Geraldton Bricks is one of Australia’s oldest manufacturers of quality clay bricks and paving stones and has been supplying the Australian and international markets since 1929. Here, the quality of the clay used to make our products are considered to be one of the best in the world. , which gives us a superior finished product both aesthetically and structurally. Our dimensions do not reflect the scope of our passion for bricks and pavers, and we pride ourselves on the uniqueness we can create using locally fired clay. Clay pavers, for example, are made by brick manufacturers Australia but are not usually the brick manufacturers’ main line of business (Pine Hall brick being an exception).
The bricks made contain 50% to 60% silica (sand), 20% to 30% alumina (clay), 2% to 5% lime, up to 7% iron oxide, and some magnesia. The colour of the bricks depends on the chemical and mineral composition of the clay and the firing temperature. The colour and pattern on the bricks can vary from batch to batch as the colours of slate and clay change with each cycle.
To increase their hardness, the bricks can be moulded in a press to increase density and remove any small air pockets from the clay before firing. During firing, the clay must reach a temperature between 900°C and 1000°C for the silica to fuse and give the brick its strength. The dough must be precise: too much water – and the bricks delaminate, too little – and crumble.
Sandstone bricks are made using a sandblasting method in which clay is manually pressed into a mould sprinkled with fine sand. Dry pressed brick is a traditional type of brick that is made by extruding clay into moulds. The labour-intensive hand-brick making (hand-made bricks) is the predominant way of modelling green bricks in developing countries.
All handmade bricks and tiles are of this type, but the term “plastic” is also used for machine-made products, especially clay that requires careful handling and more thorough drying.13 Leeds Technical Handbooks and Manuals have had a huge impact and still contain a wealth of useful information to this day. One machine used in Australia to make plastic bricks was a mixer-extruder that produced wire-cut bricks using semi-plastic clays that are stiffer than those favoured by hand moulders. The bricklayers worked in teams that dug the clay out of the ground, ran it through a mill for cleaning, and pressed it into individual sandblasted moulds, then poured each brick from the mould onto pallets.
The practice of steaming bricks meant that bricks made only from dry clay and slate were subjected to a pressurized steam bath that penetrated the core. Early colonial bricks were either dried in the sun or fired in lower temperature kilns with clay that was not stiff enough for impurities and contained insufficient lime. The first colonial bricks were slightly smaller and inferior in quality to European ones. Consequently, colonial bricks lacked strength compared to bricks made in Europe, which had warmer kilns and higher quality clay.
Beneath a thin layer of surface clays, these pioneers soon discovered deep streaks of first-class brick-making shale belonging to the Vianamatta group, which produced bricks equivalent to gold. In 1985 Midland Brick bought Whitemans Brick and the two innovative family businesses merged to form Midland Brick. Austral Bricks, a renowned Australian success story, has over 100 years of brick-making history.
Founded in 1908, Austral Bricks is Australia’s largest, most famous and most efficient brick and tile manufacturer. Just as clay bricks helped build Australia in 1788 by creating the first manufacturing industry, Austral Bricks has brought the industry into the 21st century. As of 2016, one of the largest brick factories in the world, producing 1 million bricks a day, is located on the banks of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia.
Endicott Clay Products is currently implementing a multi-phase 3 to 7-year expansion program that will increase the plant’s production capacity to 100 million bricks per year, depending on economic activity. In a video from early 2017, Pine Hall Brick’s Senior Vice President of Manufacturing said the Ontario brick factory produces 300 million clay bricks annually. It may also be possible to export handmade bricks to Australia as high labour costs prevent CSR or Brickworks from producing this product on a large scale; although I’m not sure about the economics of exporting handmade bricks to Australia.
Lime-sand bricks are cheaper to manufacture than high-strength fired clay bricks, which means lime-sand bricks can be a cheaper alternative to traditional bricks. This makes them a cheaper option than standard size bricks because they lay faster, require less production time, and require less labour. Holes reduce the weight of extruded bricks, making them cheaper and easier to work with than dry-pressed bricks, while flush-cut faces make it easier to apply finishes such as cement plaster.
The most commonly used type of brick is the common fired clay brick which meets the Australian brick standard at 76mm high, 230mm long and 110mm wide. Several types of bricks can be made from materials such as clay, specific sand and lime, fly ash and water. In Britain, bricks are made in different parts of the island and vary greatly depending on the quality of the clay used and the skill of the people who make them.
Wooden moulds for bricks were also kept in holds to form clay bricks, although for reasons that remain unclear almost all kinds of building tools were missing. A collection of 44 warped and seemingly non-folding bricks was developed from Staffordshire Blue Clay, its unusual matte and inky blue hue chosen to contrast with existing sections of brickwork.