Boston Brick & Stone September 2018


2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 | | September 2018


E ver since humans discovered the power of fire, we’ve needed ways to contain it. This need led to the advent of the hearth — a place where people could safely keep a fire burning in homes and communities. It was the ancient Greeks who first developed a way to centrally heat a home. The Romans then took this technology and advanced it with the development of the hypocaust — a space beneath the floor where hot air could be circulated and pushed from one area of a building to another. Historians discovered that the development of the chimney occurred sometime in the 11th century, when many structures in northern Europe started to include a chimneys. Through archaeological studies, historians saw the construction of chimneys change from cumbersome and inefficient stone structures to more efficient and compact structures, thanks to advancements in brick. In 1742, there was a major leap forward with the invention of the Franklin Stove, a creation of Benjamin Franklin. He tasked himself with developing a fireplace that was more fuel- and heat-efficient. In the end, his stove was able to output twice the heat while using a third less wood over other types of stoves.

Unfortunately, the Franklin stove wasn’t popular. It didn’t offer a very good draft, and the temperature had to be consistently high in order to operate properly. This required a lot of work on the part of the homeowner. As a result, very few were sold. However, many other inventors improved upon the Franklin stove model. One inventor, David Rittenhouse, helped make the most improvements to the stove, including the L-shaped chimney. It was only after these improvements had been developed that people started buying the stove. In the late 1700s, Count Rumford (also known as Sir Benjamin Thompson, an American-born, British loyalist inventor), spent a significant part of his career studying heat. This led to him advancing the fireplace as it existed in the 1700s. One of Count Rumford’s improvements was placing the sides of the firebox at a sharper angle in order to reflect more heat into the room. This alteration and many others were adopted by home builders across Europe, eventually becoming a standard of the time. In the 1950s, Robert K. Thulman invented and patented the triple-wall chimney system. This was a pipe made of thin metal that was easy to manufacture, making fireplaces much more economical. It was also around this time that central heating furnaces were becoming popular, which meant that people no longer needed fireplaces to heat their homes. Instead, the modern fireplace became more of a decoration. Though heating the home is no longer the primary purpose of a fireplace, who can deny the warm comfort of a flickering fire? Plus, with so many material types available — from stone and tile to brick and hardwood — homeowners can create a fireplace that captures their sense of style. The options are truly extraordinary. As an added benefit, we now have the technology and capability to repair and restore the fireplaces of years past. Why lose a piece of history when we can restore it to its former glory? That’s what we do at Boston Brick & Stone. The fireplace and the chimney have come a long way, and we’re here to see them through to the next generation!

-Dave Laverdiere

A Franklin stove |


Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Delivery Trucks Are Driving Into the Future

Spending Millions to Build Autonomous Vehicles

The trailblazer of futuristic American TV shows, “The Jetsons” first aired in September 1962. Set a whole century in the future in 2062, this show offered viewers a compelling and desirable image of everyday life in the 21st century. The characters interacted with robots that cleaned their house, selected their clothes, and even styled their hair, but the automation that viewers tend to remember most is George Jetson’s flying car. While we may still be another century away from flying to work, companies are making a lot of headway when it comes to automotive automation.

“Thanks to Boston Brick & Stone's EXCELLENT inspections of the chimney, fireplace, and the foundation, I was able to make an informed decision about a home purchase. The pictures and diagrams included in my report spoke a thousand words and, literally, may have saved my life.” – D.B. Rock-Solid Reviews deficit reached 48,000 drivers and may grow to 175,000 in the next six years. Should autonomous technology continue to advance, that deficit may exponentially decrease. And as with other AI inventions — such as Pizza Hut’s and Walmart’s replacement of human employees with robots — the utilization of autonomous delivery trucks will not only increase the efficiency of getting customers their products, but it will also cut down businesses’ spending costs, which in turn lowers prices for customers. So while we may not be able to ride as stylishly as George Jetson for a few more decades, when it comes to building a flying car, these new trucks are definitely a driving force. marked highways with no variables — jaywalking pedestrians, four-way stops, or kids on bikes, for example — it has no trouble navigating. The driver just engages the software and lets the computer do the rest. While these delivery trucks have a lot of benefits, many people are worried that this invention could put a lot of drivers out of work. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. According to the American Trucking Association, the U.S. has a staggering shortage of drivers. In 2015, the

In 2016, Uber partnered with Otto to build the first autonomous delivery truck. The truck, outfitted with $30,000 of additional hardware and software, transported 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer for 120 miles from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The trip’s success sparked an innovation wildfire, inspiring companies like Starship Technology, Nuro, Robomart, Alibaba, and Boxbot to spend millions and even billions of dollars to build their own autonomous delivery trucks. The Otto technology used within these trucks is unique in that it offers true Level 4 autonomy, meaning that as long as the vehicle stays on well-


•Inspection •Restoration and repair •Construction •Sweeping


•Inspection, restoration, or repair of an existing structure •Installation or reconstruction of new structures


•Backyard patios •Outdoor kitchens and barbecues •Outdoor steps, walkways, and paths •Retaining walls •Outdoor fireplaces •Driveways

HISTORICAL RESTORATION Our previous restoration work includes the following:

•Restoration of the main lobby chimney system of the El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim •Repair and restoration of chimneys in 56 original historic cabins on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim •Historical chimney restoration for the lodge in Bryce Canyon National Park •Faithful restoration of the chimneys on the Nottingham and Arden properties in Beverly Hills


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Bringing a Fireplace Back to Life

Is your fireplace no longer looking its best? Over time, fireplace structures can deteriorate. In older homes and buildings, it’s not uncommon for fireplaces to require restoration or total replacement.

Here are a few of the fireplace reconstruction projects we handle:

• Installing new or reclaimed brickwork and stone around the fireplace • Raised hearth reconstruction

Rebuilding a fireplace can add years, if not decades, of life to the structure. On top of that, it ensures its safety for future use.

• Smoke chamber and firebox reconstruction • Mantel and fireplace surround reconstruction • Fireplace insert reconstruction • Revitalizing deteriorating fireplaces

Reconstructing a fireplace to ensure its integrity should be left to a trusted professional who understands how fireplaces are built.

Every homeowner deserves a fireplace that is structurally sound, completely safe, and aesthetically pleasing. Designing a fireplace takes more skill than most other home improvement projects, especially in regard to reconstruction or restoration. When it comes to bringing any home’s fireplace back to life, Boston Brick & Stone is the go-to for homeowners throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.

Fireplaces need to be built with specific materials able to withstand high temperatures and function properly to prevent fire hazards.

Beyond the practical use, a fireplace should also serve as a beautiful focal point of a room.

At Boston Brick & Stone, our knowledge of appropriate materials, safety codes, and construction standards is one of the many reasons our clients trust us to rebuild their fireplaces. We are known for the quality of our work and the professionalism of our staff.


Inside-Out Grilled Ham and Cheese Want to take your grilled cheese game to the next level? This recipe calls for cheese both inside and outside the sandwich, adding a crispy crunch to the grilled cheese experience. It’s a quick, delicious weekday dinner option the whole family will love.


• 8 slices of bread (Pullman works best) • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano- Reggiano)

• 8 ounces ham, thinly sliced • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard • 1/4 cup apricot preserves


1. Butter each slice of bread on the outsides and sprinkle with Parmesan. 2. Layer ham and cheese evenly on top of 4 slices of bread. 3. Spread apricot preserves and mustard across the other 4 slices. Press sandwiches together. 4. In a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium heat, grill sandwiches until golden, about 3 minutes per side. 5. Cut in half and serve.

Inspired by

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2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 |


page 1

The Storied History of the Chimney

page 2

Autonomous Trucks Help Curb Driver Deficit

page 2

Rock-Solid Reviews

page 3

Restoring the Light in Your Life

page 3

Inside-Out Grilled Ham and Cheese

page 4

Pigs to the Rescue

That’ll Do,

Her house was ablaze, and her room was quickly turning into an oven. But thanks to Lucky, she was able to grab her two grandchildren, escape from the house, and call the fire department to stifle the blaze before it took down the entire property. Lucky isn’t the only hog to have saved the day. Jo Ann and Jack Altsman adopted Lulu the pot-bellied pig after baby-sitting her for their daughter. Lulu grew to be great pals with Bear, the family’s American Eskimo dog. When Jo Ann suffered a heart attack while her husband was away on a fishing trip and no one else was around, Bear and Lulu teamed up to rescue their beloved owner. Sensing something was up, Bear barked furiously to get the attention of Lulu, who was out in the yard. Though she’d never come into the house from the yard before, she crammed her bulk through the much-too-small doggie door. In the process, she scraped her belly badly, drawing blood, but she pressed on in order to check on Jo Ann. Realizing that something was seriously wrong, she slammed back through the doggie door and scrambled out into the road, where she lay down. Lulu eventually convinced one conscientious motorist to slow down and see what the commotion was about. He found Jo Ann unconscious in her home and quickly dialed 911. Though Lulu wasn’t allowed in the ambulance, her owner was rescued and recovered after an intense open-heart surgery. And, of course, Lulu got patched up too!

More and more Americans are keeping pigs as pets than ever before. With their keen intelligence, laid-back amiability, goofy snorts, and, of course, their stubby little legs, it’s no surprise that people take to these plump, fuzzy animals. And here’s an extra bonus: Apparently, they also save lives! Take the aptly-named Lucky, for example. When Illinois resident Ina Farler woke up to the frantic porcine screams of her best friend, she knew something was up. “He would jump down, run to the door, and then jump back on the bed and hit me really hard,” she told Chicago 5 News. “When I sat up, I realized the room was really smoky.” Oinkers That Saved Their Owners’ Bacon Pig


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Published by The Newsletter Pro •

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