The historical past of brick making

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Man has used brick for constructing function for 1000’s of years. Bricks date again to 4000 BC, which makes them one of many oldest identified constructing supplies. They’re such a standard a part of the constructed surroundings round us, so be part of me in discovering the fascinating historical past behind this constructing block of society. 

A brick is a kind of block used to construct partitions, pavements and different parts in masonry development. Correctly, the time period brick denotes a block composed of dried clay, however is now additionally used informally to indicate different chemically cured development blocks. Bricks will be joined utilizing mortar, adhesives or by interlocking them. Fired bricks are one of many longest-lasting and strongest constructing supplies, generally known as synthetic stone, and have been used since circa 4000 BC. Air-dried bricks, often known as mudbricks, have a historical past older than fired bricks, and have an extra ingredient of a mechanical binder akin to straw.

The Historical past of Bricks

They have been found in southern Turkey on the web site of an historic settlement across the metropolis of Jericho. The primary bricks, made in areas with heat climates, have been mud bricks dried within the solar for hardening. Historic Egyptian bricks have been manufactured from clay blended with straw. The proof of this may be seen in the present day at ruins of Harappa Buhen and Mohenjo-daro. Work on the tomb partitions of Thebes painting Egyptian slaves mixing, tempering and carrying clay for the solar dried bricks. The best breakthrough got here with the invention of fired brick in about 3,500 Bc. From this second on, bricks may very well be made with out the warmth of solar and shortly grew to become widespread in cooler climates. The earliest fired bricks appeared in Neolithic China round 4400 BC at Chengtoushan, a walled settlement of the Daxi tradition. These bricks have been manufactured from crimson clay, fired on all sides to above 600 °C, and used as flooring for homes. By the Qujialing interval (3300 BC), fired bricks have been getting used to pave roads and as constructing foundations at Chengtoushan. The carpenter’s guide Yingzao Fashi, printed in 1103 on the time of theSong dynasty described the brick making course of andglazingtechniques then in use. Utilizing the Seventeenth-century encyclopaedic textual content Tiangong Kaiwu, historian Timothy Brook outlined the brick manufacturing technique of Ming Dynasty China:

…the kilnmaster needed to be sure that the temperature contained in the kiln stayed at a degree that brought on the clay to shimmer with the color of molten gold or silver. He additionally needed to know when to quench the kiln with water in order to supply the floor glaze. To nameless labourers fell the much less expert phases of brick manufacturing: mixing clay and water, driving oxen over the combination to trample it right into a thick paste, scooping the paste into standardised wood frames (to supply a brick roughly 42 cm lengthy, 20 cm vast, and 10 cm thick), smoothing the surfaces with a wire-strung bow, eradicating them from the frames, printing the fronts and backs with stamps that indicated the place the bricks got here from and who made them, loading the kilns with gasoline (likelier wooden than coal), stacking the bricks within the kiln, eradicating them to chill whereas the kilns have been nonetheless scorching, and bundling them into pallets for transportation. It was scorching, filthy work.


The Romans most popular to make their bricks in spring, then they saved them for 2 years earlier than promoting or utilizing them. They solely used white or crimson clay to fabricate bricks. The Romans succeeded in introducing fired bricks to the complete nation because of cell kilns. These have been bricks stamped with the mark of the legion who supervised the brick manufacturing. Roman bricks differed in measurement and form from different historic bricks as they have been extra generally spherical, sq., rectangular, triangular and rectangular. The kiln fired bricks measured 1 or 2 Roman toes by 1 Roman foot, and generally as much as 3 Roman toes with bigger ones. The Romans used brick for private and non-private buildings over the complete Roman empire. They constructed partitions, forts, cultural centre, vaults, arches and faces of their aqueducts. The Herculaneum gate of Pompeii  and the baths of Caracalla in Rome are examples of Roman brick buildings.

Throughout the Early Center Ages the usage of bricks in development grew to become widespread in Northern Europe, after being launched there from Northern-Western Italy. An impartial fashion of brick structure, referred to as brick Gothic (much like Gothic structure) flourished in locations that lacked indigenous sources of rocks. Examples of this architectural fashion will be present in modern-day Denmark, Germany, Poland, and Kaliningrad (former East Prussia). This fashion developed into Brick Renaissance because the stylistic adjustments related to the Italian Renaissance unfold to northern Europe, resulting in the adoption of Renaissance parts into brick constructing. A transparent distinction between the 2 types solely developed on the transition to Baroque structure. In Lübeck, for instance, Brick Renaissance is clearly recognisable in buildings outfitted with terracotta reliefs by the artist Statius von Düren. 

Lengthy-distance bulk transport of bricks and different development tools remained prohibitively costly till the event of contemporary transportation infrastructure, with the development of canals, roads, and railways. Manufacturing of bricks elevated massively with the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the rise in manufacturing facility constructing in England. For causes of pace and financial system, bricks have been more and more most popular as constructing materials to stone, even in areas the place the stone was available. It was presently in London that shiny crimson brick was chosen for development to make the buildings extra seen within the heavy fog and to assist forestall visitors accidents. Pink brick grew to become a regular constructing materials in areas the place it was not crimson clay that was pure within the earth. In opposition, in locations like India and Pakistan, crimson bricks are widespread as a result of they clay there’s pure crimson. There are nonetheless brick makers in these areas which are making them by hand, part of an extended custom of development and structure Tarth has fashioned a lot of the construct surroundings in South Asia. 

The transition from the normal methodology of manufacturing referred to as hand-moulding to a mechanised type of mass-production slowly occurred in the course of the first half of the nineteenth century. Probably the primary profitable brick-making machine was patented by Henry Clayton, employed on the Atlas Works in Middlesex, England, in 1855, and was able to producing as much as 25,000 bricks day by day with minimal supervision. His mechanical equipment quickly achieved widespread consideration after it was adopted to be used by the South Japanese Railway Firm for brick-making at their manufacturing facility close to Folkestone.  The Bradley & Craven Ltd ‘Stiff-Plastic Brickmaking Machine’ was patented in 1853, apparently predating Clayton. Bradley & Craven went on to be a dominant producer of brickmaking equipment. Predating each Clayton and Bradley & Craven Ltd. nevertheless was the brick making machine patented by Richard A. Ver Valen of Haverstraw, New York, in 1852. Just like many different innovations, there isn’t essentially one clear inventor, as there have been many individuals innovating within the subject across the similar time, along side advances in know-how. 

The three Brick Making Strategies 

1. Molding 

These bricks begin with uncooked clay, ideally in a combination with 25–30% sand to cut back shrinkage. The clay is first floor and blended with water to the specified consistency. The clay is then pressed into metal moulds with a hydraulic press. The formed clay is then fired (“burned”) at 900–1000 °C to realize power. This course of may also be carried out by hand in lots of instances. 

2. Extruding 

For extruded bricks the clay is blended with 10–15% water (stiff extrusion) or 20–25% water (gentle extrusion) in a pugmill. This combination is pressured by means of a die to create an extended cable of fabric of the specified width and depth. This mass is then lower into bricks of the specified size by a wall of wires. Most structural bricks are made by this methodology because it produces exhausting, dense bricks, and appropriate dies can produce perforations as properly. The introduction of such holes reduces the quantity of clay wanted, and therefore the associated fee. Hole bricks are lighter and simpler to deal with, and have completely different thermal properties from strong bricks. The lower bricks are hardened by drying for 20 to 40 hours at 50 to 150 °C earlier than being fired. The warmth for drying is commonly waste warmth from the kiln.

3. Dry Urgent 

The dry-press methodology is much like the soft-mud moulded methodology, however begins with a a lot thicker clay combine, so it varieties extra correct, sharper-edged bricks. The better power in urgent and the longer burn make this methodology dearer. This course of contains drying the clay in a drum-drier for about 10 to fifteen minutes, then utilizing a crusher to grind it into powder, after which, lastly, placing it right into a toggle press to make the completed bricks.


5 Kinds of Supplies Used for Bricks 

1.Burnt Clay Bricks 

Burnt clay bricks are the basic type of brick, created by urgent moist clay into molds, then drying and firing in kilns. It is a very outdated constructing materials, and located in lots of the historic buildings of the world. In look, these bricks are strong blocks of hardened clay, normally reddish in coloration. Burnt clay bricks are sometimes offered in 4 courses, with first-class providing the very best quality and most power. These high-grade burnt clay bricks don’t have any noticeable flaws and naturally price greater than decrease courses. When burnt clay bricks are utilized in partitions, they require plastering or rendering with mortar. Makes use of for burnt clay bricks embody masonry partitions, foundations, and columns.


2. Engineering Bricks 

Engineering bricks are used primarily in civil tasks the place power and resilience towards the weather are important. They’re clay-based and will be blended with many different supplies. What units engineering bricks other than different varieties is their excessive sturdiness: They’re fired at excessively excessive temperatures to supply a brick as exhausting as iron. In addition they have very low porosity and are utilized in locations like sewers, retaining partitions, manholes, foundational work, and underground tunnels, the place resistance to water and frost is essential.5 They arrive in two courses, A and B, with A providing larger compression power and decrease water absorption for the hardest circumstances.

3. Concrete Bricks 

Concrete bricks are constituted of strong concrete poured into molds. They’re historically utilized in inside brickwork, however are extra continuously being utilized in exterior work, akin to facades and fences, to supply a contemporary or city aesthetic. Concrete bricks will be manufactured in several colours if pigments are added throughout manufacturing. Because of their sturdiness, concrete bricks can be utilized in nearly any sort of development, besides underground, since they are typically porous.

4. Sand Lime Bricks 

Sand lime bricks (often known as calcium silicate bricks) are made by mixing sand, fly ash, and lime. Pigments might also be added for coloration. The combination is then molded underneath stress to type bricks. Sand lime bricks are usually not fired in kilns in the identical method as burnt clay bricks; as a substitute, the supplies bond collectively by a chemical response that happens because the moist bricks dry underneath warmth and stress. Sand lime bricks are most frequently utilized in structural foundations and partitions, uncovered brick and pillars, and, when pigment is added, for decorative makes use of.

5. Fly Ash Clay Bricks 

These clay bricks are manufactured with clay and fly ash—a byproduct of coal burning—fired at about 1,832°F. This kind of brick is usually described as self-cementing, because it comprises a excessive quantity of calcium oxide and subsequently expands when uncovered to moisture. This tendency to increase, nevertheless, may also produce pop-out failure. Fly ash clay brick has the benefit of being lighter in weight than clay or concrete brick.


Well-known Buildings across the World Made in Brick 

Unquestionably, we now have come a really great distance from that period of mud sun-dried bricks. Now, designers and designers are difficult in design contests utilizing clay bricks one in every of their foremost medium and taking it to completely new heights. Proof are these astoundingly fantastic well-known buildings made with bricks, let’s discover them, in addition to a few of the unimaginable brick buildings from historical past. 

1. Nationwide Meeting Constructing, Dhaka 

Modernist structure is historically understood to be utilitarian, modern, and most of all with out context, such that it may be positioned in any context and nonetheless keep true to aesthetic rules and its practical necessities. Nevertheless, Louis Kahn’s Nationwide Meeting Constructing of Bangladesh in Dhaka is a unprecedented instance of contemporary structure being transcribed as part of Bangali vernacular structure. The Nationwide Meeting constructing, accomplished in 1982, stands as one in every of Kahn’s most distinguished works, but in addition as a symbolic monument to the federal government of Bangladesh. It’s wonderful to see this mix of types and strategies of constriction, leading to one thing distinctive and delightful. The Nationwide Meeting Constructing was conceptually conceived in 1959 by the federal government of Pakistan as an extension to their parliamentary headquarters.  It wasn’t till 1962 that Louis Kahn was commissioned to design the governmental headquarters. Nevertheless, in March of 1971 development was halted as Bangladesh had declared independence from Pakistan.  Initially, Kahn had meant to make a constructing of monumental presence, however after Bangladesh had formally broke from Pakistani rule in December of 1971 the undertaking grew to become far more of an emblem of democracy and pleasure for the Bangali folks.  The constructing was lastly accomplished in 1982 at greater than double the preliminary estimated price for completion at $32 million.


2. St Anne’s Church, Lithuania 

This intricate and delightful instance of brickwork is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius’ Previous City, on the proper financial institution of the Vilnia River established circa 1495–1500. It’s a distinguished instance of each Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic types. St. Anne’s is a distinguished landmark within the Previous City of Vilnius that enabled the district to be included within the record of UNESCO World Heritage websites, and is without doubt one of the most fascinating examples of Gothic structure in Lithuania. The current brick church was constructed on the initiative of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander I Jagiellon in 1495–1500; the outside of the church has remained nearly unchanged since then.

3. Puni Distillery, Italy 

Puni is without doubt one of the first and the one whiskey distillery situated in Italy. What makes this distillery distinctive is that it retains its barrels inside outdated navy bunkers. The constructing is a reminiscent crimson brick dice deliberate and designed by the South Tyrolean architect Werner Scholl. Impressed by conventional farmhouse structure, the brick-red checkerboard exterior partitions are hanging and look quite a bit like a glowing lantern. And sure, all the majority of the manufacturing of whiskey occurs beneath these brick formations.

4. Tate Fashionable, England 

Opened in 2016, the brand new wing of the Tate Fashionable is designed by Herzog & de Meuron. This construction presents a hanging mixture of the uncooked and the refined and stands as a robust illustration of the 21st-century structure. The façade of this new wing makes use of brick to match the floor of the present construction and creates one thing fully new – i.e. A Perforated Brick Lattice that permits the inside lights to glow within the night.

The previous Bankside Energy Station was chosen as the brand new gallery web site in 1994. The next yr, Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron have been appointed to transform the constructing right into a gallery. That their proposal retained a lot of the unique character of the constructing was a key issue on this choice. The long-lasting energy station, inbuilt two phases between 1947 and 1963, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. It consisted of a surprising turbine corridor, 35 metres excessive and 152 metres lengthy, with the boiler home alongside it and a single central chimney. Nevertheless, other than a remaining operational London Electrical energy sub-station the location had been redundant since 1981. In 1996 the design plans have been unveiled and, following a £12 million grant from the English Partnerships regeneration company, the location was bought and work started. The massive equipment was eliminated and the constructing was stripped again to its authentic metal construction and brickwork. The turbine corridor grew to become a dramatic entrance and show space and the boiler home grew to become the galleries.

5. The Brick Home, India

Situated amidst rural settlements in Wada, close to Mumbai, the Brick Home designed by iStudio structure is a farmhouse set inside hills and farms. The Home is constructed utilizing supplies like bricks, bamboo, wooden, stone, and Ferro-cement – And curiously they’re all of their bare type that provides an earthy really feel to the built-up area. The construction affords myriad of various views and altitudinal relationships, with every quantity flowing metrically into the following – following the curved strains and varieties which defines the undertaking. The brick home was a lot impressed by works of Laurie baker and Nari Gandhi Designed by I studio structure. The areas have been designed in such a method that each of the room connects to the central open courtyard. lovely play of jallis and arched openings enable gentle and the wind to penetrate inside. The complete home offers an earthy really feel whereas additionally contributed to the low price of the undertaking.

Brick is an especially historic and versatile constructing materials, that has been revolutionized and made mass producible for a lot of our present residential development tasks. It’s much less utilized in bigger scale constructing now, as it’s extra labour intensive on a big scale. It’s a materials that may produce unimaginable intricacy and wonder when organized in detailed patterns, or produce clear simplicity when organized in uniform patterns.