Bricks have been used in buildings for thousands of years. When a construction worker was recently working on a home renovation, he became interested in one brick in particular. The brick was stamped with information that allowed the man to trace it back to its origin. What he discovered about the brick was shocking enough, but then he learned that something amazing was inside it. Read on to see what was so special about this particular brick.
Transforming A Basement
Some home renovations are done out of necessity in order to repair something or to increase the safety and well-being of the residents. Other times, the homeowners simply want to revamp their living space by improving it aesthetically.
The latter was the case when Imgur user Daggerleep was hired to transform a basement into a wine cellar. The Canadian construction worker would be tackling a home renovation in Vancouver Island along with his boss. It was there that he discovered something that defied all odds.
They Worked With Reclaimed Bricks
Daggerleep titled his story on Imgur, “I found something neat.” The ambiguous title attracted other Imgur users who were drawn to the story. He went on to explain that he and his boss were building a wine cellar last summer when he stumbled upon a rare brick.
The wine cellar was made from sandstone and reclaimed brick, meaning that the bricks were not new but were being reused from older buildings. Daggerleep wondered where these reclaimed bricks had come from, and that’s when he noticed something.
The Bricks Were Stamped
As Daggerleep began taking a closer look at the vintage bricks he was working with, he noticed something that would be vital in figuring out where they were from. Symbols appeared on some of the bricks, meaning that they were stamped.
These markings are sometimes used on bricks to indicate what manufacturing company produced them. They appear on the flat side of the brick and face down so the markings are not visible after construction is complete.
Bricks Are An Ancient Material
The Vancouver Island homeowners had decided to use old bricks to achieve a rustic look in their wine cellar. While the choice may have been fueled by the look of the bricks, it ended up putting Daggerleep in a position to discover something amazing.
According to BrickArchitecture, bricks have been around since 7000 BC! As one of the oldest building materials on record, it’s fascinating to consider all of the places that any one brick could have been.
A Breakthrough In Brickmaking
Location played a role in where the earliest bricks could be made. Initially, they needed to dry in the heat of the sun, which meant that cooler climates weren’t appropriate for the material. Around 3,000 years after bricks were first created, Romans discovered how to make fired bricks.
This changed the game entirely, as they could now produce and use bricks in cooler climates around the world. The Romans popularized brickmaking throughout Europe, and the rest is history!
Bricks Make Their Way To America
When the colonists arrived in America, they brought the art of brickmaking with them, which had flourished in Europe throughout the medieval era. The first brick buildings in America appeared in Virginia around 1611.
Almost three hundred years later, the Industrial Revolution caused brick production to skyrocket. As such, bricks became commonplace in much of American architecture. Fun fact: 10 million bricks were used in the construction of the Empire State Building in New York!
Uncovering The History Of This Brick
Given the rich history of bricks and how they came to North America, it makes sense why Daggerleep was so eager to delve into the history of the bricks he was working with. Especially since all of the information he needed was right there in the stamp.
Fortunately, there are online resources that keep records of what different brick symbols mean. Daggerleep dove deep into the research to discover where these bricks were from and when they were made. For all he knew, they could be centuries old!
The Brick Dated Back 100 Years
Daggerleep was able to successfully locate the brick’s symbols through an online database. The stamp indicated that the brick had been made by the Illinois Brick Company, which became inactive back in 1938!
The company had opened in 1900, which meant that this particular brick had been around for approximately a century! Though he couldn’t pinpoint the exact building or buildings that this brick had been used in over the years, Daggerleep now knew how far it had traveled.
Even The Construction Worker Was Impressed
As a construction worker, Daggerleep had likely worked with bricks many times. So what made this one so special that he felt the urge to deep dive into its history? What he discovered next made it seem as though his piqued interest in this brick was destiny.
Daggerleep went on to discover much more than merely the brick’s history, although learning where it came from was fascinating in its own right. He wrote on Imgur that it was “quite impressive seeing as though the wine cellar is on Vancouver Island.”
Something Was Hidden In The Brick
Trying to wrap his mind around how this brick made it from the Midwest of America all the way up to an island in Canada, Daggerleep became even more dumbfounded when he discovered something inside of the brick.
Though the bricks had been made decades ago, they were presumed to be sturdy enough to still be used for building. However, a part of the brick broke off one day when Daggerleep had gone to grab it.
The End Of The Brick Fell Off
Though Daggerleep had already handled the old brick throughout his research, it wasn’t until later that it fell apart. There had been a crack in the brick that apparently ran much deeper than the construction worker initially realized.
He had casually gone to pick up the brick one day, and a large chunk at the end of it fell completely off. It was then that he saw that something had been inside this brick for quite some time.
An Old Key!
Inside the brick was an old key! Being that the key was inside the brick, it clearly had fallen into the brick while it was still wet. Whether the key fell into the brick after it was shaped or fell into the mixture before it was formed is not clear.
What we do know for sure is that someone, likely a manufacturer, had dropped their key in a place it wouldn’t be found… until now.
Speculating About The Key’s Origin
Being that it was inside a brick that had been made sometime in the early 1900s, the key had to have been about a century old, as well. Daggerleep joked on Imgur that it must have been “a poor factory worker’s house key.”
Just imagine working in a factory and losing your key one day. We suspect that the worker probably knew it was a goner the moment they lost it. He could have even watched his key fall into the brick mixture, knowing that there’d be no use digging for it once it got mixed in.
A Movie-Like Moment
Daggerleep joked that the moment was akin to the movie National Treasure. He wrote that the key either belonged to a factory worker or that “I am about to embark on an adventure as grand as National Treasure 2.”
Commenters echoed his humorous tone, writing things like “Looks like you’re keyed up for a mystery,” and “Now you MUST find the door that it opens.” Though finding the door would be more or less impossible, discovering an old-timey key like that is treasure enough.
Old Bricks Are A Popular Trend
One Imgur user commented on Daggerleep’s story, saying that he too worked on a cellar once for a client. Apparently, the man they worked for bought an entire building in Italy just to knock it down and use its bricks for his cellar in the United States.
Some people love history so much that they’re willing to go to great lengths for something they find fascinating. If you have the money, why not transport the parts of old building to a different continent?
The Brick Was From A Major Producer
One Imgur user commented that Chicago was a major producer of bricks at the time. They mentioned that the state was so well-known for manufacturing bricks that the product was sometimes called Chicago brick.
This detail certainly explains why the brick was produced in Illinois. Still, the odds of it popping up in a different country seem astounding. Not to mention how incredible it is that out of all the bricks Daggerleep could have picked, he chose the one with a key in it!
An Odds-Defying Discovery
One Imgur user commented on the story to say, “One must think about the probability of this happening. It’s quite amazing!” Indeed, when you consider all of the millions of bricks that have been produced in North America, it’s incredible this one practically fell right into Daggerleep’s lap.
Another commenter joked, “Not knowing what this key opens is going to bug me for the next… 2 minutes. Very cool post though.” We have to wonder if Daggerleep kept the key as a memento.