Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hydraulic Stone & Brick

The early twentieth century introduced many new building materials to the architecture profession. New Orleans architects Andry & Bendernagel and Francis J. MacDonnell adopted some of these new materials in the construction of religious buildings.

For the Ursulines Convent (top image), Andry & Bendernagel employed durable press-bricks developed by the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company of St. Louis, Missouri.  The company opened branch offices in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Davenport, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, Toledo and Washington, D.C. It became especially renowned for its Hy-tex Brick, an affordable and durable face brick that was utilized on projects nationwide. Hy-tex was available in a wide variety of colors, textures and sizes and potential clients could select appropriate bricks in branch office "Exhibit Rooms" such as the one shown in the second image above.

For the St. Charles Avenue First Baptist Church (third image), Francis J. MacDonnell utilized the Ferguson System developed by the American Hydraulic Stone Company of Denver, Colorado. This was a two-piece system comprised of hollow concrete "stones" that could be fabricated on the building site with steel molds (bottom image). The company claimed that nine men working a ten-hour day could make the brick and assemble a one thousand square foot wall.

Images above:  First two:  Hydraulic Press-Brick Company. Genuine Economy in Home Building. St. Louis, MO, 1913.  Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive.

Second two: American Hydraulic Stone Company. Ferguson System Concrete Construction, Supplement to Catalog. Denver, CO. 1907. Martin Shepard Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive.

No comments: