Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hoffman (Brunswick Brick Tile & Pottery Company)

The Hoffman Brunswick Brick Tile & Pottery Company was established in 1870, primarily to make bricks using the Bradley & Craven automatic brick press and Hoffman patent kilns. Initially their works was on Albert Street, but erected the new No 2 works in Dawson Street in 1884 (one of two surviving early Melbourne Brickworks) Air Photo. The Dawson Street works was still making bricks with the same pattern in 1988, but closed in 1993. the site has been partly redeveloped with housing in surrounding apartments and two converted Hoffman Kilns. A third kiln chimney survives and the brick press building, although it is ruinous.

The first bricks may have been made as sandstocks. This from an 1875 Brunswick cottage, might be an example.
19th century frogless
The earliest data for the new brick presses has been suggested as 1887 (VHR), although Stuart indicates Platt Presses in 1878 and suggests commencement of machine dry pressed brick production when the company first started ie.1870.

It looks like the typical small frog Hoffman brick, with the all capitals and Large 'H' was in use  from about 1880. based on the brick below from Robertson's killing house at the City Abattoirs, collected when it was demolished in the 1980s.
c1910 standard frog
The impressions of the screw heads used to hold the name plate in the mould, appear to get deeper in some bricks, while later bricks also sometimes show a more rounded lettering, possibly from a worn mould, such as this 1920s one from a wall in Carlton.

Late 20th century, deep screw impressions

1940s Bar frog with tally mark 

c1970s barred frog version


  1. The SHR is wrong they were using Craven brick presses from the start. A Platt press which is of a type more suited to Sydney shales was I think an experiment. Similarly Craven machines were not suited to Sydney's clays.

  2. Hoffmann kiln is very advantageous which make is very popular for brick production. It is used in almost every country.
    For knowing all the advantages and disadvantages visit: Advantages and Disadvantages of Hoffman Kiln