Brick are solid rectangular objects used in construction. Builders use them to make walls, paving, accessories and decoration. While the term traditionally referred to clay bricks, nowadays we also have them in cement and concrete form. Masons lay bricks in overlapping patterns, and glue them together with cement to increase their bonded strength. Green scientists are suggesting we find alternative materials, since making bricks is energy intensive.
Bricks Were Our Companions Since History’s Dawn
The earliest bricks were made from clay-bearing mud, and left to dry in the sun until hard enough for use. They were not as weather-resistant as the bricks we use today, and so gradually eroded away. The most ancient sun-dried bricks we know of date from 7500 BC, and were discovered at Tell Aswad, in the upper Tigris region and now part of Syria.
The Aswadian culture was far more advanced than any other for its time, and only appears in history in a single place. The earliest constructions used massive earth architecture. Later the Aswadians hit on the idea of modelling earth clods with beds of reeds, cutting them into bricks, and drying them in the sun.
The earliest known bricks fired in a kiln date from 4400 BC, and were found at the walled settlement of Chengtoushan in China. This was a round settlement within a moat and rammed wall. The bricks were fired on all sides to a temperature of 600º C. The site contains the remains of a gravel road, a river bridge, a river-control gate, and very early rice paddies.
The Roman legions took mobile brick kilns with them on their travels, and used bricks marked with the unit’s seal to build large brick structures throughout the Roman Empire. Fired bricks gained in popularity during the European Middle Ages, especially in areas where there were no indigenous sources of rocks.
However, the first mechanically manufactured bricks only appeared during the First Industrial Revolution in Britain in 1855. The original machine was capable of producing up to 25,000 bricks daily with minimal supervision, and set off a building boom that continues unabated worldwide.
Spare a Thought For The Humble Brick
Bricks appeared at the very beginning of civilization as we know it. They enabled the construction of safer, more robust homes, and defences within which communities could grow and gather more knowledge. Despite all the progress humanity has made, we still find them in their familiar form everywhere we go.
This post comes to you with the complements of Valiant Exteriors in Calgary Canada. We are local specialists in the installation of sidings, fascias, soffits, and eaves-trough gutters.