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The History of Bricks

The History of Bricks

From Roman arches to modern homes, bricks have been a staple in architecture for thousands of years. But, how exactly did this building material become so popular? In this blog, we’ll take a look at the history of bricks and how they rose to architectural fame.

The Origin Story

Bricks began being made in 7000 BC, making them one of the oldest building materials known to man. They were discovered in modern day Turkey, belonging to the ancient settlement of Jericho. These bricks were made by:

  •  Mixing mud and straw
  • Setting them out in the sun to dry and harden

Mud bricks became popular among the Egyptians, and later, the Romans.

In 3,500 BC, the methods of creating bricks changed. Instead of letting the mud mixture dry in the sun, the Romans began to fire them in kilns. This meant that people in colder climates now had the ability to make bricks, and didn’t have to rely on the weather. The base material of the mixture was also switched from mud to red or white clay. This style of brick became increasingly popular as the Romans continued to build infrastructure, such as:

  • Walls
  • Forts
  • Arches
  • City centers

In the 12th century after the Roman and Byzantine empires fell, brick was introduced to Germany by Italy. German architects began to use these bricks in gothic-style structures, which then gained popularity across all of Europe. Eventually, this building material became a staple in Asia and Africa, as well.

Coming to America

Bricks arrived in the U.S. in the beginning of the 17th century when they were brought over by English colonists. Standard bricks, made of clay or shale, were first made in Virginia in 1610. After settlers established the colonies and were constructing homes and buildings, they realized how high the demand for brick manufacturing was. The first mass-production facility for bricks was created in New York, making them readily available as the country began to grow and take shape.

During the industrial revolution, bricks gained widespread popularity for their sturdiness and resistance to fire. Because of these advantages, more and more commercial buildings were being constructed with brick — soon, homeowners were also jumping on the brick bandwagon. Brick has become one of the most common exterior materials for homes in the United States, and is also regularly used for fireplaces and residential walkways.

Modern-Day Use

While bricks may be associated with traditional home aesthetics, they’re being incorporated into many unique and modern designs today. The clean lines and geometric shape of standard bricks work well with modern styles, and help add texture without overwhelming the minimalistic feel of these homes. 

Although traditional red brick remains popular due to its rustic, urban feel, painted brick has also been a major home interior trend. Common colors of painted bricks include:

  • White
  • Off-White
  • Black
  • Gray 

These painted bricks have high visual interest but don’t introduce another color, like red brick would, to the room. Painted bricks can now even take the place of tiles in small areas like a kitchen backsplash.

Not only are bricks a unique addition to a home interior, but they offer several other advantages. This material is environmentally friendly, virtually maintenance-free, and saves homeowners money on insurance payments, as it is very unlikely to be destroyed by fire, wind, or rain.

Let Us Handle Your Brick Needs

Looking to add some brick to your space? At Christie Cut Stone, we have a wide selection of brick styles to choose from, so you’ll always end up with the perfect look. Contact our team today and we’ll help you upgrade your indoor or outdoor space!

Contact Us Today

Posted by Michael Christie at 11:47 AM