In 1972, Dudley Frame bought the company from a friend, and through sheer engineering know-how and streamlining of the process, he made a profit from the very first beginning. In April of 2012, Dudley Frame unexpectedly passed away, leaving his son's David and Scott to be Co-Presidents of the company. They have each now had over 40 years experience in the handmade brick business and continue Old Carolina's legacy of great service and beautiful handmade brick products.
OLD CAROLINA® BRICK COMPANY
The driving force behind the success of Old Carolina® Brick Company was Dudley P. Frame. He graduated with a degree in Ceramic Engineering from Ohio State University in 1942, went to work for Harrop Kiln Services, and joined the Army Corps of Engineers at the outbreak of WWII and saw action through out Africa and Europe.
Upon the end of the war, he returned to Columbus, Ohio to again work for Harrop in the design and construction of kilns and brick plants around the world. He was building a sanitary ware plant in Attalla, Alabama in the late 1940's, when he met and married the local beauty, Katherine Cole and they moved back to Columbus, where they had 2 boys, Scott and David.
Katherine always wanted to move south, so in the mid 1950's they moved to Salisbury, NC where Dudley worked for Miller Equipment Company again designing and building kilns and brick plants. But Katherine still wanted to return to her roots in Alabama, so in 1963, they sold their NC house and bought a small, extruded brick plant in Piedmont, Alabama and moved in with Katherine's mother.
The idea of making genuine handmade brick was actually conceived by Ladd Johnson, a friend of Dudley's in Salisbury. He actually built the original plant in 1968 using imported Dutch forming and handling equipment with a Harrop tunnel kiln. However he was unable to make a success of it and in 1972, Dudley Frame bought the company from him and through sheer engineering know-how and streamlining of the process, he made a profit from the very first.
In the meantime, both sons, Scott and David, went to Clemson University, where they graduated with degrees in Ceramic Engineering. David went on to initially work for the legendary Pete Knox of Merry Brothers Brick (later to become Boral) and Scott went to work for Swindell-Dressler, designing and building automatic coal and wood combustion systems for brick tunnel kilns.
Over the intervening years, many improvements and modernizations were added to the plant. These included the addition of a unique monorail packaging system, which actually straps the cube half-way up and then pushes it back onto the monorail for completion of the package, with a final band around the whole stack thus making a super tight pack.
And, due to rising demand and the need for more production efficiency, additional process and engineering improvements were added to allow about a 4 fold production increase, up to the current capacity of about 10 million brick and shapes per year.
Both of the sons were enticed to return to the family business in the early 1980's and they installed a coal processing and burning system, which saved thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the years.
Later a 5th dryer tunnel of unique design was added, as well as a 10,000 square foot shapes making room, since special shapes and custom made brick were becoming a much more important part of the business. And, in the 2000's, an additional 20,000 square foot extension was added to the plant for more storage of dried brick for weekend loading of the kiln.
In April of 2012, Dudley Frame unexpectedly died of a brain aneurism, leaving David and Scott to be Co-Presidents of the company. They have each now had over 40 years experience in the handmade brick business and are extremely well equipped to continue Old Carolina's legacy of great service and beautiful handmade brick products.
HANDMADE BRICK HISTORY
The history of making brick by hand can be traced back thousands of years to the early Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations where clay from the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates and Nile Rivers were formed by hand and left to dry in the sun. Later, in about the third millennium BC, the brick makers discovered that heat applied to the bricks would greatly increase their durability and be much more resistant to cold and wet weather conditions. This enabled the construction of permanent buildings where harsh, cold and wet conditions prevented the use of earlier mud brick. The early field kilns were fired with either wood or coal.
The Romans used fired brick and they introduced their brick making technology to many parts of their empire, including Europe and Britain. Later, during the colonization of America, the ships bringing settlers often held handmade brick as ballast in their holds.
The art of making brick by hand was brought from England and Holland to the American colonies by craftsmen who would set up a brick making operation at each construction site. They would gather the local clay and throw clumps of it into their set of wooden moulds, which they carried from job to job. After sun drying, the brick were stacked into piles or field kilns and fired with either wood or coal, which imparted unique colorations to the brick surfaces.
Old Carolina® Brick has preserved this ancient art of making brick by hand. Although our operation is modernized and automated, we have kept the process of throwing the clay by hand into wooden moulds. Our skilled mud throwers form a clump of clay into a wedge shape, roll it in sand, and drop it into a wooden mold. This hand moulding operation imparts distinctive folds, finger marks and other surface irregularities which make each brick individually and uniquely characterized.
Colonial brick makers used a batch firing process which made control of quality and brick durability rather difficult. After the forming operation, Old Carolina® brick are fired with clean, efficient natural gas in a modern tunnel kiln to assure a consistent high quality and structurally durable brick. Old Carolina® brick have the same warm and earthy colors found in brick made hundreds of years ago.
After firing, Old Carolina® brick are then blended and packaged on a modern monorail into our unique double pack cube. This type of package, which uses extra strapping half way up the cube, insures the brick arrive at the job in perfect condition. From the clay mining to final shipping of the brick, full quality control measures are used in our plant operations to achieve a beautiful, durable, and well blended brick in the wall.
We offer a full line of shapes and pavers, as well as arches of all types. And we offer expertise in matching any brick in size, color and texture to those in numerous historical sites. Please advise us of the type brick and desired quantity or send us a photo or sample of the brick to be matched and we will be glad to offer a matching brick.