Finding Value in Clinkers

Clinkers are bricks that have been over-fired and have become misshapen. Clinker bricks used to be discarded by Edmonton brickyards but the owner of a hardware store saw value in them. In 1927 he used them to build his house.

James Rutherford built a house eight short blocks from where I live and it is one of the few remaining clinker-brick houses. The bricks became prized for their unique appearance which provides an uneven, textured surface

The James Rutherford residence is not to be confused with Alexander Rutherford’s much grander, but in some ways less interesting, house which is now a museum. James’s house is built in the Craftsman style with exposed rafter rails and an intersecting gable roof. It was built close to the property line so that when a fence was built it partly obscured the view of the long wall. In fact, I would not have noticed the house if it were not for a historical sign placed in front of the house by the city.

I am glad they did that because the house is certainly worth a second look. I am also pleased that it made me appreciate again the value in all things that are less-than-perfect.



  1. That is an interesting looking house and interesting about the clinker bricks which I have never heard of before so I presume it is not a term used for bricks in the UK. I say not known to be used for bricks as the only clinker word I know of is matted fur in an animal.

    • Oh, that is interesting, Gill. I didn’t know that matted fur was called a clinker. Now I’m going to have to find out more about the word!

      … and, it turns out that a clinker is also a wrong musical note!

    • I understood clinkers to be unburnable pieces left after a fire, maybe a coal fire in your stove or fireplace. Checking in Webster’s it says: a hard mass of fused stony matter formed in a furnace as from impurities in the coal..It also says: a very hard brick or (slang) a mistake or error, often a misplayed musical note.

    • Thank you so much for visiting the blog! I am so glad that you like this post about your house. It is a very interesting building with lots of history to it and I am pleased that it is so loved by its owners.

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