The original precast concrete blocks were cast on wooden frames, dried into a solid shape like bricks, and then put in mortar like bricks. By the mid-1800s, several independent contractors were producing these precast blocks. The first house built completely of these blocks in the United States was built in 1837 on Staten Island, New York. The Concrete House Builders website provides photographs and information about more than 70 concrete houses from around the world.
Concrete is a material that has been used for centuries by many cultures for buildings, walls, and bridges. It is easy to work with, durable, and non-combustible. In modern times, concrete blocks are still used extensively around the world for building homes. However, other types of housing have begun using concrete as well.
In the United States, the first house built out of concrete blocks was built in 1837 on Staten Island. At that time, builders used wood forms to make shapes for the blocks they needed. These forms were then removed when the blocks had set, leaving open spaces between them. The corners and faces of the blocks were left unglazed to show off any decorations that might be placed on them. The house was painted white.
In the late 1800s, two men produced kits that allowed homeowners to build their own concrete houses. One of these companies was the H.D. Cooke Company, which sold plans for a complete house that included brick or stone veneer panels, windows, and doors.
In 1854, William B. Wilkinson built the first reinforced concrete dwelling in England, a servant's cottage. William Ward, an American mechanical engineer, built the first reinforced concrete house in the United States in 1875. It may still be found in Port Chester, New York. The Ward family house was built on land that they owned and it remains a private residence today.
Reinforced concrete is a composite material used for constructing roads, bridges, buildings, and other civil engineering projects. It is made by mixing aggregate (rocks such as sand or gravel) with a hardener (a liquid or paste) and shaping the mixture into desired forms. The formed pieces are then placed in a mold and exposed to pressure so that they harden into solid objects.
At the time of its creation, reinforced concrete was considered a novel material. It was widely believed that the composition would disintegrate under its own weight. However, the Ward house survived for more than 100 years before it was demolished for construction materials.
In the early 20th century, Reinforced Concrete became popular again for building houses due to its durability and ability to resist damage from weather conditions. Between the World Wars I and II, over 8 million square feet of concrete were poured into American homes. In 2001, the United States produced approximately 5 billion pounds of cement.
Although the Ancient Romans were not the first to build concrete, they were the first to make extensive use of it. By 200 BC, the Romans had successfully used concrete in the majority of their building. The mix was created using a combination of volcanic ash, lime, and saltwater. The concrete needed only one daily wash with water to keep it clean.
Concrete has been used for buildings since Roman times because it is easy to work with and durable. It is non-combustible and does not absorb heat like stone or wood do, which means that it can be used in places where heat might cause other materials to melt or burn. Concrete can also be used as a protective layer over stone or timber structures that want to be made fireproof.
The first true skyscrapers were built in Europe during the late 19th century. These buildings used reinforced concrete frames covered in glass and metal panels. They were designed by engineers such as Louis Sullivan and Henry Ford Johnson.
In America, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established in 1933 by Congress to improve the economic condition of farmers in the region by providing electricity without charge. The TVA's first headquarters building was a concrete structure designed by architect George W. Emmons. It features large floor-to-ceiling windows and uses reflective tape on the walls to prevent damage from sunlight exposure.
Many firsts in concrete history occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including: the first reinforced concrete bridge in 1889; the first American concrete street, built by George Bartholomew in Bellefontaine, OH in 1891; and the Ingalls Building, the first concrete high rise, built in Cincinnati, OH in 1903.
Early pioneers in the United States used whatever material was available to build their homes. Stone was the most common building material until the advent of lumber in the late 1700's. After that time, houses were built out of brick or wood. In some cases, people even dug holes in the ground and covered them with soil or sand to make shelters. This is how Native Americans made their homes before they started using nails to stick together logs.
The first concrete building in America was a warehouse. It was constructed in 1889 near Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle by Henry Ford, who was looking for a suitable place to store his inventories. Concrete was recently invented so this project was new then. But it proved to be a good choice because it is very durable and can hold many more items than a wooden building could.
Ford sold the warehouse in 1895 but it still operated by the city until 2000 when it was finally demolished to make way for more modern storage facilities. This showroom example was built in 1913 by the Louis Chevrolet Company in Detroit as part of its marketing campaign for its flagship model car.
They were manufactured by hand, by pressing wet clay into molds and burning, and were frequently made onsite on the construction site. Many farmers pressed bricks when they had the opportunity and maintained a stock on hand. By the 1870s and 1880s, these pressed bricks were machine-made, allowing for a surge in development in Washington, DC. The machines that made the bricks were often called "bakehouses" because that is what they used them for.
The bricks themselves were usually about 1 foot by 4 feet by 8 inches thick and could be used over and over again. They were made with varying amounts of sand and gravel added to give them more strength or workability depending on the type of wall they were going to be used in. If you look at old buildings you will see that many are still using bricks even though they can now be bought in pre-mixed lengths called "bonded blocks". These blocks consist of 75 percent light gray mortar and 25 percent dark gray cement and are much easier to handle than individual bricks.
Brick walls came in four main types: foundation-mounted, rubble-stone, block, and cob.
Foundation-mounted walls are the most common type and are used when there is no chance of the building being moved. They are also the highest quality wall and the most expensive to build. The foundation consists of compacted gravel or crushed rock laid out in a level pattern and covered with another layer of gravel or rock.