The reversing of letters on Nelsonville Blocks is rare, but only in relation to the millions of blocks that were made over the course of several decades.  In my searches I have found several.  I have seen examples at the two brick swaps I have attended and I have seen several photos online.

This is my example – the N’s and the S are reversed.


I thought there may be more of a story to so many bricks with “errors” so I contacted Ralph Boll who coordinates the Nelsonville Brick Festival and this is what he shared.

There is some evidence that the consistent misspellings seen in bricks from that period has to do with “piece work” that is most brick works were set up on foreman crews working in groups. For example Bob Smith is a foreman and has 6 men on his crew Bob is paid on the number of finished bricks his crew produces each week. With all crews using the same kilns and the same work area it is not practical to keep the bricks separated in the drying rooms and in the kilns. So each foreman would have a unique marking ( a spelling or reversed letter sequence or a lug style) so that at the end of the process a count could be made of the total bricks that successfully made it to the shipping stacks for delivery that week. This allowed the foremen to get his crew to produce more products and earn bonuses as well as pay for his crew. I hope this helps I have been looking for pay and tally sheets so that we may be able to identify bricks as to the people that actually made a brick.