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History of Brick and Tile

History of Brick and Tile

Brick is the first building material manufactured in the world history. The meeting of clay and water and its union with fire formed the birth of brick. In ancient times, each building was first a brick production facility, and the bricks produced were later used in the construction of this building. Thus, the first production facility is the first brick house.

It is now known that the first settlements and cultures were established in large river basins with alluvial soils suitable for brick making. The beginning of brick art coincides with these periods. These regions are the lower regions of the Nile, Euphrates / tigris rivers in Mesopotamia. During the excavations in these areas, it has been observed that the oldest finds consist of molded clay tablets and wall reliefs. This shows that brick production started at this time and even then, temples and richest structures were built with these brick tablets. These unbaked clay tablets were shaped by hand, similar to the bricks used in our time. Carbon 14 experiments performed on these clay tablets coming from (Brick) are B.C. 13000. In other words, we can say that the first brick was shaped in the hands of human beings exactly 15000 years ago.

After a while, people wanted to build stronger buildings, higher towers. Of course, these buildings were going to be better looking buildings. At this stage, the COOKED BRICK appears. A warm vibrant color and a more solid building material. Time was B.C. 4. Century. During the excavations and researches carried out by the German archaeologist Robert KOLDWEY in the city of Babylon between 1877-1917, smooth-shaped, sharp-edged, highly technical, manufactured bricks similar to those used today in modern buildings were found. For this reason, this historical building, one of the 7 wonders of the world, is considered to be the first building where fired brick was used systematically and regularly. This structure is an icon for the brick industry because it was the first high-capacity production facility.

 In this period and later, we see that brick making spread to Anatolia and Europe and became more widespread. Brick and brick production  in Mesopotamia, has been developed with Assyrians, Persians, Sasanians and Islamic cultures. Eastern and western cultures have progressed in common, as a result, brick has remained the indispensable building material of all residential areas.

Greek writer Pindar, he tells that in the B.C. 5th century, the Greeks found marble and used it in sculpture and buildings. The Greeks first used marble as a wall material in buildings, but because of the negativity of marble, they turned to brick again.
In the meantime, with the use of baked bricks, there was a gap in roofing material. This gap was filled with the fact that Corinthians found the Concave tile again. They manufactured tiles similar to the round tiles we use on our roofs today. The only difference was that they were a little thicker and larger in size. Studies have shown that the first tiles used are 2-3 cm thick, 50 cm wide and 80-100 cm tall. Later The Greeks developed the tile, and the Romans took over them. In Western Europe, the Romans developed Greek tile forms as much as possible. We can say that they almost approached today's production quality especially in round tiles.

The first standards in tile and brick were developed and implemented by the Romans. They tried to solve the drying and cooking problems caused by thickness and thus the first research activities started with them. As a result of these studies, they produced materials that were as thin as possible but much stronger than before. It is the Romans who introduced brick and tile to Spain, England, France, Belgium and Germany so Romans made their use widespread. Roman Legionnaires working in building construction at that time were producing 120-140 large size and 220-240 small size bricks per person per day.

After a while, brick ceased to be a building material produced only for construction and started to be manufactured for sale and even to be sent to regions up to 100 km away by sea and river. Again, the Romans achieved this. Because they were who turned brick and tile into a branch of industry.

When we look at Anatolia, we see that the developments took place in parallel with the dates above. History books explain the industrial production and use of the first baked brick in Anatolia. It writes that it was started by the Lydians in the 4th century B.C. This period coincides with the construction of the Tower of Babel almost the same period. Brick and Tile developed in Anatolia after the Greeks, with the contributions of the Byzantines. Later, the Seljuks took over this development from the Byzantines. It is a fact that the Seljuks also made great progress in this regard. In Seljuk architecture, brick has experienced an important architectural unity, especially with stone. After that, there is a transition to the Ottoman period and the production of tile and bricks has experienced important developments in the Ottoman period. Fatih Sultan Mehmet period bricks were manufactured in dimensions of 4.5x28x28 cm, and those used in beams were manufactured thinner. Base bricks were in the form of 25x25 cm and square or hexagons with diameters varying between 30-60 cm. The bricks that were out of the standards used were not used in the construction and even they were not allowed to be sold.

In the following period, no significant changes were seen in the Brick Industry until the 18th century. But with the start of the industrial revolution after the Renaissance, this branch of industry started to develop. First of all, standardization studies and the issue of reducing labor-intensive work as much as possible are at the forefront in the brick and tile industry as in every branch. The latest developments in technology are widely used today in brick and tile. These two materials are candidates to be indispensable for the 21st century.