Jump to content


Photo

Which Came First, The Brick Or The "fornace" (Kiln)?

PC question of the week

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Marcia Selsor

Marcia Selsor

    Professor Emerita, Montana State University-Billings

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,979 posts
  • Locationwhere Texas, Matamoros, Rio Grande and Gulf of Mexico come together.

Posted 25 June 2014 - 08:13 AM

While with the group in Italy we saw some ancient bricks in Theodoric's palace in Ravenna and we start discussing the size kiln needed for production. I have seen Roman kilns for roof tiles and they are very large. Some of the people thought this question may bring up some lively discussion.
I have also seen some colored (red, black and beige) coil chinks in the walls of Jericho in a museum somewhere decades ago.
These too would have been fired but without such a large kiln.
So add your thought to this idea.
Marcia
PS
I am home after 20 hours of traveling and a month away.will post some pictures

#2 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,632 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 25 June 2014 - 08:47 AM

Obviously, they just bought the bricks for the kiln(s) at the brick store Marcia...

 

I would imagine, that the bricks came first.  Small amounts, pit fired, which were then used to create the larger kilns.  Those larger kilns made bricks for even larger kilns, and so on.  


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#3 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,980 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:04 AM

Traditionally raw bricks were fired in "ricks".  Basically a pile of bricks that becasue of HOW it is stacked (with channels inside it for flame to pass) is itself a kiln.  The bricks inside the rick were useful... the outer layer were the wasters (that formed the "kiln" to fire the inner bricks.

 

best,

 

...............john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#4 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,980 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:01 AM

john, waters?   wasters?

 

OOps.  :rolleyes: .

 

best,

 

.................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#5 High Bridge Pottery

High Bridge Pottery

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 465 posts
  • LocationNewcastle Upon Tyne. England

Posted 25 June 2014 - 06:11 PM

So the brick and the kiln become one at the same time

 

http://cozine.com/20...t-salida-brick/

 

Salida-Brickmakers.jpg



#6 Wyndham

Wyndham

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 421 posts
  • LocationSeagrove NC

Posted 25 June 2014 - 06:43 PM

Saw a recent Nat Geo program that mentioned that in Sanskrit it mention the tower of Babel being made from burned bricks.

I would guess the earlier pits for pit firing would have fused enough to create a fired lining for pit firing, if the clay were low enough temp, but that's just a guess 

I would think the Chinese were more likely to have fired brick before the middle east  

Wyndham



#7 Tyler Miller

Tyler Miller

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 324 posts
  • LocationOntario, Canada

Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:02 PM

I seem to rememeber a passage in Vitruvius (I'll track it down tomorrow Am to be sure) that said bricks were used in non-structural applications first before being used in walls, to ensure they were fired fully. The gist of the passage seemed to suggest that the industries may have developed separately. The architecturally conservative Greeks didn't use much fired brick, I believe, despite contact with the Persians and Babylonians who most certainly did. Vitruvius should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as a friend of mine has often cursed him as "useless."

I'd imagine the kiln came first by quite some time. Indian updraft ricks of pottery have been in use for millennia. East Asia may be the exception to this rule however--I don't know enough to say. I do know that many Asian kilns fired bricks, though.


I wonder about the history of brick and mortar before and beyond the Romans. I was reading recently that the earliest western pottery was actually air-hardening lime based ware. Dry stacking seems to be the preference for much of ancient history, but I wonder when that changed.

#8 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,980 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:53 PM

The first documented kilns in Asia are tunnels dug into clay banks. No bricks.

 

best,

 

................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#9 alabama

alabama

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts
  • LocationSlapout

Posted 25 June 2014 - 08:23 PM

Hey,

    I think the kilns dug into the hillsides are "groundhog" kilns.  You can't argue with success.

 

I remember in the 1970's in an effort to save money, contractors along the Mexican border started buying cheap Mexican bricks.  Did

I mention they were cheap?  Apparently the Mexicans would find an abandoned house and fill it up with bricks, wood, straw, and

used tires then torch the house.  Then load the bricks on trucks going across the border.  After several houses were built, and it rained, the contractors

learned the difference between a ceramic brick and a clay brick!!

 

See you later.

Alabama



#10 Tyler Miller

Tyler Miller

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 324 posts
  • LocationOntario, Canada

Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:47 PM

Here is  passage from Vitruvius I was talking about, in this context "brick" (later) means adobe, and "burnt brick"(testa) means ceramic building material.

 

The laws of the state forbid that walls abutting on public property should be more than a foot and a half thick. The other walls are built of the same thickness in order to save space. Now brick walls, unless two or three bricks thick, cannot support more than one story; certainly not if they are only a foot and a half in thickness. But with the present importance of the city and the unlimited numbers of its population, it is necessary to increase the number of dwelling-places indefinitely. Consequently, as the ground floors could not admit of so great a number living in the city, the nature of the case has made it necessary to find relief by making the buildings high. In these tall piles reared with piers of stone, walls of burnt brick, and partitions of rubble work, and provided with floor after floor, the upper stories can be partitioned off into rooms to very great advantage. The accommodations within the city walls being thus multiplied as a result of the many floors high in the air, the Roman people easily find excellent places in which to live.

 

It has now been explained how limitations of building space necessarily forbid the employment of brick walls within the city. When it becomes necessary to use them outside the city, they should be constructed as follows in order to be perfect and durable. On the top of the wall lay a structure of burnt brick, about a foot and a half in height, under the tiles and projecting like a coping. Thus the defects usual in these walls can be avoided. For when the tiles on the roof are broken or thrown down by the wind so that rain-water can leak through, this burnt brick coating will prevent the crude brick from being damaged, and the cornice-like projection will throw off the drops beyond the vertical face, and thus the walls, though of crude brick structure, will be preserved intact.

 

With regard to burnt brick, nobody can tell offhand whether it is of the best or unfit to use in a wall, because its strength can be tested only after it has been used on a roof and exposed to bad weather and time—then, if it is good it is accepted. If not made of good clay or if not baked sufficiently, it shows itself defective there when exposed to frosts and rime. Brick that will not stand exposure on roofs can never be strong enough to carry its load in a wall. Hence the strongest burnt brick walls are those which are constructed out of old roofing tiles.

 

Vitr. 2.8.17-19

 

This strikes me as essentially saying that burnt bricks are used out of architectural necessity and for no other reason.  Roman kilns I've seen seem to be made from clay, stone, and mudbrick.  It is interesting to note that roofing tiles and bricks can be so difficult to tell apart they're often lumped together as "ceramic building material" in Roman archaeological contexts.



#11 Biglou13

Biglou13

    Advanced beginner pottery, Advanced in other art

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,012 posts
  • LocationNorth Florida

Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:04 AM

I understand low fire architectural brick

But high fire refractory brick is different. Were these fired in tunnels , and did these clay bank tunnels tolerate temperatures to make the refractory bricks for the ancient pottery kilns?
Caution big brother is watching.
The beige is blinding!!!!!!
The middle of the road is boring

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
-Albert Einstein

#12 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,980 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 01 July 2014 - 01:03 PM

Many ancient pottery kilns were (and in some places still are...Thailand, Korea, etc) constructed of raw bricks that were fired in place. Short life span, but easy construction.

 

Commercial firebricks are fired in HUGE beehive type periodc kilns or continuous tunnel kilns today.

 

best,

 

......................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users