Land Acquisition and Growth
Xerxes Price produced pottery in Sayreville from 1802 to 1830 (Sayreville Historical Society, 1976: 1,22). In the 1840's, Price's pottery works was purchased by James Wood. Wood began to acquire land for clay mining and brick manufacture, and with time the area began to be referred to as Wood's Landing. Wood built a wharf for shipping, a small brickyard, and four kilns. His operation used a single molding machine. In 1850, James Sayre and Peter Fisher purchased 24 acres of land adjacent to Wood's and formed S & F Company. As Wood's brickworks declined, S & F began to dominate the brick industry in the area and soon bought out Wood's operation. In 1858, S & F began construction of another common brick yard. This same year Robert Serviss (whose company became Tuttle and Serviss) began to produce common brick near the S & F Brickworks. Their operation was abandoned in 1871, and the land purchased by William Fisher (the twin brother of Peter) in 1877, when it became the William Fisher Company (Clayton, 1882: 860; Musser, 1988: 4 -9). The booming brick industry attracted numerous immigrants for work in the local yards and docks. This economic development contributed to the establishment of the Township of Sayreville in 1876 (Sayreville Historical Society, 1976: 1). An 1876 map depicts the S & F factory with brickyards, clay/drying sheds, and docks. By 1878, there were eight commercial brickyards on the Raritan River. However, S & F was by far the most productive (Cunningham, 1954: 99).
In 1878, S & F was producing 22 million bricks a year. By 1882, S & F had five yards, 21 kilns, and 200 employees (Karcher, 1947). In 1887, the S & F Company was incorporated with a capitalization of $200,000, later increased to $300,000. By 1895, the basic layout of the brickworks was completed (see S&F Views). S& F also built a central power station. The company continued construction of new brickyards and land acquisition. By 1905, the S & F brickworks included 13 brickyards and extended for about 2 miles along the south and east margins of the Roundabout (Sayreville Historical Society, 1976.: 22-23). In 1909, S & F acquired the William Fisher Company (Karcher, 1953:93). By 1912, the company held title to approximately 2,000 acres (Karcher 1953:4). By the 1920's S & F Company owned 5.5 miles along the Raritan and South Rivers and on Washington Canal (most of this land contained clay pits and clay deposits) and at the peak of its operation employed 1,700 men (Wall and Pickersgill, 1921: 470).