The Sayre & Fisher Company Role in the New Jersey Clay Industry
The S & F Company started as a producer of common brick, and this product was the mainstay of the company throughout its history. By 1867, the company added fire brick to its line of products. Within the next three decades, the company engaged in a great diversification of its output and produced a dazzling variety of types and styles of brick. This was made possible by an aggressive policy of acquiring clay deposits, which made available a broad range of prime clay types suitable for the manufacture of almost any type of brick. This availability of prime raw material combined with astute business management and transport capabilities made it possible for S & F to offer powerful competition to European imports.
In the 1800's, the United States was importing 99 percent of its highly prized enamel brick from England. The S & F Company capitalized on this situation and hired Fred Macarthy, an English immigrant who was an experienced brick maker. He was put in charge of a new enamel brick plant. Constructed to his design and operated to his specifications, this plant made a line of high-quality enamel bricks. Soon the company was supplying almost 99 percent of the enamel brick used in the U.S. The S & F line of products included pressed front brick (white, cream white, light and dark buff, mottled, old gold, gray, brown, light and salmon red), enamel brick in a variety of colors, durable common brick, firebrick, as well as a plethora of stylish decorative brick.
Architects the length of the East Coast sought S & F products for the construction of some of the most impressive buildings of the time. In late 19th-early 20th centuries, the company was one of the leading U.S. brick manufactures. In this capacity, S & F played a role in the national economy and made an important contribution to New Jersey's economy. After 120 years of producing brick, the company closed its doors in 1970. The enduring strength and beauty of the buildings created with bricks manufactured by the S & F Company have long outlasted the lives of their creators.