Used Metrpolitan Brick accents in this historic tavern add authenticity. (more pictures)
For a polished look, with all the historic character you’d expect from historic brick pavers, choose our reclaimed Metropolitan bricks. Originally created by the Ohio-based Metropolitan Paving Brick Co., these street pavers became one of the go-to paving materials for dozens of North American cities.
Our salvaged Metropolitan bricks have very flat tops and defined edges, creating a cleaner, less rustic look than other old materials. Their consistent size adds to their polished appearance and allows you to create unique patio or landscape designs, such as a herringbone pattern. Another unique feature of Metropolitan bricks is their color: They tend to be browner and less red than other brick pavers.
Our historic Metropolitan bricks originate from Canton, Ohio, but their legacy extends far beyond the Buckeye State. By 1911, the Metropolitan Paving Brick Co. had supplied enough paving material to 200 cities across North America to build a road 25 feet wide from Chicago to New York — a distance of nearly 800 miles.
Formed in 1902 by the merger of the Imperial Shale Paving Brick Co. and the Royal Brick Co., Metropolitan quickly became one of the leading producers of street pavers in the world. Within a decade, its four colossal plants were churning out over 500,000 bricks a day, and its materials were being used for paving and construction projects from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from Canada to the Gulf.
The company spared no expense to achieve a superior product, ensuring its historic bricks would hold up for generations. According to a 1911 industry journal, its plants represented $2 million of investment in machinery, equipment and processes, equivalent to more than $50 million today. With 600 employees, Metropolitan shipped more than 100 million street pavers and blocks annually — one eighth of all brick production in the United States.
From the raw shale it used to the innovative production techniques it developed, Metropolitan gained a reputation for top-quality pavers.
At each plant, a 125-ton steam shovel scooped shale from 25-40 feet below ground. “Starting at the bottom of the shale bank, the strong arm of the machine shoves the shovel up through the tough shale, biting its way to the top, catching in its cavernous jaws with each two trips sufficient material to make a thousand bricks,” an industry journal described.
From there, the shale mixture was crushed into a powder. Quality control was paramount at every step, so any coarse portions found at this stage were sent back to be ground again. Next, the powder was mixed in a process “that resembles the kneading of dough,” forced into columns and sliced into bricks or blocks. Afterward, the bricks spent two days in the drier, followed by a week in the kiln, the temperature increasing gradually along the way.
Throughout the process, “special machinery is used in this company’s factories, which is said to have no equal in the brick making world in point of strength and compactness, and in producing uniformity of product.” Today, that attention to detail and quality benefits you when you choose our salvaged Metropolitan bricks for your patio, landscaping or driveway.