Conneaut Brick Works, 1899-1924

1898 - 1924

Brief History
by Raymond H. Welsh (2 July 1946)

With a capital stock of $100,000 the Harper-Norton Shale Brick Co. was incorporated in February 1899. Operations began in June of that year. The plant, located on the P. B. & L. E. railroad south of the New York Central arches, had a daily capacity of 50,000 common and 22,000 repressed bricks. The shale was crushed and conducted to a pug mill where it was "tempered" and then automatically conveyed to the brick machine where dies shaped the bricks at the rate of 77 per minute.

The bricks were cut, loaded onto small cars and run into drying tunnels where they were dried-by steam and in 24 hours were ready for the kilns.

Ten large down draft kilns were erected on the Bessemer sidings. This company changed hands several years later, becoming the Conneaut Brick Co. It finally discontinued entirely the manufacture of Conneaut bricks, and its ovens and buildings were dismantled and torn down.

A famous brick patent was developed by the late Frank B. Dunn. This was known as the Dunn Wire-cut Lug Brick.

Dunn's Wire Cut Lug Brick Co.
Conneaut News-Herald (11 December 1909)

Mr. Frank B. Dunn, of Conneaut, Ohio, who is visiting his brother-in-law, Wilbur E. Wilson, and family has invented a simple method of making a lug on a wire-cut brick, that promises to revolutionize the paving brick industry in this country. One of Mr. Dunn's machines has been recently installed in the Corry Brick & Tile Co.'s plant in this city, and works to perfection. For the information of those not familiar with the subject, it may be stated that for street paving it is desirable to leave a little space between the bricks in order that the filler may form a bond. This is accomplished by means of a couple of lugs or ribs on the side of the brick. Heretofore, in order to put a lug on the bricks it has been necessary to repress them, adding to the cost of production and not improving the quality, only in appearance. Mr. Dunn's invention, by a simple device, cuts the lugs on the brick in the first place, doing away with repressing.—Corry, Pa., Journal.

City Directories

Ashtabula and Conneaut Directory 1900-1901, p. 236
  • HARPER-NORTON SHALE BRICK CO., Hayward and Harper avs. Lewis Harper, pres.; H.L. Norton, vice-pres.; C.W. Norton, secy, and treas.
Ashtabula and Conneaut Directory 1902-1903, p. 54
  • HARPER-NORTON SHALE BRICK CO., Hayward and Harper avs, F B Dunn pres and genl mgr, F W Rose secy, O C Lillie treas
Ashtabula and Conneaut, Ohio, Directory, 1904
  • DUNN FRANK B (Maud), genl mgr Harper-Norton Shale Brick Co, h 309 Monroe
  • HARPER-NORTON SHALE BRICK CO., Hayward and Harper avs, E A Miller pres, F B Dunn vice-pres and genl mgr, H T Culp secy, O C Lillie treas
1906-1907 Vick's Standard Directory and Reference Book of Conneaut, North Conneaut, and East Conneaut, Ohio
  • United Brick Co The secy N C Ralph foot Marshall
R.L. Polk & Co.'s Conneaut Directory 1912, p. 420
  • UNITED BRICK CO THE, Foot Marshall
Atkinson Erie Directory Co.'s Conneaut Directory 1913-1914
  • United Brick Co The, L C Huff pres, J B Huff treas, G H Francis mgr, ft of Marshall
Conneaut City Directory 1917
  • Dunn Wire Lug Cut Brick Co, 315 Monroe
  • United Brick Co, brick manufr, ft Marshall
Conneaut City Directory 1920
  • Dunn Wire-Cut Lug Brick Co., 315 Monroe
  • United Brick Co., Ft. Marshall
1917-1923 Ashtabula County Classified Business Directory, p. 220
  • CONNEAUT-Dunn Wire Cut Brick Co., United Brick Co.


Ashtabula and Conneaut Directory 1900-1901
Ashtabula and Conneaut Directory 1902-1903
The American City, after 1915/16

Brick Varieties

Harper-Norton Shale Brick Company
(1898 - c. 1905)

The United Brick Company
(c. 1905 - c. 1924)

Paving Bricks

Dunn Patent

New York Central Lines Brick
After 1914

For a limited time, the New York Central Railroad Company had a line of bricks with their logo produced. Information is scarce concerning the dates of these bricks. The railroad's use of the bricks is also unknown. Collectors believe these bricks were made in Conneaut since this is where the majority are found. Many collectors have found the NYC bricks or fragments of the bricks in the ruins of the Conneaut brick works. This brick was retrieved from a local brick driveway

Uses for the Bricks

Madison Street, Conneaut, Ohio


Lake Shore and Michican Southern Railroad Depot
Built 1900
Now Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum

This picture was taken after the Conneaut Viaduct, spanning the Conneaut Creek Valley, opened in 1924. The Conneaut Viaduct is featured in the foreground; the old High Level trolley bridge in the middle ground; and the Nickel Plate Railroad bridge in the background. Just above the Nickel Plate Railroad bridge, one can see smoke billowing from the United Brick Company. The company closed soon afterward.