Within These Walls: This Oklahoma man treasures one of the largest brick collections in the U.S.

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TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- He is a man who will, literally, walk through a brick wall to get to the right kind of brick.

Clem Reinkemeyer started collecting these building blocks when someone showed him why bricks are always make a certain size.

"Bricks are a size that's convenient for your hand," he explains.

As a construction engineer he thought one way about bricks.

But after a a little digging he began to appreciate their history, dating clear back to the Roman Empire.

Reinkemeyer points to a triangular brick in a glass case.

"It's interesting," he says. "That's the way they made them."

His collection numbers more than ten thousand one of a kind bricks organized alphabetically by state and country of origin.

Brick by brick, these walls can really talk.

Clem says, "Before the railroads were built all over, every town had a brick maker."

"How many different bricks from Oklahoma are there," asks a visitor to Clem's collection?

"Probably a hundred," estimates Reinkemeyer.

He's been on brick hunts all over the world, turned over thousands looking for markings that tell where they're made and when.

A lot of bricks don't have any markings on them.

Those 'vanilla' bricks make for good patio floors or garden bed borders.

Clem's most prized bricks might contain rare mistakes, or they were signed in some way.

This one from a 1908 prison carries a message from an inmate.

He reads from marks scratched in the side, "James Carr serving life. Ohio State Prison."

Reinkemeyer built this collection through search and trade but not purchase.

Members of the International Brick Collectors Association refuse to attach monetary value to their hobby.

After all, they are bricks, heavy and mostly plentiful.

"I talked to another collector," he explains. "And they said, 'you are just getting started and it's going to get away from you so be sure to have plenty of room."

For more information on the International Brick Collectors Association go to www.internationalbrickcollectorsassociation.com

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