THIS MONTH'S FEATURED QUESTION ABOUT NEW JERSEY HISTORY



Dear NJHM:

I am looking for a little bit of Milltown History. I work in a building in Milltown NJ and am told that the buildings are over 100 years old. At any rate they are tearing one of the huge buildings down and I am trying to find info on the company that supplied the bricks. Each brick is individually stamped "S & F Co." If you have any info on this company or where I can go to find the info I would be very grateful. Thanks for your help in this matter.

G




Dear G:

Finally, a question we don't have to go nuts researching! We know this one! The S & F stood for the Sayre & Fisher Brick Company that was located in Sayreville, New Jersey. Now for a little history. The area along the Raritan River was famous in the 1800's for its clay that was used for pottery and bricks, as well as many other products. By 1878, there were eight Raritan River brickyards turning out 54,000,000 bricks annually. The largest of these was the Sayre & Fisher works founded in 1850 by James Sayre of Newark, and Peter Fisher of New York. Soon, they owned 2,000 acres of prime clay beds in the vicinity, and the town changed its name from Wood's Landing (named after an earlier brick maker) to Sayreville.

Sayre & Fisher continued to grow and expand its market. By 1913, they were turning out 178,000,000 bricks per year! When the company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1950, it estimated that they had made 6,250,000,000 bricks, enough to build over 400,000 modern homes. The Sayre & Fisher Brick Company continued to turn out bricks in Sayreville until the 1960's, when the plant was closed. You can still see some of the brick "company houses" built for employees along Main Street in Sayreville, and one of the smokestacks still stands in front of the Winding River Development where the plant was located.

Since the company was in business for so many years, it would be difficult to determine the age of a building using them. Also, since so many were manufactured, I don't believe they have any substantial value. I found a few on the beaches along the Raritan Bay that I still have. For more information, you may want to contact the Sayreville Historical Society. They are located near the old brick works on Main Street, and are open on Sunday afternoons. Hope this helps, and let us know if we can be of any further help.

 

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