He laid more than 136 bricks per minute. All day.

Posted by | May 7, 2013

Item 032596 in the collection of the West Virginia Historical Photographs Collection reads Testament to the Brick Laying Prowess of Thoney Pietro and appears to be a 1946 newspaper clipping, though its source is not identified in the collection.

“The life of Thoney Pietro has not always been that of a retired country gentleman; he has earned the right to retire by his own labors. He commenced his career as a common laborer, but he was never content with doing anything less than his best.

“A typical example of his physical strength and skill, as well as his desire to be the best at any job, occurred during September, 1900, when he was working as a bricklayer for James McAfee and Company, of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, who were engaged in a street paving project in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

Thoney Pietro Company Road Crew in Williamson WVPietro Company Road Crew at work in Williamson, W. Va., 1915

“The speed and skill with which young Pietro handled the paving bricks attracted the attention of his superintendent, a Mr.Ross, supt.of the work,who became so enthused over the young Italian’s prowess that he offered to bet $300.00 that Pietro could better the existing record for the number of bricks laid in a given time. The record was then held by an Irishman who had laid 806 square yards of brick in ten hours.

“Admirers of the Irishman quickly took the bet. So on a bright September morning in 1900, 0n 12th Avenue in Homestead, Pennsylvania, the contest was held. Eight hours and fifteen minutes later measurements disclosed that Pietro had established a new record and one which stands to this day – he had laid single handed a section of street 30 feet in width and 350 feet long- an amazing total of 1166 square yards of brick, 58 bricks per sq.yd., totaling 67,628 bricks or an average of more than 136 bricks per minute all day. The same bricks as he laid then are still in use 46 years later.”

One Response

  • Benjamin says:

    Does this section of road still exist? I travel through PA and it would be an interesting stop.

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