All of us were taught by the story of the Three Little Pigs that brick construction is the sturdiest and toughest way to build a home. Brick homes are still prized and sought after for their stability, longevity, and energy efficiency. Still, the prevalence of brick structures in our daily life leads us to take the material for granted. With this in mind, Champion Brick, your brick and pavers experts in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Southeastern Wisconsin, is proud to present to you a series of blog posts dedicated to the surprisingly interesting history of bricks. Read on to learn more about this fascinating and historical building material.
The earliest mention of brick making was found in the Bible, and bricks dated 10,000 years old have been found in the Middle East. As the story goes, the Israelites made mudbrick for their Egyptian rulers and built them into superior structures that outperformed any building methods used previously. A mudbrick is a made of a mixture of loam, mud, sand and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw, and is very similar to the Spanish style of mudbrick construction called Adobe. The ancient Egyptians and the Indus Valley Civilization used mudbrick as well, where it is evident from the ruins of Buhen, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.
The first sun-dried bricks were made in Mesopotamia (what is now Iraq), in the ancient city of Ur in about 4000 BC. The Romans further distinguished those which had been dried by the sun and air and those bricks which were burnt in a kiln. Preferring to make their bricks in the spring, the Romans held on to their bricks for 2 years before they were used or sold. They only used clay which was whitish or red for their bricks.
Using mobile kilns, the Romans were successful in introducing kiln fired bricks to the whole of the Roman Empire. The bricks were then stamped with the mark of the legion who supervised the brick production. These bricks differed from other ancient bricks in size and shape. Roman bricks were more commonly round, square, oblong, triangular or rectangular. The kiln fired bricks were generally 1 or 2 Roman foot by 1 Roman foot, but with some larger bricks at up to 3 Roman feet. The Romans preferred this type of brick making during the first century of their civilization and used the bricks for public and private buildings all over the empire.
The Greeks also considered perpendicular brick walls more durable than stone walls and used them for public edifices. They also realized how the modern brick was less susceptible to erosion than the old marble walls.
Check back for our next post as we continue to examine the fascinating history of brick!
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Champion Brick is your Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Southeastern Wisconsin brick and paver experts. If you have questions about any of our products or services please call us at 262-786-8260 or submit your message on our contact form to message us.