The science of masonry construction is extensive, thorough, and is the foundation of the profession. But there is an artistic component bounded only by the imagination of the designer and the skilled mason.
Masonry construction has been practiced for thousands of years beginning with the ancient Greeks and the Romans. The "language" of the craft has been developed over this time. Today we use words that clearly identify pieces and parts of the industry that can bewilder or confound those unfamiliar with them — words such as wythe, shiner, and grapevine.
Masonry construction has exploded during the last century and a half due in large part to advances in manufacturing technology. For example, in the early years of manufacturing, each concrete block was made by hand — about 10 blocks per hour per man. Today, with modern machinery, production can be as high as 2,000 blocks per hour. And, each year around 4-billion concrete
blocks are manufactured — enough to build about 3.5 billion square feet of wall. Up until about 150 years ago, clay bricks were made individually and by hand. Today, with modern machinery and kilns, about 50-billion clay bricks are manufactured each year — enough to build about 7.5 billion square feet of wall.
This two course series was created to provide fundamental knowledge about masonry construction for the engineer, contractor, architect, and anyone else who is interested in having a basic understanding of the topic.