Brick Laying Jig
It all started after the completion of the concrete structure of an office building and parking lot at the corner
of Market and Nugget Streets in Johannesburg. We then began the brickwork, but two sides of the building were
right against the neighboring building, so we had to clad them completely for seven storey's.
At first it was fine - bricklaying is only physically demanding compared to say - carpentry. However, the sheer
monotony of doing the same thing over and over again drove me to think of something to break that
monotony. Whilst laying bricks I had an idea, the only difficulty was how to implement it. In the evening
I started drawing and sketching until I arrived at what I had envisioned.
Silvano Lencione, one of my colleagues, had just left the company F & C Construction to join his
father-in-law's business "The Gear Concern" and that helped me a great deal, also financially to get some
racks and pinions. A boiler maker that I knew named Castagno, who had previously made a mould
to build the concrete fence around my house in Germiston, assisted me further. He assembled a very
primordial car consisting of two G-clamps welded together, inserting a pinion with a shaft to be
connected to a rack fixed on a scaffolding pipe.
I could not think of any other innovation until I had tested it. A couple of months later in a shopping center, I
could prove the value of the system by laying 2800 bricks per day, all by myself for approximately two
weeks - I was 33 years old at the time!
Financial hard times and family problems forced me to stop the development of the system. I did however
continue to use it sporadically when the need arose. I was also in the process of developing the
imported "Foamcement" roof insulation, self-leveling screed and waterproofing. This bricklaying system was
probably a bit ahead of its time. I continued to believe in the system and gradually I developed the system
to what we have today. I could afford to register a patent on the system recently.