« How to make everything yourself - online low-tech resources | Main | Cars: out of the way »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Carolyn Ritchie

There is a derelict huge brickworks kiln that looks like this Hoffman kiln in Newtown, Sydney, N.S.W. I saw it 4 months ago when I was down there visiting my daughter. I thought it would be a wonderful place for a potters' community facility. It had a separate building that could be used as a gallery. Imagine if possibly a govt.grant could be used to revive it, if not entirely as a working kiln, but as studio space, etc.

Nick Rouse

In Britain there are deposits of clay containing a small amount of oil. By use of a series of ovens arranged in a loop similar to the Hoffmann scheme it is possible to fire the bricks using no external fuel with the heat from the adjacent oven bringing each new batch up to the ignition temperature of the oil. This type of brick is called a Fletton or London brick and is still in wide spread production. It is estimated there are five million houses in Britain built of them.


(11:30am) Just discovered this site... Loving the details and pictures!

Morten Hagen

Thank you for this gold-mine of knowledge of brick-production. In Fredrikstad, Norway we are a small group digging out the remains of the last brickwork, planning to use the site for outdoor concerts and plays. During the winter we make fires and serve hot chocolate to strollers. At the moment the homepage is down, but try itlater www.ettertid.no og www.narnte.no

Ormond Otvos

We live a mile from the Richmond Brickworks, on the north San Francisco bay. Pretty spectacular. Excellent article, well written!

Jan Bösenberg

If you are in Berlin/Germany you can visit the "Ziegeleimuseum Glindow" (40km drive from Berlin) which has a working Hoffmann kiln. The have walk-throughs and since the kiln is still in use, you can get a nice feeling for the temperature in these places :-)


Liaquot Hossain

Can someone explain me the principle of coal firing from kiln top in a Hoffman kiln and the consequent dumper opening and closing orders and timings while the fire is moving inside the kiln loaded with green bricks @ 1.2 meter/hour. Any appropriate books that explains the above phenomenon in step by stem would also be helpful.

Liaquot Hossain,
Project Engineer,
Clean Energy Alternatives.


I wrote this page about the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln with some more information and videos:

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Let's build our own internet

News & Links


Fruit Walls

  • Fruit walls
  • Urban Farming in the 1600s
    From the 16th to the 20th century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

The Chinese Wheelbarrow

  • Chinese wheelbarrow
  • How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow
    For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This is especially true in the East, where it became a universal means of transportation for both passengers and goods, even over long distances.

Wood Gas Vehicles

  • Wood gas cars 2
  • Firewood in the Fuel Tank: Wood Gas Vehicles
    Wood gas cars are a not-so-elegant but surprisingly efficient and ecological alternative to their petrol (gasoline) cousins, whilst their range is comparable to that of electric cars.

Open Modular Hardware

  • Open modular hardware2
  • How to make everything ourselves: open modular hardware
    Consumer products based on an open modular system can foster rapid innovation, without the drawback of wasting energy and materials. The parts of an obsolete generation of products can be used to design the next generation, or something completely different.

Power from the Tap

  • Water motors
  • Power from the Tap: Water Motors
    Just before the arrival of electricity at the end of the 19th century, miniature water turbines were connected to the tap and could power any machine that is now driven by electricity.

Aerial Ropeways

Other Languages

  • Some articles have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. Find them here.