When I moved to Russell, I found a brick out in the backyard, then a second…I cleaned them off and saw hat there was writing on them. Never thought too much about them, put them on my front steps for decoration because they said “Russell” on them and I loved Russell!
courtesy of Mark A.
These bricks were remenants of the Blandford Brick and Tile Works of Russell, Mass.
1890. Kaolinite. Blandford.
Extensive works have been erected by the Blandford Brick and Tile Company in Russell to Work a deposit of clay found in Blandford many years ago by Mr. G. L. Twitchell.
“Sworn analyses by chemists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology show the existence of a bed of kaolin […] of the most valuable sort and in a quantity that is known to exceed 80,000 tons. […] A comparative analysis shows that the Blandford clay is superior to the Mount Savage clay, the only American basis for fire brick that is worthy of notice, and oven to the Sturbridge clay from England and the Chinese kaolin. Its finer strain makes a brick of the purest white.”
Springfield Republican, December 6, 1890.
The Blandford Brick and Tile Company are among the largest manufacturers of plain and ornamental building brick, of any desired color, from pure clays, making a specialty of buff and white, which are at present very much in demand for building purposes, and guaranteed to keep their color. The company also make fire brick and fire tiles of every description. They do a very large business, having offices at 72 Water street, Boston, and at 67 Lyman street, Springfield, Mass. They have furnished the brick and tiling for a great many of the prominent buildings in this city, and have a large trade all over New England. The yards and works are at Russell, Mass., on the line of the Boston & Albany railroad, giving them the very best of shipping facilities. The officers of this company are O. W. Norcross, president; A. J. Parks, treasurer; and G. L. Twichell, manager.
Check out a cool website all about the bricks here!
From: “Our County and Its People: A History of Hampden County, Massachusetts,” Alfred Minot Copeland, editor, 1902.
The principal business interests of Russell at the present day comprise the stores kept by T. H. Clark and Henry B. Martin, both of which are well-stocked general establishments: the attractive and well-appointed hotel kept by John Chaplin: the usual number of small shops found in all country villages, and the brick and tile works, the latter an industry of much importance in the locality. The Blandford brick and tile works has been a local interest for twelve or fifteen years, but originally was located in the town of Blandford, from whence comes the greater part of the raw material now used. The works are operated with Worcester capital, employ local wage earners, and under the capable management of W. S. Lincoln comprise one of the best business concerns of the town.