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Remembering the Ingram Plantation - Rural Shade, Navarro County, Texas

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Story of Bricks

Malakoff Brick Plant

"......But about the young man who knows bricks. He's T. A. Bartlett, Jr. general manager of the Malakoff Brick company. It used to be a unit of the Texas Clay Products company, with Bartlett, Sr. as the guiding spirit. Junior grew up right in the plant, almost, and has studied its product from the ground up -- and that's no play on words

It produces twenty-eight different shadws of face brick and has as many variety of shapes of fire brick -- dry pressed, or stiff mud, whichever you prefer. The shades of color in a face brick are the result of the ores you use in them and the degree of heat to which they are subjected in the baking.

And you've got to watch your heat and your colors. The latter is a give-away under certain conditions. A rose-pink tint to a cream brick means it hasn't been properly baked, and all of them must be thrown out. "Sweaty" brick in a nice cottage will ruin the cottage, and the young man who knows brick isn't permitting that kind to go out from his plant. He's serious about it, as you might easily learn.

And fire brick -- they must be accurate in dimensions, say 9 3/4 by 4 5/8 and to get them that way, you've got to figure out your shrinkage. When eight firebrick are laid in line, they must make seventy-two inches, with an allowance of only half and in in the "course."

This conscientious young brickmaker tries to live up to such requirements. He modestly tells you his is the only plant in the Southwest with a perimeter system and the thermo-couple installation -- which he himself put in -- for measuring heat to split degrees.

Young Mr. Bartlett knows his chemistry and his electricity he studied them both after he had received practical training working in the plant from the time he was a small boy until collegiate age. And talking with him, one wonders if, after all, that isn't the better way. So many collegians get their practical training afterward.

Right now Mr. Bartlett is sanguin over a big fire brick job for the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, which is putting a plant in Corpus Christi that will require that will require a quarter of a million. And that's nice business.....

....It's [Malakoff's] good water system is the outgrowth of the senior T. A. Bartlett's effort to suppoty his own needs when he first established here. He dug a well and got fine water, which he piped to a tank to provide a pressure system for his own home.

Pretty soon he hooked one neighbor's home on, then another, and before he knew it, he was in the water business, and has continued.

Perhaps if he hadn't Malakoff wouldn't be such a nice town. Who knows?...."

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Extracted from "Fine Towns in Two Counties Brought Nearer to Dallas by Newly Completed Highway 31", by Douglas Hawley, Staff Correspondent, Dallas Morning News, about October 5, 1935



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