Sears and The Wizard Block-Making Machine

In the early years of the 20th Century, cement was all the rage. And the idea of making your own cinder blocks (for fun and profit) apparently also became quite popular. The back pages of the 1905 issues of American Carpenter and Builder (a building magazine from that era) were filled with advertisements for block-making machines and cement-stirring machines.

Sears offered the Wizard Block Making machine which retailed for $57.50 (a bargain at twice the price!). And Sears suggested that a man could save a lot of money on building a new home if he made his own blocks. Now if a man devoted himself to making nothing but blocks and if a man had someone else preparing the cement for pouring, he could make about one every two minutes. To do this, the poured cement was loaded into a form, pressed down in this contraption and then removed. The form was not removed until the concrete had hardened a bit. That meant if you were serious about making blocks, you had to have several forms on hand.

The ad below suggests that the block could be removed immediately from the form. I’d love to know if that was accurate. Having never made a block in the Sears Roebuck Wizard Block Making Machine, I can’t say for sure.

Sears estimated that 1,300 blocks were needed for the basement of The Chelsea (one of their kit homes). The Chelsea was a modest foursquare on a short cellar. It’d be safe to assume that a Chelsea made of nothing but block would require more than 4,000 blocks. If you devoted yourself to the creation of those blocks and really hustled, you’d need about 17 eight-hour days to do nothing but work like a dog making blocks and setting forms in the sun and breaking open the forms and placing the forms back into the machine. And that’s if he had someone else preparing the cement. That’s a lot of work.

When I give talks on Sears Homes, I get a surprising number of questions about the Wizard Block Making Machine. Apparently this labor-intensive, cinder-block maker was quite a popular item for Sears.

Close-up of The Wizard

Close-up of The Wizard

The Wizard Block Making Machine from an early 1900s Sears specialty catalogue

In what looks like a backwards evolution graphic, a man demonstrates how to use the easy-to-use Wizard block-making machine.

In what looks like a backwards evolution graphic, a man demonstrates how to use the "easy-to-use" Wizard block-making machine.


  1. Mary Boehme

    My great grandfather bought one of these block makers and built a cottage in Westbrook, Ct.

    For the masonry, he used the sand from the beach! He started building it in 1909 and completed it in 1912, and more tha 100 years later, our family cottage is still standing!

    I was so excited to see the machine that made all the blocks. His great great granddaughter calls the structure ” The Bunker.”

    Thank you for your article. I have always heard stories of this block maker!

  2. patricia gray


    I am trying to tell if a historic block garage we own is a kit from Sears or just made independently by the owners and a wizard block maker. It is documented on the Sanbourne insurance maps in 1893.


  3. Ron

    I’m looking for one of the Sears Wizard Concrete Block Machines to purchase.

    If anyone knows of one (any condition) or the Plates for one, please let me know. Thanks!

  4. Joe Bullard

    I have a Wizard concrete block machine and the way you increased production was to have numerous bottoms, I have some 70 or so.

    You make a block, and use fairly stiff concrete, then open the machine and take the block and the bottom (cast iron) out of the machine, and set aside.

    You can continue to make blocks as long as you have another bottom form.

    By using different front plates you can make block that have a chiseled rock look, and then every so often you have to use a matching end plate for you corner blocks.

    I understand there were more than one face and end plates, one had lines that gave a more brick look.

    You mention you would have to run 8 hours per day for o many days, let me tell you, you had better eat a very hardy breakfast each day.

    It is past a normal workload. Hopes this helps.

  5. Kate

    Can anyone tell me the value of the wizard block machine if you where going to buy one now?

    I don’t want to over pay for one. I want to buy one for my husband as a surprise.

    Thanks in advance.

  6. Sarah

    We are not necessarily looking to buy a block machine, but if anyone has plates from these old machines, we might be interested in purchasing most plate designs.

  7. Bill Meyer

    I have a block machine that is for sale my uncle passed and it is my aunt’s now he had told me be fore that it should bring $1500. not sure.
    my email is

  8. Mario

    @Bill Meyer
    Got a pic

  9. Damon Chepren

    I’ve seen a couple of old comments left at this site about a wizard block machine for sale.

    I’m sure the listed machines are sold, but if anyone knows where I could find a machine, even in poor condition, I am definitely in the market for one.

    I’m in the process of renovating a 1925 bungalow and I would like to replace missing blocks and rebuild the detached garage.

  10. mario

    Hi, I just got another Wizard block-making machine. I would like to send you a picture of this newest acquisition!

  11. mike c

    Can someone help me find out what my sears concrete machinery is worth?

    Thank you!!

  12. David


    I’m looking for the Sears Wizard Concrete Block Machines– to buy. I would like to build a house by making my own blocks; if anyone has one or knows of one, please let me know.

    Thanks, David

  13. David

    @mike c
    Do you have one to sell?

  14. David

    Mario, do you have a wizard block maker? if so, are you interested in selling it?

  15. Dave V

    I have a Wizard machine for sale. It has been in the family for at least 90 years. Grandpa had it on the farm in Ohio and it travelled to Colo. in the 40’s. It is complete with 64 plates, brick face and rock face plates, 1/2 block divider, tamp and filler guide. Asking $1500 complete. Email me @ “” for pictures.

  16. Brody

    We have an old block home in Ohio, and we are looking for a few 20-inch by 8-inch blocks.

    If anyone has some for sale, or even the mold used to make them, please let us know.