Tom’s Raritan River Railroad Page




Forgotten History

of the

Raritan River Railroad


Forgotten traces of the RRRR as seen in aerial maps from the late 1920s


Philadelphia & Boston Face Brick Company

J.C.Appleby Sand and Clay Company


Version 1.0



East Brunswick between Harts Lane (Wood Road) and Ryders Lane.

Late 1920s as compared to 2002


The Philadelphia & Boston Face Brick Company and the J.C. Appleby Sand and Clay Company were both located in East Brunswick between Harts Lane and Ryders Lane in the early 1900s.  This area of East Brunswick, as well as South River and Sayreville, were full of Sand and Clay companies that the little Raritan River Railroad served in its early years.  Many of these sand and clay pits were mined locally, and shipped to companies like Whiteheads or Sayre and Fischer for processing or as raw materials for the bricks that were made.  Most of these companies closed down after the depression of the 1930s.



Official Raritan River Railroad Map 1915

From the Bob Kipp Collection of Maps.

Oriented to match the photograph below.





Aerial Photograph from 1930?

Shows Ryders Lane on left and Sand and clay companies in East Brunswick.



Aerial photograph from 2002

There are no traces of these Sand and Clay companies as developments and industries have completely changed the landscape in East Brunswick today.




Philadelphia & Boston Face Brick Company



Advertisement from 1902 for the Philadelphia and Boston Face Brick Company.





This helps explain what these companies produced.  The raw materials of sand and clay would have been mined in East Brunswick would have used to produce the ornamental brick for these fireplaces.  According to History of the Clay working industry in the United States, By Heinrich Ries, Henry Leighton, “Pressed and ornamental brick manufacture was begun at Boston in 1888 by the Philadelphia and Boston Face Brick Company, using red burning clays from Maine, but brining buff and cream burning clays from New Jersey”.  This might actually imply that the clays and sand that were mined in East Brunswick during this period would have been shipped to Boston for final processing.


According to an article from the New York Times archive, the Phila & Boston Face Brick Co. was in receivership by 1903.

I have seen other advertisements from 1906, so it would seem that the company did continue operations until sometime in the future when ultimately they stopped operations.  The Philadelphia and Boston Face Brick Company shows up in the time tables as a stop until September 1939.



J.C. Appleby Sand and Clay Company


The J.C. Appleby Sand and Clay Co. was a small sand company just north of the Philadelphia and Boston Face Brick Co.  They also had a small siding on the Raritan River Railroad.  They are reported to have minded “Glass Sand”, which is a special type of sand that is suitable for glassmaking because of its high silica, but low iron oxide, chromium, and cobalt, and other materials that could color the glass.  Of all the states that mined glass sand in 1906, New Jersey was number 6 on the list with a total of 36,000 tons, Pennsylvania was first on the list with 360,000 tons.


Sand that is to be used for glass is first sent to scrubbers where any clay materials would be removed.  (Funny how right next door at P&B, they wanted the clay materials, and probably removed the sand.)  Eventually water gets mixed back in, and the Silica Dioxide can be separated from the other contaminating metals in the mix.  Eventually the sand would be dried in the sun, and then loaded for shipment, and possibly re-dried one it arrived at a glass making plant.


There is the siding noted on the map from 1915, as well as the plant pictures form the aerial photograph from 1930.  There is no way to tell if the plant is still active in the 1930 photograph, although.  It is believed, by me, that the plant was long gone before this photograph was taken in 1930.


On the following “Conductors Cypher Code for Stations” which was included in the Timetable from 1915, only the Philadelphia and Boston Face Brick Company is listed as a stop.  Infact it doesn’t show up on any of the timetables I have from 1912-1941.  This might imply that Appleby’s had just started production in 1915, and then ceased operations very quickly afterwards.  So they show up on the map because the spur is still connected, but if they weren’t an active customer, they wouldn’t show up in the timetable. 




From the July 16, 1915 Time Table




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