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Fired Up for Savannah Grey Bricks: Savannah Tech's Experiment in Creating Bricks the Historic Way

Kiln and "green" (wet) Lebanon bricks.

The historic preservation program at Savannah Technical College teaches students both academic and the hands-on techniques to create and restore historic structures. This week, department head Benjamin Curran and his students have been camped at Lebanon Plantation, just outside of Savannah.

“We’re in the middle of a bunch of fields that are surrounded on either side by organic turmeric and ginger that have just been planted and a ton of couple of hundred year old pecan trees and some old farm buildings, a grain silo and all sorts of interesting structures,” Curran said, setting the scene as a student split firewood nearby. “And behind me we’ve got what may very well be the first clamp kiln built in Georgia in upwards of 100 years.”

Students are learning first-hand how to make Savannah Grey bricks from scratch.

“A clamp kiln specifically is used for cooking bricks,” Curran explained. “So my students and I have fabricated upwards of 500 handmade bricks and then we build a kiln of those bricks. Typically you’ll have   an existing kiln and you’ll put things in it, but this kiln is made of that which is ultimately the byproduct: cooked bricks. So we make these bricks and we build a box and we build a fire underneath the box and then magical things happen and at the end of four days and two thousand degrees of fiery inferno, we get ourselves some Savannah Greys.”

Hear more of our conversation in the audio link below, and click here to see more pictures.

Click here to learn more about the Historic Preservation program at Savannah Technical College.