Bricks + Brick Making


Brick making has been a major industry in Maine since the mid-19th century, with many yards operating in the Lewiston-Auburn and Greater Portland area. In 1880, Maine produced roughly 4.5 million bricks. With the introduction of machinery just a few years later, 93 million bricks could be made each year. Between 1855 and the present, nearly 40 different companies produced bricks in our region. 

Traditional water-struck, open-yard bricks are formed from three key ingredients: clay, water, and sand. These ingredients must first be mixed, then molded into shape, then laid in the yard to be dried, and finally fired in the kiln. Variations in these steps account for the wide variety of colors and qualities of bricks

Although many brickyard workers used to wear just bathing suits when they were digging clay pits and building brick kilns during the hottest months of the year, there was one accessory that they wouldn’t dare go without.

If you were not wearing gloves while picking up bricks that had been drying in the yard, the skin on your fingers could rub off. This unique pair of double-thumb gloves, originally donated by the family that owned Dennis Brickyard, solved that problem! When one side wore out, the worker could merely flip the glove over and keep working without any time lost.