And? And...this is a brick?
November 8, 2006 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Is this ampersand some sort of mason's mark for bricks?

Yesterday while wandering the upper edges of a salt marsh (South Shore, Massachusetts) I found an old stone wall that also had some random bricks added to it. One of the bricks had this piece of what I assume to be mortar stuck to it, and embedded in the mortar was a clay ampersand. The mortar sort of fell off (ok, I kind of broke it off...), so I kept it. The entire piece is about 2 inches wide by 4 inches tall. The middle section (with the ampersand) is raised. ( [close-ups] of the ampersand...sorry it's so blurry. )

Does anyone have any idea what this could be? I think it's either a mason's mark of some sort or part of a larger block of text that was laid into the mortar but I'm hoping one of you has more insight or information.
posted by nekton to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
It's not letting me see your pictures, but bricks often have the name of their brickyard (or an abbreviation) stamped into one side. In addition to marketing, the process also made the bricks lighter and cheaper (by removing some material).
posted by Rock Steady at 10:22 AM on November 8, 2006

Mod note: fixed links in the post
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:02 PM on November 8, 2006

Best answer: Thanks Jessamyn. Yes, what you've got is an ampersand chipped off what is known as a rl/f brick (for raised-letter/frog -- the frog being the indentation in the brick that the letters were set in). See this image for an intact version of something similar. There were many companies called some vairation of "The XXX Brick and Stone Company" which would have put "XB&SCo." or similar on their bricks for the reasons I mentioned above.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2006

Response by poster: That makes a lot of sense, especially since the part with the ampersand is raised (and is therefore an impression of the frog on another brick that is now missing an ampersand.)
posted by nekton at 4:16 PM on November 8, 2006

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