Clinker bricks or ‘clinkers’ are bricks that were left too long in the oven and burned. Brickyards considered these Clinker bricks to be defective because they were charred and misshapen and threw them out. The clinkers were discarded into large clinker piles. The name “clinker” comes from the unusual sound these bricks make when they are banged together. It is a high pitch sound *clink* or a *clang*.
These burned bricks have twisted and contorted shapes and volcanic textures. In the 1920s, the Arts and Crafts movement discovered a use for clinker bricks by incorporating them as decoration into normal brick patterns. Famous Los Angeles architects like Greene & Greene incorporated clinker bricks in their designs. The brick’s eccentric, irregular shapes and colors appealed to the Arts and Crafts aesthetic of things having imperfections, a hand made quality, and something that made each brick unique.
Today clinker brick buildings dot the los Angeles urban landscape. Miracle Mile, Hancock Park (especially on Rossmore), and Pasadena are great areas of the city to visit to see examples. Clinker bricks houses are treasured for their quirky and unique charm.
This picture shows a very volcanic looking brick clinker that is used in a house on Longwood Ave in Brookside to ornament the top of the front door arch.
Look at the interesting rough texture clinkers give this building when you look at it up close, they are jutting out in every direction, and give the feel that the building is a metamorphic rock.
This clinker wall is from a house on Rimpau Blvd in Windsor Village. Look at how some of these clinkers almost melted into glass they got so hot.
This Craftsman style house on S Hobart Blvd south of Beverly has great clinker brick columns in front.
and of course, the famous Fitzgerald house in West Adams designed by by Joseph Cather Newsom is another great Clinker.
Watch the video to listen to some clinking if you are curious what they sound like: