18th Century Brickmaking
The 18th Century Brickmaking Project is a history education program that gets the public directly involved in the preservation and restoration of New Castle’s historic Amstel House Museum and industrial heritage at Newlin Grist Mill. The public learns the entire process of making a brick by hand – from mixing the clay to firing the brick in the kiln.
Our project last year began on Memorial Day weekend and continued through Columbus Day. We made square bricks for the Amstel House kitchen fireplace as well as rectangular bricks for other restoration work.
The project culminated with a Harvest Festival at Newlin Grist Mill on October 5, when the construction of the kiln was completed. During the following week, the new bricks wree fired in the kiln. The new bricks were removed from the kiln by mid-October.
Members of the public can help in many ways. We invite the public to join us on brickmaking days (click here for our calendar of events) to mix clay, form and stamp bricks, and learn about the brickmaking process.
2012 Project Results
Our 2012 project was a remarkably successful educational program. Over 1,700 people participated in the project, which brought history, science, and environmental education together in a program that was fun and engaging for all ages.
Preservation & Education Goals
Making 200 square bricks by hand for use in the restoration of the 1738 Amstel House kitchen fireplace.
Educating the public about the brickmaking process of the 18th century, using bricks as building materials, and maintaining brick structures.
Engaging people of all ages – children, parents, and grandparents – with an interactive program.
Developing ongoing regional partnerships with businesses, schools, and historic sites.
For this project, we team up with the New Castle Historical Society in New Castle, DE. For more information, visit their website.
Supporting the Project
You can support the 18th Century Brickmaking Project by donating bricks for our kiln or through a monetary donation. We need about 1,500 bricks to build our kiln, and the bricks need to be of uniform size and shape but do not need to be of the same style or color. Acceptable bricks may be chipped or have other minor faults.
Financial support will be used to purchase supplies such as clay, wood, bricks, etc. for the project and to produce educational material for the public. The New Castle Historical Society and Newlin Grist Mill are both non-profit charitable organizations. Financial and in-kind donations to these organizations are tax-deductible. Please contact your tax advisor regarding the tax-deductibility of your donation. To arrange a donation to the project, please contact Newlin Grist Mill Executive Director Tony Shahan at 610.459.2359 or email@example.com.
Sponsors receive public recognition of their support through signage at the Newlin brickyard, in the newsletters and on the website of both the New Castle Historical Society and Newlin Grist Mill, and as a sponsor of the Fall Harvest Festival at Newlin Grist Mill. Complimentary admission tickets for both sites are also given.