Many of us feel
that limestone, granite, marble are better
than any other material, but in fact, the most long-lasting
material made by man, is indeed the brick. We
see bricks being used in construction all the time and in
every part of the world, but it is not a new material. It was
made and used by even the Egyptians and Babylonians nearly
3000 years before the birth of Christ,
and possibly even earlier.
Bricks of an ancient Babylonian
In the earlier days,
bricks were made in quite a crude/unrefined manner,
and this was because good machinery did not exist at the time.
Bricks are made of clay or shale and kept to bake or burn at very
high temperatures (today in furnaces), but in the olden days,
the clay was crushed and mixed with water by workmen, who
had to trample on them bare foot. Naturally, this job was
very painful and tiring. Straw was usually added to the wet clay as
it helped to hold the bricks together. Finally, the bricks
were set into different shapes and sizes by hand and kept out in the
sun to dry.
This pattern of producing bricks continued for many years, until it
was discovered that burning the bricks in fire ensured
hardness and prevented dampness from spoiling the bricks -
after which, straw were not used. These bricks were beneficial to
hot countries like the Middle East, rather than
countries like England. Even today, we can see the bricks in these
places on the ancient temple walls or monuments that clearly show
their durability and strength.