Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Bricks Works Storehouse – Brooklyn, New York - Atlas Obscura

Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Bricks Works Storehouse

The factory that helped produce a dominant form of lighting before Thomas Edison. 


It’s believed that this factory produced the United States’s first clay retorts and fire bricks. Clay retorts and fire bricks made it possible to use burning gas as a source of light. This was a novel idea in the mid-1800s, as before then, people relied on gas, candles, and oil lamps to stave off darkness.

Fire bricks serve as lining in heat-intensive environments such as kilns and furnaces, and clay retorts are the airtight vessels where coal is burned to produce gas.

The three-kiln factory, which began producing clay retorts and fire bricks in 1859, continued production until the early 1930s. It was later bought and restored by Greg O’Connell, a Red Hook developer. The space now houses the Carvart Glass Company, which creates architectural glass products for noteworthy New York City buildings.

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August 5, 2012

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