Olive Hill Fire Brick Company

Industrial / Kentucky

The Olive Hill Fire Brick Company is a former brick factory along the Midland Trail in Olive Hill, Kentucky.

The plant was constructed by George Carlisle in 1895 and was the first fire brick plant in the Olive Hill District. 1 2 3 A mine was opened on Perry’s Branch and a narrow gauge railroad was built to haul to the clay to the plant. 3 In 1907, the “Burnt-House” mine opened, which was located about a mile north on Perry’s branch. 2 The fire clay, which won first place in the James Town Exposition of 1907, contained a solid bed of fire clay 27 feet thick.

The fire brick plant featured 24 round, down-draft twin kilns with capacities of 70,000 to 80,000 bricks each. 2 Four of the ovens were used for burning calcine and 20 were for burning bricks. It required seven days to burn a kiln of bricks, and four of those days were expected to get a kiln to good heat. Fire bricks were shipped to the Pittsburg iron and coke district and the Michigan and Birmingham iron districts. Others went to steam railroad locomotives.

In 1911, the Olive Hill Fire Brick Company merged with two other plants in Pennsylvania to form the General Refractories Company. 3

The introduction of oxygen-induction furnaces caused the demand of refractory brick to wane. The General Refractories plant at Olive Hill closed in 1971. 3

The facility was later reused in 1988 for the Consolidated Technology Corporation to build specialized air conditioning and heating systems. One unit provided heating and cooling in a down-flow configuration through floor ducting, an alternative to the electric furnace and central air systems that were used in manufactured houses. 6 The second unit provided increased energy efficiency with a self-contained heat pump that delivered heating and cooling through an up-flow configuration.

On April 1, 2000,6 the Friedrich Air Conditioning Company of San Antonio, Texas, acquired Consolidated. 4 Friedrich closed the Olive Hill plant in December 2002. 5

  1. Hoeing, J. B. “The Fire-Clays and Fire-Clay Industries of the Olive Hill and Ashland Districts of Eastern Kentucky.” Kentucky Geological Survey. Vol. 1. Frankfort: n.p., 1913. 593. Print.
  2. Hoeing, J. B. “Olive Hill Fire Brick Plant.” Kentucky Geological Survey. Vol. 1. Frankfort: n.p., 1913. 615-623. Print.
  3. “History of Olive Hill, Kentucky.” Olive Hill, Kentucky. N.p., 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. Article.
  4. “Friedrich Air Conditioning Co.” High Beam Research. N.p., 2000 May 30. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. Article.
  5. “Known Business/Industry Facility Closings In Kentucky January – December, 2003.” Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. 3, 10 May 2007. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. Article.
  6. “Friedrich Air Conditioning Co.” Industry Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. Article.