Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Brick Works Storehouse

The only designated landmark in Red Hook.

Historians believe that this factory produced the first clay retorts and fire bricks in the United States starting in 1859.

76 Van Dyke Street

Clay retorts and fire bricks were essential in allowing gas to burn as a light source, a new innovation in the mid-1800s. Prior to gas, candles and oil lamps were the only artificial light sources.

Fire bricks are used to line heat-intensive environments like kilns and furnaces. Clay retorts are airtight vessels used for burning coal to produce gas. The factory originally had three kilns, with chimneys rising from the south end of the building.

The factory produced fire clay products until the early 1930s. The next tenant was the American Molasses Company. After a vacancy in the mid-1980s, Red Hook developer Greg O'Connell bought and restored the building. He got the building landmarked. As of August 2022, this is the only landmarked building in Red Hook.

There's much more detail in the Landmark designation (see Related Resources for link).


Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Bricks Works Storehouse

Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Bricks Works Storehouse

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