Surprisingly, it turns out that there are a large number of brick museums around the world. Yes, I did not make a reservation, namely – bricks! In most cases, antique bricks with factory marks on their surface are the subject of collection.
Almost from the very beginning of the industrial production of bricks, each factory affixed its mark on the brick, identifying the manufacturer. In the last years of Soviet power, bricks were mainly produced faceless, without the characteristic stigma of the manufacturer. It was impossible to determine by the brick of its specific manufacturer, the one who produces poor quality bricks. In the old days, the brand of the plant was a kind of “quality mark”, manufacturers were proud of it, they acted as a guarantor of their products.
A wide variety of all kinds of hallmarks were common in America. Most often, not just individual letters or words were used as hallmarks, but entire scenes from life depicted on the spoon side of the brick. At the same time, only one per 5000 manufactured bricks was stamped. Therefore, it is no coincidence that several brick museums operate in the USA. These museums are located in the state of New York in the cities of Haverstroe, Orchard Park and Johnson City, and they also have their Internet representations in the global network. The Regional Museum in Orchard Park focuses on the hallmarks of the brick factories that lined the Hudson Bay coast. The second museum in Haverstro belongs to the quite well-known American family Clement. The museum’s collection contains bricks from most of the brick factories in America. Thus, in 1995, a path of 12,000 branded bricks was laid near the museum, which is also a registered estate. One of the oldest brick museums in America is a museum located in Johnson City. For more than 30 years of its existence, it has collected a huge number of exhibits from various continents and produced in different centuries.
One of the most visited brick museums is the World Brick Museum, located in the city of Maizuru (Japan). It opened in 1993 and offers all its visitors an extensive exhibition of unique bricks from famous buildings located around the globe. The Maysur Museum is visited by more than ten thousand tourists every month. This museum presents bricks from the most popular and famous buildings in the world: from Greek temples, ancient Egyptian buildings, from Roman palaces. Not so long ago, the museum’s collection was replenished with 16 new exhibits, bricks from the famous buildings of Great Britain, which were pulled out of the walls of the Albert Hall, Scotland Yard, Covent Garden and the house located on Biker Street, where, according to the stories of Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes lived and worked. In the Japanese Museum, you can observe various brick buildings and structures of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Rome, South America on displays. A large number of photographs and drawings are presented, tracing the stages of development of brick production technology, techniques for making figured arches, as well as the construction of complex structures. The attitude of the public towards such an attitude of collectors to the famous brick buildings of the world is twofold, on the one hand, samples of bricks in museums can be stored for many years for our descendants, and on the other hand, violent indignation, since all historical buildings can simply be pulled apart brick by brick.
Hungary (in the city of Veszprem), Taiwan (in the Miaoli region), Austria (in the city of Vienna), Germany and other countries of the world have their own brick museums. In England (in Somerset) there is a museum of bricks and ceramic tiles.
In Russia, brick museums appeared from private collections after the collapse of the Soviet Union. One of the first Museums of the history of brick production was founded in 1991 in the city of St. Petersburg on the basis of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Architecture. Currently, this museum has more than 500 bricks. The oldest brick was made in the 9th century. The museum collection contains bricks from Pskov, Novgorod, Vyborg, from the oldest buildings in St. Petersburg: from the Church of the Savior for Spilled Blood, from the house of A.S. Pushkin, from the Mint, Admiralty. More than a hundred bricks with pre-revolutionary hallmarks of Russia are exhibited, as well as old and new bricks from Italy, England, Greece. The oldest exhibit is a brick from Pompeii (1st century AD)
In October 2002, another brick museum was opened on the territory of NPO Keramika in St. Petersburg. The vast majority of the exhibits in it are old bricks from the ancient buildings of St. Petersburg, as well as brick factories in Holland and Germany. The oldest exhibit dates back to 1703.
An interesting brick collection is in the funds of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore (Yekaterinburg, Russia), where you can find exhibits from the beginning of the 19th to the end of the 20th century. The basis of this collection is a brick with the hallmarks of brick factories in Vladivostok, Ulyanovsk and Ecate.