I have been sourcing vintages bricks for years (to be used in my restoration work on Victorian and Edwardian brick homes), and even though I have been successful enough at it, it is tedious and difficult every time I manage to do it, predominantly due to the insurance regulations and time constraints imposed on demolition companies; who consequently prefer throwing old, precious, salvageable bricks away (more precisely, in Ontario Lake in Toronto!) In this day and age of green consciousness and recycling, this practice does not seem sensible to me.
Using modern bricks to restore heritage buildings with, in my opinion, generally looks too incongruent to yield a harmonious result when mixed with vintage bricks, largely due to modern manufacturing processes which can’t replicate the firing process of times gone by, due to liabilities inherent with the inconsistent strength across batches which would ensue.
So I’m taking steps in an attempt to get a by-law enacted in my city, which would force land developers and demolition companies to offer the bricks for auction to the highest bidder; and only throw them away when there is no buyer.
If you share a passion for vintage brickwork, and think this would be a good idea in your area, contact your city councilor — whatever town you live in — and suggest it to her. It's a long shot, I know, but can’t hurt.
Toronto residents: www.invisibletuckpointing.com
For anyone else: www.brickworkpreservation.com