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Brick Making

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This brick kiln is located near the Catune Village in the Motru River Valley.


Catune Brick Kiln
This is a home made pug mill, which is used to take clay and water, and turn it into a form which can be made into bricks. To pug clay without a machine such as this is very laborious.

The machine seems to have been made with parts of an old tractor, and it appears that it is now driven by a belt around the drum on the right. The power take off from an old tractor is used as a gearbox to slow down the output, and give it more torque. This mechanical force is fed to a very strong drive shaft and universal joints (probably also salvaged from a tractor or truck), which in turn drive the mill which mixes the clay and water.

The clay and water mix is put into the hopper on the left, and the finished clay comes out on the other side, not visible in this photo.

The clay should first be dried and pulverised, and then sieved to remove organic matter and rocks.

It is best to wet the clay first before placing in the mill, rather than just tipping in dry clay and water.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Catune Brick clay source




Source of the clay and water for the pug mill and kiln.

The added red line delineates the edge of a clay castrum, or fortress made of clay, from Roman times.

Photo: Adapted from Google Earth




Catune Brick Kiln
After the bricks are cut or moulded from the clay, they are stacked to dry under the shelter of this roof, which uses cheap though effective tar paper to keep off the rain and snow. The structure itself is made of debarked round poles which are also cheap, and available locally just for the labour of cutting them, but do the job.

The "green" bricks must dry slowly, away from the heat of the sun but in a warm spot where there is plenty of air circulation, so that they do not crack but dry uniformly before they are put into the kiln to be fired.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Catune Brick Kiln Catune Brick Kiln
The "green" unfired bricks are themselves used to construct a kiln. The usual fuel in cases like this is charcoal, which burns well and occupies little space. It is packed in between the bricks, and there are air holes which may be opened up as necessary during the firing of the bricks, which takes a few days. The whole outside of the kiln is plastered with clay to stop up air leaks, and to keep some of the heat in.

The wooden poles around the kiln supported temporary roofing of maize stalks used as thatching during the building of the kiln, to keep off rain and dew from the green bricks until the kiln was ready to be fired. The maize thatch was then removed prior to firing the kiln. It may be seen on the ground in the background of the photo on the left.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Catune Brick Kiln
After the bricks are fired, the air holes are plastered over, and the whole kiln is left to cool very slowly, which may take a week or more. The kiln is then dismantled, and the bricks are then stacked to be sold for construction. A few "green" or unfired bricks may be seen on the right of this stack of fired bricks, probably left over from the construction of the kiln in the photos above.

These bricks appear to have been cut rather than moulded. This sort of brick is most often used for brick constructions inside the building where they will not be seen, and are known as "commons" in english. Bricks which are suitable for outside or inside walls where they will be seen are called "face" bricks, and are more expensive and more carefully made. "Commons" can, however, be used for all of the walls of a house if they are to be "rendered" or coated with a cement plaster, and later painted.

The plastic sheeting shown here is used to cover the wet clay before it is used to make the bricks, and sometimes placed over the drying bricks to slow the drying process if necessary in hot and dry weather. It may also be the remains of the temporary roofing used over the kiln while it was being built.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Catune Bricks

Dorel Bondoc is trying to understand the construction of the brick kiln in the area of the Catune site.

Maize stalks have been used as thatching for the roof to keep off rain and dew, which would adversely affect the "green" bricks. The stack of bricks is as yet unfired, and the thatch will be removed immediately before the firing, though the wooden poles will remain during the firing process.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 31st October 2009




Catune Bricks



At the north west corner of the clay castrum, Dorel Bondoc is searching the clay walls of the castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 31st October 2009




Catune Bricks

Over the entire area of the clay castrum, a huge area, there are many river-stones in the ground, perhaps to allow easier movement of the ancient people there.

These may have been dug up and piled here as the result of agricultural activities.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 31st October 2009




Catune Bricks



Dorel Bondoc serching the western clay wall of the castrum, towards the Motru River. It is possible that this clay castrum is the ancient Ad Mutrium fortress.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 31st October 2009










Recent additions, changes and updates to the Alexis site

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This site is to publicise the history and culture of Romania, and displays information from the Alexis Project Association

Alexis Project Filiasi/Romania
RC J/263/230/2007 CIF 21464151
Email: alexis_project@yahoo.com




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This page last modified Monday, 24th January, 2011 02:17am


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