Frederick Brick Works, Inc. (FBW) was founded in March of 1891 and incorporated on April 2 of that same year under the leadership of D.C. Winebrener acting as president and John Baumgardner as general manager. It is with heavy heart to note that our past president and Chairman of the Board has recently passed away (Aug. ’13). He was the great-grandson of one of our original stockholders, C.C. Carty who owned a furniture and undertaking business on East Patrick Street here in Frederick.
With the demand for brick growing along the B & O Railroad from Washington, D.C. to the newly proposed town of Brunswick, the directors contracted to purchase and erect a brick plant at a cost of $13,500. The building of the new plant was reported as being slower and more expensive than anticipated, but that a premium product was being produced and was in high demand, the hard and dark “Frederick Reds”.
Bids for paving for Washington City and the Navy Department were out in the fall of 1892. In 1906, approximately 548,000 bricks were manufactured, compared to just three years later when 8,811,500 bricks were produced.
Moving into the 20th century, our first gasoline, automatic truck was purchased in 1918. At the peak of brick making operations, about 70 men were employed. In a letter sent to stockholders in 1931, it was stated that Frederick Brick Works, Inc. was “now carrying an extensive line of the best brands of building materials.”
In 1937, 74 new homes were constructed, 52 were brick of which 43 used “Frederick Reds”. In one of our advertising brochures from 1942, it was listed that there numerous projects using our “Frederick Reds”, 12 in Washington, D.C., six in Baltimore, six miscellaneous jobs and the Frederick High School, which required 1.2 million bricks.
Sadly, due to conditions beyond the company’s control, FBW decided on a temporary cessation of its manufacturing of brick officially on March 31, 1944. But when it was decided to resume the production of brick in the fall of 1946, too many problems were encountered and brick production was permanently discontinued in1947; poor labor conditions, smaller market for brick resulting is a loss of sales, obsolete equipment and serious deterioration of plant facilities during the two year enforced shutdown were the major reasons for the end of brick manufacturing.
Ground was broken in 1948 for a new warehouse and office due to record high sales and profits. The formal opening of the new display room and office was held on Dec. 6 and 7, 1950.
There were no major developments in the history of Frederick Brick Works over the next 30 years. Frederick’s first home show was held in the Armory in 1957, which FBW had a display. Air conditioning was installed during the summer of 1968. In September of 1977, FBW purchased and placed into operation the largest scales in the area.
In July 1983, FBW learned of a planned extension of East Street, which ultimately was the cause of our need to move to our current location on Monocacy Blvd. Also in April 1985, Frederick Brick Works was notified by the state that reconstruction of I-70 might involve the acquisition of some company property. A new phone system was installed in 1986 and a computer system was added in 1988.
Frederick Brick Works continually expands and condenses our product line to meet the needs of today’s building market. The building of our new facility has opened many opportunities, but has also presented many challenges in this demanding market. We look forward to another 100 years of excellent customer service.