The first building materials used by man were wood and stone. But the use of bricks followed soon after, even before written history, and today bricks remain one of man’s most important building materials. What is this vital building material made from? Simple earth!
Many forces such as weather, glaciers, volcanoes, and chemical reactions, break up rocks in the ground, producing a kind of fine- grained earth called clay. Clay is workable when it is wet, and can be molded to any shape. A brick is made by wetting clay, pressing it into a mold, and then baking the clay in an oven until it is hard.
Today, most bricks are made by machines, which form the clay into long columns, then cut the columns into brick-sized pieces.
Most ordinary bricks are naturally red because of the iron in the clay used to make them. Adding other substances to the clay produces bricks of other
The largest brick factory in the world, in England, can produce 16 million bricks in a week.