Wynn & Starr

Dave S said...
I found an abondoned brickyard and furnace near Trafford, PA and one of the bricks had the name Wynn & Starr. I'd like to find out if that is the name of the brick mfgr or a brand name. I am also interested in finding out more about this facility, it's in the middle of the woods near a RR line.

3 comments:

  1. Dave,
    Wynn & Starr were brick manufacturers. Acording to compilations developed by Jim Graves of the Internatioal Brick Collectors Association, Wynn and Starr had manufacturing sites in both Mars and Trafford , PA. We know that they made firebrick. I don't know if they made building brick.

    You mention a "furnace". Can you describe it in terms of construction and geometric shape ? I'm trying to ascertain whether the furnace you mention is a
    kiln or smelter, for example.. or if the structure played a role in the production of the brick. Fred

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  2. Fred,

    I took a second trip to this abandoned brickyard and took some pictures. On closer inspection this large tower is not a furnace, there were no openings at the base for fuel or materials. I now suspect it was a support structure. It is about 40' high and square, about 6' on each side at the base. The tower is all brick, 3 layers thick and a hollow core. Someone had punched a hole in it. The is a nearby hill and I am wondering if this wasn't a tower to support a gondola like device for transporting the clay from the steep hillside.
    Jim G has been very helpful in finding the potential oweners of this abondoned facility. I sent him some pics and could send the same to you. Let me know. My email is dsauter@workscapeinc.com, Dave

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  3. Hello,
    I grew up in Monroeville, just above this brickyard. I used to shoot .22 down there in the early 80s when most of the buildings were still there. The Trafford, Pa 75th. anniversary book has a small write up about the brickyard. As I recall, it was started in 1903 by a guy named Sweeny, but not in that same area. The remnants seen now date to the 1910s era, and later. There were several fires, and each one resulted in newer updated buildings. The last fire was in 1959,and they never really fully recovered from that one. I think it was the early 1970s when it was abandoned. They did make face brick, and it was marked on the back stamped into it. Wynn & Starr was later than 1926, I think. There are thousands of marked bricks on the opposite side of the creek (railroad side) in the creek edge hillside used as stabilizers. All of them have some defect, like a crack or something like that, so that is why they are there. In the 1920s they boasted that they could furnish everything necessary for the completion of a house or building, from lumber to brick to finish hardware. They must have had contracts with local lumber yards and supply companies since they could never have stored that amount of material on their rather small tract of land along the creek. Most of the brick homes in Trafford are made of this brick, and some have the cast iron coal chute door embossed with the Wynn name. I have a few advertising pieces from here that I have found over the years. I even have a porcelain sign that some people said did not exist. If anyone wants to chat further, my email is deconstructionguybill@yahoo.com.

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