looking • • • • Q: Like tree baJ:k? A: Yes, sanething like a tree bark on the brick. And they done the same thing on the biD sides as they done on the top. 'lhe brick ~d roll out and you ~d pick them up and put them on your car. Of course, your Normans ~re the long brick. I don't know what, I think they III.lSt be a. foot lo~ or sooething like that, I don't knDiil. Gets it right at it. And they re the sane size, the sanE width as your other brick rut only just a longer brick. Cbe of them was a three hole brick and the other one's a five hole brick. Your five hole brick is your Nonnan 's, your three mle brick is your standard brick. EstolCook 7 Q: How'd you get the holes in them? A: \tben you got your pug mill and you changing your head on your pug mill, well, you have your, it's like a little fork made thing that goes in there and it's got the holes. Wlen that dirt c~s through there that knife on that pug mill kind of goes in there and makes a hole in there. I don't knew just how you lNOuld IIBke your holes in your brick as they ca~e out. W:t.en the soft dirt cooe out, well, your holes are already in the brick~ they cooe through. Vben the cutter cut then, you had your brick and ~tever design you were going to make that. Q: And the cutter cuts than with wire 1 A: ili.tter cuts them with wire. Sometimes the wire w:ruld break up. 'lhe cutter was a dangerous machine. And couldn't everybody run the cutter because SCJ~Ietimes it was, if you wa.sn' t a pretty good size man, tall man, if yoo was a short man, it 1.es hard to handle the cutter, real hard to handle it. If you 1.es tall and big enough to take that wrench and get them wires in there ~ile that thing was rum:U.ng, well, you was in good shape. If not, \\by, you're liable to be lumg up in it. That's the only thing I can say about the cutter. I never did run the cutter. I stayed away fran the cutter as much as possible. I might give saneoody else the , devil for rurming the cutter, if it didn't cooe out right, rut I didn't fool with the cutter too DJ.lCh. I didn't fool with the pug mill any up there. I nean, the FPY that run the pug mill, that was his job. He had to know bow much water to put in the brick, had to know how much anicafye to let into the brick and he had to know • • • Q: :tbw, ~t was anicafye? A: \ell, anicafye is a liquid fonn ~t they used to use in the brick. I don't know whether they still use it. It seem; to rre that in later years they quit using it. It was kind of a substance like a mlasses, or SCJ~Iething. It made the brick stick together, too. Q: Sort of an adhesive, then. A: Yes, it was sort of • • • A: Paste, or something. A: Sarething like that. It used to cooe in great big semi-trailer trucks. And it was a liquid fo:rm and they WJUld pl1Ill> it into a great big tank and then we w:ruld use, and use for quite a mile before we'd ever get it used up. And then they'd order another big truck load of it. It's what they called anicafye. ~t I always called it, I guess it was the right naE for it. 'lbe berit.m was a white substance like a powder, or like flour. It 1.es definitely poison, I think. I don't think you could, you k:now, you couldn't eat it or nothing like that because I .think it v.uuld kill you. 'lhey knOW' the 'e}lY that run the pug mill, he had to fAJ.t in so much of it, and then he had to know how DJ.lCh of this other stuff to go in. In later years, they used to just take and carry it up and JUt it in boxes and the EstolCock 8 'iPJ that was up there, he had to scoop it into a little machine like that he had up there. And then he let that one run full. But then in later years they got to mere they'd take it and p.lt it in a mixer. They made a mixer of sooe kind and put a DDtor on it and the DDtor mixed it up with so I11.1Ch water and then they had it ~ere it ~uld pump aver into the pug mill. Q: And just mixed all of these other ••• A: No, it just mixed the one. It just mixed the beritm. Q: Ch, it just mixed the berium. A: Berium. You dLtnp in seven or eight sacks of berium and mixed it with aboo.t, I don't know, t~ or three lrundred gallons of water, I guess. 'lb.at made the berium ~Ik in there. Q: Didn't you use to have to take the beriun up there? A: vell, we used to have to carey the berium up there, rut then~ they got it around to where they'd be using it in the ma.chirie, ~y, Yhoever was ~xking avertime, a lot of times they would carry the beriun doYn and duop it into this machine. I carried a lot of it around there and dunped it up in this machine. Ch, I've done just \lhatever they want ne to do, that's \tla.t I usually do. I never had no trouble with nobody. So, that • s rirf life with the brickyard. Q: \ell, thank you very DUCh. If you've told ne everything, I appreciate it. (tape stopped) A: vell, I happened to think of sooething else. I used to go up and help than drill so they could dynamite to blow the dirt dowt to make the brick out of. ve 'd take a greak big truck up on the hill and had a drilling rig on it and What I used to have to do is help take the bits and put them on to drill. Fach bit I think was around alxrut, oh, I'd say around about ten or fifteen feet long. And we had five of than that we had to change and we drilled dCJ\<Ill into, no, we backed this truck up real close, as close as you could get without dumping it aver. 'lb.en they ha:l a rigging on it that you stood inside of it and v.hile this thing was drilling dom there you had to take a shovel and you scooped back so nuch of the clay dirt back out of the way fran the bits. You kept this up tmtil you drilled clear doYn to the five bits. Wlen. you got to the oottom one you started to pull them up. And you'd have to pull them up and take each bit off. Each bit cane up we • d have to take it off until you got the five bits canpletely back up out of the hole. Then maybe sorretines you WJUJ.d drill three holes in one day. 'Iha.t WJ\lld take you all day to drill three holes. After you got them drilled, then, you put your dyn.amlte or Whatever yru wanted to. Put your dynamite in there aqj your powder and then you scoop this real fine dirt back in on top of ~t, that • s what they call packing it. And you done this to all three hole~. Then they used to have to call wer fran the state wilding to get a ~d to tell them that they was getting ready to blow. Wlen. they got the ~d that they could go, well, then • • • EstolCook 9 Q: They had to get pennission. A: They had to let them know at the state wilding, over at the new state wilding, that they was going to blow. And tell than about ~t t:i.D:e they was going to blow. I guess it was \\hen.ever they ~uld blow it 'tliOUl.d scare the people or sarething wer there, shake the wilding or something a little bit or sanething. I don't know ~t it was over there that they had to do rut they had to call and let them know they was going to do this. And they'd even do this maybe about once every tw:> or three ~ that we'd have go do this. I nean, sane tines I wool. do' t have to go and they'd send sanebody else. But mst of the time if I was free enough, wa.sn 't "-Urlting the belt or nothing, well then, they ~d send rre to do this job. And that's all I could tell you about that. It was a job that had to be done. That was it. F.nd of Tape
|Title||Poston Brick Company - Interviews and Memoir|
Poston Brick Company, Springfield (Ill.)
|Description||Carter, Ivory, 85 mins., 26 pp. Cook, Estol, 14 pp. Cook, Mark, 45 mins., 17 pp. Poston, William E., 10 mins., 7 pp. Robinson, Earl, 60 mins., 13 pp. Van Cleve, Henrietta, 10 mins., 7 pp. The narrators discuss personnel, machines, operations and types of bricks manufactured at the Poston Brick Company in Springfield. Narrators also discuss working conditions, hazards, co-workers, and the structures located on the factory grounds. (An interview was also conducted with William Thompson but was never transcribed; Mark Cook's interview is omitted due to poor audio quality.)|
|Creator||Carter, Ivory, Cook, Estol, Cook, Mark, Poston, William E., Robinson, Earl, Van Cleve, Henrietta|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||Cook, Garnetta [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Title||Poston Brick Company Memoir - Part 1|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
Poston Brick Company Memoir
P846. Poston Brick Company
Interview and memoir
5 tapes, 240 mins., 78 pp.
The narrators discuss personnel, machines, operations and types of bricks
manufactured at the Poston Brick Company in Springfield. Narrators also
discuss working conditions, hazards, co-workers, and the structures located on
the factory grounds.
Interviews by Garnetta Cook, 1972
OPEN: see individual names for legal release
See individual collateral files : interviewer's notes, photos of factory,
photocopies of articles about the factory, list of buildings built with the
company's bricks, and background notes.
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1972, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
Poston Brick Company
William E. Poston
Henrietta Van Cleve
( 4 pages)
( 4 'pages)
These interviews are part of a project on the Poston
Brick Company in Springfield, Illinois. People
interviewed include a former employee's wife, former
employees, and the president of Poston Brick. They
relate their working experiences with regard to making
bricks. The interviewer was Garnetta Cook.
1985 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY, SPRINGFIELD, ILUNOIS.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois 62708.
Table of Gantents
'lhe Pond • • • • • • • • • • • •
Introduction of machines • • • •
W::n:king with the dryer • • • • •
Tow moters • • • • • • • • • • • •
'lhe setting gang • • • • • • • • •
'lhe turmels. •
• • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • •
Office personnel •
'IYPes of bricks. •
• • • •
• • •
Buildings made of Poston brick •
Swell bellies. • • • • • • • • •
Setting and meeling gangs • • • •
'1)1pes of bricks. • • • • • • • • •
• • • •
• • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • •
• • • • •
• • • •
• • • •
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• • • •
• • • • • •
• • • •
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• • • • • •
• • • • • •
• • • • •
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• • • • • •
• • • •
• • • • • •
• • • •
• • • • •
This nmmscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted
by Ga.metta Cook for the Oral History Office on November 1, 1972.
Kathryn Back transcribed the tapes and Susan Jones edited the transcript.
Ivory Carter w:~.s employed by the Poston Brick Company of Springfield,
Illinois from 1917 to 1962. In this naooir, Mr. Carter describes the
different jobs he held at the Poston Brick Company and the changes in
the machinery over the years. Mr. Carter also discusses brick tmking
and the different kinds of bricks.
Readers of the oral history neooir should bear in mind that it is a
transcript of the spoken ~rd, and that the intervie\\er, narrator and
editor sought to preserve the infonnal, conversational style that is
inherent in such historical sources. Sangaoon State University is not
responsible for the factual accuracy of the naooir, nor for views
expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge.
The nmmscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be
reproduced in mole or in part by any maans, electronic or nechanical,
without permission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamn
State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708.
------------ --- ---------
Ivory Carter, ~ember 1, 1972, Springfield, Illinois.
Ga.metta Cook, Intervieler.
Q: Today we're going to have an interview with Mr. Ivory Carter, a
long-tin:e employee of Poston Brick Caupany. Mr. Carter has lived in
Springfield for many years. He has a lot of experience with the brick
company, and I think he CBil give us a lot of information.
A: I started at Poston's in about 1917 hauling brick away fran Poston
Brick Caupany. And then, when I first started to ¥X>rking at the plant,
it ~s at the Springfield Paving Brickyard, and then in 1928, Mr. Poston
bought the Springfield Paving Brickyard and brought us all 011er to his
yard. I worked there for the rest of my days except I had one other job
in 1937. I 'ietlt to the city and worked from 1937 to 1939, and I went
back to the brickyard. '!hat's mere I put the rest of my time in, at
Poston Brick Caupany.
Q: lbw long -were you there?
A: tell, I started out there 1917 and I ¥JJrked there until 1962; that's
when I had the heart attack. That was my last ¥X>rk that I ever did.
(laughter) Vhat is that, Estol telling on ne?
Q: \ell, he just asked ne to ask you about the ~nd and the logs, and
all. He just mentioned it to me; he thought you d be able to tell us.
A: ·\Ell, ~er the brickyard or the mill would break dO\!Il, that T,\10Uld
stop the setting gang, and then we'd all go to the pond. I had a board,
·and I was on this board, and Harry Mann, and I think Roy Kirby. I couldn't
swim and that pon:l ~s deep. But I was riding this board (laughter) and
Bob Kennedy--he's dead now--he ~up by me and forced that board out
and forced that board aut fran under me, (laughter) and Roy and Harry
helped ne get out. W1en I got my feet on to W:tere I could bitch about
it, (laughter) I really told Bob Kennedy sooething. (laughter) But
that's mat we'd do always menever the brickyard would go dCMl, the
whole gang of them. ve 'd have to wait until the uen fixed it back so
they could make brick again. So -we'd go down there and get in the pond,
and had a lot of fun dom there. That til:Ie, it wasn't fun for ne after
they pushed that board out. (laughter)
Q: Did you ever go back after that?
A: Yes, I -went back, rut I didn It go back on the board no mre. I
didn It get DllCh deeper than my knees, rut this tin:e I was way out in
there and riding this ooard. Oh, I was really deep, going along on ~s
Ivory Carter 2
board, b.lt men Bob slipped up behind and p.lShed this board out fran
under ne, that let ne dow:1. That -was part of this shale hole; that pond
was deep at one time.
Estol: [Ga.metta Cook's luJsband] I imagine it was thirty, forty feet
A: Yes, f?
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|