Spectacular “Tower of Babel” in Babylon is known as the first place in which baked bricks are used systematically and regularly.

History of Clay

THE FIRST MAN-MADE BUILDING MATERIAL : BRICK

According to historians, brick is the first building material in the World.

The first settlements were founded in large river basins, which contains alluvial soil. The beginning of brick art coincides to this time. These regions are Nile, Euphrates / Tigris rivers neighborhood, in Mesopotamia. In excavations in this region oldest clay tablets and wall reliefs were found. This shows that the production of bricks started at this time and even at that time the richest temples and structures were built with these bricks tablets. These unbaked clay tablets have similar dimensions with the contemporary bricks and they accomplished by hand. And when the scientist made “Carbon 14 Experiment” they saw the date is B.C 13.000. It means 15.000 years ago, the first brick took shape at the human hand. However these bricks were unbaked and just sun-dried. It seems like adobe walls.

The desire to be stronger against environmental conditions let the human being to search for different ways. In this way, when water met with clay and reactioned with fire, brick was born. The invention of fire is very important for history. Centuries ago, that the human found the baked brick near to a fire by chance was maybe the first  meeting with the todays brick. At the first time they used the baked clays just for making bowls for meals. Ant then they started to use fire also for bricks.


THE BIRTH OF BRICK INDUSTRY: BABYLON

After a while, humans wanted to built stronger and higher structures. Of course these structures had to look prettier. At this stage they needed baked bricks. Because it’s both stronger and vivid than unbaked bricks. By the way the year was B.C 4th century…

Babylon, one of the world's 7 wonders, has a lot of firsts. Tower of Babylon is the first bulding that baked brick used systematically. Hereby we can say that baked bricks make war to years.

In one archaeological excavations, German archaeologist Robert Koldewey found some bricks that look like modern bricks at Babylon in 1877-1917. Everybody agreed this material can defies year.

During this period, bricks were used as both building materials and art tools. The best example for this is “Ishtar Gate” of Babel. You can see this wonderfull composition at Berlin Museum. This work has 575 piece of taurus and dragon pictures.

The most important reason of the Tower of Babel for being the symbol for the brick industry is that, it was the first production place with high capacity. According to calculations, 85 million bricks were used for this tower. It’s so high number and it means an annual output of  5 or 6 factories of today.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF BRICK

After this period, we see that the brick construction gradually spread to Anatolia and Europe. In Mesopotomia also, brick construction developed with Assyrian, Persian, Sassanid and islamic culture. Day by day it developed and became an indispensable building material in East and West.

Greek writer Pindar says that, Greeks invented marble and used it at buldings and statues at B.C 5th century. Greeks used marble at the Wall of buildings but because of negatives of marble they started to use brick again.

The great Wall of China, which is the biggest man-made structure, has an interesting story about brick. It was built to save local people from the attacks of ethnic groups from North at B.C 9th century and it was 6400 kms.

At the first they used unbaked clay tablets at the walls. Because of this some destructions occurred.  Chinese engineers had to find a new material. They were inspired from bowls and tried to bake the bricks. When they came to 800-900 degrees, they got a spectacular material: baked bricks. 3 billion pieces of brick stands as the first day agains to all of the cruelty of nature.


THE BIRTH OF TILE

By the way with the introduction of bricks, they need to find a solution for  roofing and Corinths found concave tiles.

Corinths made tiles like todays oval tiles we use at roofing. We saw that from investigations, these first tiles had 2-3 cm thickness, 50 cm width and 80-10 cm height. Tile was developed by Greeks and then the Romans took over from them. We can say that Romans tile seems like quite todays tiles about quality.

Firstly, Romans developed the standarts of tiles and first they made investigation about baked tiles. As a result of these studies they produced thin as possible but more solid material than the former. Romans also introduced the tile and brick to Spanish, English, German, French, and Belgian. This works until today proves that Romans are well about production of tile and brick. At these days, Roman legionaries working in building construction, were producing 120-140 oversized 220-240 small-sized bricks per person per day.
    
After a while, they started to sell the bricks in addition to construction and started to send it by road and river road as far as 100 kms. That’s why, brick production became a branch of industry by Romans.


TILE AND BRICK HISTORY OF ANATOLIA

When we look at  Anatolia we can see that all the developments occured at the same time about tiles and bricks. History books say that first baked bricks were used in Anatolia B.C 4th century by Lydians. It’s the same period that Babylon Tower was built. We can say that bricks used at Sardis walls are the first bricks used systematically in Anatolia.

Tiles and bricks developed with the additives of Greeks and Byzantines. Later Seljuks took over this additive from them. After them Ottomans started to produce small and concave tiles. Ottomans made the first standarts for tiles and bricks around 4.5 x 28 x 28 or 25 x 25cm. And there were 30*60 centimeters one. If the bricks were outside the standards, they could not be used or sold.


THE BLAZE OF LONDON

If we look at the  history of brick, we can see that it is very important also in the blaze of London(1966). While all the city succombing to fire, there were some place has little bit damages. We can say these areas were built from brick. After this event, a new regulations published. And London people started to use brick for building homes, briges, viaducts. Nowadays England can still use these old bridges and viaducts.

After Industrial Revolution this branch of industry began to develop. First steam-powered machines then electronic machines were used. The purpose was to  minimize the human labor. These two materials are candidate to be indispensable materials of 21th century.

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YÜKSEL TUĞLA KİREMİT

Yuksel Toprak Sanayi ve Tic A.Ş. ,founded in Manisa/Turgutlu district in 1976, has become one of the leading companies in the brick and tile industry in Turkey.

Our factory continues to manufacture in 70,000 m2 area. We can manufacture all year with  one tunnel kiln and one Hoffman kiln, hereby customers are able to meet the needs at every moment.

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