New construction or old, nothing grabs attention like a home with a brick exterior.
Forever a favored building material for both aesthetic and structural reasons, a brick home remains the envy of many home buyers.
There are many different styles of brick. Roman, Tapestry, and Norman bricks challenged the color, size, and texture standards of traditional brick masonry in the early 1900’s. Arguably the most unique brick is the clinker brick, once regarded as a mistake.
What are clinker brinks?
Described by Allison Meier in her 2015 blog article…“With twisted, charred shapes distended in chaotic lines, clinker brick looks like the deranged work of a madman.”
The “clinker” name comes from the ringing sound made as wet bricks unintentionally get too close to the coal-fired kiln flames and fuse together. These bricks often warp and twist together in a hodgepodge of colors, shapes, and textures.
Not often looking like bricks at all, the misshapen pieces are most often accents built into exterior walls, foundations, chimneys, even interior fireplaces. Less common are entire buildings made of clinkers.
Can you still buy clinker bricks?
Salvage companies might be your best source for unique bricks of all kinds, but the rare commodity will come with a price. Only a handful of companies in the US have attempted to reproduce clinkers.
As described by John Gavin of Gavin Historical Bricks in Iowa City (Old-House Journal, May 2006), the process to manufacture a ‘mistake’ is ironically expensive and extremely labor intensive requiring special, slow-baking, beehive kilns to be coal-fired for weeks at a time at temperatures of 1,850 degrees. <https://www.historicalbricks.com>
Walking tours with clinker and other brick homes in Omaha?
The best selection for homes in Omaha with clinker brick exteriors can be found in the Country Club, Happy Hollow, and Twin Ridge/Morton Meadows neighborhoods.
A moderate morning stroll would begin at Metcalf Park northbound on Country Club Ave. The homes west of 52 Ave to 56 St south of Maple street are a perfect example of brick home varieties in Omaha.
The Prairie Style Roman brick (my second fav) is scattered throughout various District 66/Westside neighborhoods. Look for ranch homes on large lots found in the Loveland and Longview neighborhoods south of Westside High School