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LOCAL INDUSTRIES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2456, 2 July 1890
KOLMAR BRICK AND PIPE WORKS.
[by our own reporter.] In the young colonies of the Pacific, towns make progress so rapidly that affairs of even five years ago are matters of history. Specially so is this the case m a town like Ashburton, which, only twelve or thirteen years since, was little more than a patch of native tussock, surrounded by large tracts of land similarly covered. Thirteen years ago, Ashburton town and county seemed to have a bright future before them. The agricultural land, still unbroken and innocent of tillage, was rapidly going into the hands of men who either meant to make homes upon it for themselves and those dependent upon them, or to hold it until other men m want of land," on which to settle with the saane. object m view, should come along to buy at an enhanced figure. It was m 1878 that a land ''boom" ensued m Canterbury which, although for a time it let loose much money m the district and enriched many people, brought ruin to some and disaster to many more. Thereare meninthe county now who, although they have weathered the storm raised by the reaction that followed the "boom," are still suffering from the financial crippling they received during that time of reckless peculation, when men —wild with an earth-hunger : that, could not be satisfied, and frenzied with a thirst for speculation that was. only intensified and not assuaged by every fresh transaction—rushed to the crowded auction rooms, and,bought land at prices far beyond the power of the soil to recoup. Men who had by hard toil earned the capital they invested, who knew land ! when they saw it, and could judge of its fertility—such men, m cases where they had sense not to be carried away by the prevailing panic, and paid only a reasonable figure for the land, m the market, had every chance to do well.: Buying only enough to be worked by themselves, they started m > true colonial pioneer style; building, often with their own hands, the rude whares m which they and their little families lived for a time, they practised economies of all sorts. An immense sum of money accrued to the Road Boards m the county from subsidies granted by Government out of the sale of Crown lands, and this money was devoted to the making of roads, and works of a like nature, throughout the country. Contracts for these works were taken by many of those who are now among our. most stable farmers, and from the money so earned numbers were able to add a few more acres to their holdings, and to improve their farms by the erection of buildings and the execution of permanent jWtirks. But there were others who, with no practical knowledge of farming, no experience whatever of land or the capabilities of soil, rushed to the . auction rooms, bought madly and badly, "improved," not wisely but too well j and, when the time came for reckoning results, found that their ledgers did not tally to please their bankers. Then followed the usual trouWe, and the land passed into the hands of other proprietors, sometimes without any " V.R. " announcement preliminary to an interview with Judge Ward; as often with 'an appeal to that officer to settle all-creditors' claims with a dash of his pen. How much m the pound that dash represented—lo, is it not written m the records of the Bankruptcy Court? Roughly, the above' is an outline of how the county was settled. The question was simply one of the man lasting: through who best knew his business, and who realised most clearly that wealth could not be reached with a hop, step and jump—that, to be successful as a fanner on the Canterbury Plains 'wanted both the will and the ability to work, and .that agricultural knowledge! must be m • the brain of the possessor of a "Farmers' Dictionary," as well as within the boards of the manual. But for all this the county was settled With a great rush, and the town rose up with a most astonishing rapidity. The rush of farmers to the land necessarily drew on a rush of town business. Houses went up, almost m. a night like Jonah's gourd, and many of them m the early time were let before the piles were laid. Then was the builders' harvest: then was the demand for building material that has never since been equalled ; and then itwwains—m 1877 —that Mr Stephen Potter saw an opening for the establishment of a brick kiln. He was not the only one who ventured brick making ; but he is the only one now engaged m, the work m the county if we bar the private kiln on the Longbeach estate, managed by Mr Hillyer. The industry is one deserving notice,' and we can hardly realise that one of such importance to townsman and, farmer alike has remained for sq long unnoticed, at least to any extent, by either local or -metropolitan press. The Kolmar Brick and Pipe Works are situated on the North-east Town Belt, and are the property of Messrs Friedlander Bros. They were started m 18.7.7 by Mr Stephen Potter, their present manager, on his own account. He was then working a kiln of the old Scotch fashion, but the then requirements of the district were such as to indicate to the managers of the now defunct Company of Montgomery and Co., that a brick kiln of greatly enlarged capacity would be necessary if the loc^l demand was to be supplied from a local 'source. They bought out Mr Potter, who became their manager-, a.n.4 bought over his plant froni hja own section of land to that of the Company, which adjoined. When Montgomery and Co. wound up, Messrs Friedlander Bros, bought the whole of their Ashburton business, including the brick field, Mr Potter st^ll remaining m charge, There, a,re, not many men m the Qolqny with th.c experience m his particular line that Mr Potter possesses, Trained m Staffordshire, that great pottery county, and working for the best part of his early manhood m Lancashire, he is acquainted with all the processes m brick, pipe, and tile work, whether m red ware, glazed, or fire clay. THE KLIN. The kiln is the second that, Jims, been, built on the site it now occupies,. The first was an oblong sfewjoture, adopted contrary to Mr Potter's advice, and, proving unsatisfactory, was pulled down. The present one is circular m form, and m the new well known German principle —a vast improvement on the old. process. By the German kiln the,r©, is, no, waste of heat, and a ve;;y much increased output of bricks or, other red ware is rendered possible, with the minimum consumption of fuel. This circular kjjn was built by Mr Potter himself, with the aid of the lads employed, and is of twelve "chambers," with a total burning capacity of 60,000 or 70,000 bricks, For years the attention of the proprietors was almost wholly de^ot-ed to the manufacture of bricks, b# a.s the farmers of the county troubled with wet land, began. tQ $ttct themselves financially able r,ttwn,p.t draining, a demand sprang up for red-ware drain pipes, and this demand Kolsiar pipe works set about supplying. At the present moment throe or four of the chambers of the kiln are full of 3-inch drain pipes, ready for burning, while lo.Bg lines of newly moulded pipes of similar calibre are laid out m the sheds undergoing the drying process by atmospheric influence fit for the kiln. THB YARD, The yard is qn a block of fourteen j acres, covering a stratum of clay admir-1 ably suited for the, purposes of the works.
In fact, a considerable area of the land m the immediate vicinity has good brickmakiiur day quite near the surface ; but the actual working yard is only bix acres m extent—that is, only six acres are utilised. The clay is "got" at present between the mill race and the kiln, and m the "clay hole" the depth of the stratum is at once seen, a face of six or seven feet presenting itself to the visitor. The situation of the yard is such that on all sides water is available for tempering the clay, and several natural gullies and small creeks running through the land provide a natural drainage system for the clay holes. The raw material, after tempering, is carrier? on plankways to the "pug" mills, and thence to the brick moulders, who have their benches m the oxtreme corners of the extensive . DRYING BHHDB; There are benches for four moulders, and the sheds are large enough to store for drying all the bricks and pipes- the moulders could' possibly turn out between "firings." The sheds are on either side of the kiln, and are m two sets of three: In length they run to 170 feet per shed by 17 feet wide, so that it will be seen there is plenty of ground roofed, m from the weather. PIPE MAKING. Of rocent years the making of red ware drain pipes has become a specialty at the Kolmar, and perfect machinery for the purpose has been eet up. "Dies" are there, capable of turning out pipes of almont any size, from a 2-inch to a 12-inch calibre, and m lengths from twelve inches up to two feet. Farmers who havd, been heard to growl about "sending money out of the place" have now no reason for complaint, when pipes equal m quality to any shown at the Christchurch show m November last'—as the writer can bear testimony —' are offered- for sale at about the same price per thousand as bricks. At least £2 17s 6d was quoted by Mr Potter for 12-inch pipes of 12-inch lengths. Elbows, junctions, [ bends* etc., for facilitating laying* are also > made* so that a' farmer can lay down his own system of drainage with the ordinary labor strength on his farnv Chimney,. pots of various kinds are also produced; and all sorts of rough red pottery. Even rustic firm vases for lawm and garden have been demanded and made -at the works," along with paving tiles for. .dairy floors, i baker's ovens, etc., and the sample of the [ latter shown by Mr Potter are a credit to him. The larger sized pipes, asr indeed all the ware turned out, are of superior quality indeed,' fchanks to the (excellent ; clay got from the land and the good workmanship of its manipulators. The 1 demand for both bricks and pipes it would J be a pleasure to see increased, so that the moulders should be always busy and the tall 70-feet chimney stalk of the kiln only cease smoking to admit of the chambers being emptied and refilled. The long stalk is a sort of landmark as it is to travellers, but it wonld be doubly so Were its black throat always busy.
LOCAL INDUSTRIES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2456, 2 July 1890
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