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Brick by Brick! How Bricks Are Making the World Better

Recently, students and geeks alike are teaming up to sell bricks for great causes! For what seems like insane amounts of money for bricks, the donations per brick are helping to create wonderful things.

Thanks to Matthew Inman (from The Oatmeal), people can donate $125 to get a few lines of text (name, message, anything) on a brick which will then be used to help build a museum to honor Nikola Tesla Tesla is probably best known for the Tesla Coil found in many science classrooms but he was also responsible for AC power and transmission. The Tesla Museum will seek to help people learn about his contributions to the world and gain the recognition of his peers such as Edison. Over $2 Million has been raised thus far from crowdfunding and other forms of donation. Outside of this $2 Million, $200,000 has been raised by selling bricks. There are also options to donate more for walls, added text or images on bricks, and more. For those not willing to donate as much, shirts are available online for $15 and $24 donations. The location surrounds Tesla’s original lab and the roof will be replaced using the first batches of brick donations.

$125 seems like a lot of money for a simple brick, but for high quality museums, repairs to the lab, and everything else the Oatmeal crew and others must do to create this museum, it would be worth it to have your name or message standing in a building for decades (if not centuries). Not only will this facility educate people on a fantastic scientist, but it will provide some masons and bricklayers with work for a great cause. If interested, surely our training program could prepare you to start your own crowdsourced project or you could contact The Oatmeal or the Bricks For Nick program at teslasciencecenter.org.

Another great idea involving bricks for great causes involves young students at West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School. These young people are seeking to help displaced families in Afghanistan by selling bricks donated by Lafayette Masonry for $10. These bricks do not travel to Afghanistan, but they serve as a symbol for what the $10 is giving to the Khaled Hosseini Foundation’s Student Outreach for Shelters program. The money is going straight to the families who need to build their own shelter, allowing better materials and more of them. Buyers are encouraged to decorate the bricks and use them at home for decoration or any other use. All of this was inspired by the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. A problem was presented to these students and they felt they had the ability to do what they can to assist families in need overseas.

Much like the Tesla project, it may be entirely possible to offer assistance, materials, bricks, or more to these young students trying to change the world a brick at a time. The article gives contact information for someone in charge of the program and anyone can donate, not just students in the area.

Masonry and bricklaying are wonderful jobs and these structures may last for generations, but it’s important to realize just how much of a difference a few bricks can make—especially once professionally installed.

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Tulsa Tech Masonry Course Builds 9/11 Tribute

Tulsa Tech (Oklahoma) offers a course in masonry as an entry level course, often taken by new college students. Every year a few weeks before the anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 the students build a small memorial. This year the students built an 8 ft by 10 ft wall featuring the numbers 9 and 11 (11 symbolizing the two towers) with American Flag accents. The memorials every year are open to students and faculty and the memorials are constructed and left in the masonry classroom. Every year, visitors become emotional as they remember that tragic day in American History.

A few things make this incredibly interesting. For one, many of these students were very young when the towers fell (and soon, young students will not have been born when this event happened). The instructors are making sure these students never forget what happened and that they respect how difficult it is to construct any building, even a small memorial without proper training. Not only is Tulsa Tech teaching history and respect for those who have fallen, they’re teaching respect for a trade that serves many purposes. Masonry is art; these memorials tend to make visitors cry more than any television memorial or professionally build reminder.

These young students are in an entry-level masonry course. They don’t spend the entire course writing notes, watching videos, and making small models with legos or something. They are thrown straight in there and the results of these memorials year to year are amazing. The students must designate roles and learn the craft quickly enough to produce a product in a matter of weeks, from start to finish.

Last year, the students creased an American flag from colored bricks. In 2012, it featured colored tile, mosaic style centerpiece, and multiple types of stone. 2010 featured two different tributes since there was a day and evening course. One was a tribute to the fire department of New York with a basic brick flag pattern background while the other focused on the actual towers. Both featured black and gold towers. The main thing these memorials have in common is the presence of the 9-11 date and a sense of patriotism.

Masonry is a trade as old as time itself, but the uses for it keep growing. Memorials, businesses, homes, and more can be created from stone, brick, tile, and mortar. These kids prove that passion can move mountains. Their hard work, dedication, and respect of our history makes these a wonderful sight, regardless of their skill level. Some are particularly awe inspiring while others are less physically impressive or detailed but filled with emotion, respect, and remembrance. Never forget.

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Three of the Most Famous Masonry Buildings in History

  1. The Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
    The Colosseum shows how durable masonry is even when left unattended for centuries. Completed over 2,000 years ago in AD 80 it contained 80 arched entrances which allowed 55,000 spectators into the amphitheater. Natural erosion has taken its toll, but the structure is still sound and recognizable, seeing millions of tourists per year and showing off the masonry skills the Romans had.
    The famous gladiator battles were held here for the entertainment of the poor and the wealthy alike. Slaves, prisoners of war, and criminals (usually male, ocassionally female) entered the ring to fight. So many fights would happen in a day that eventually more sand would need to be placed on the floor to soak up the blood.
  2. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Known as one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was crafted in soft white marble (using an interlocking arabesque concept) and detailed with various precious stones. It was crafted by masons in honor of Mumtaz Mahal in 1623 by the orders of Shah Jahan. The construction took 20,000 workers and 22 years. Mumtaz Mahal’s body rests in the Taj Mahal mausoleum today. Contained in the giant double dome structure is eight chambers representing the eight divisions of the Koran. The marble for the construction were carried from Makrana for 400 km. Bricks were made locally to use on the interior walls. The bricks facing outward are made of the soft white marble.

  1. The Pyramids in Ciaro, Egypt.
    The earliest known examples of stone masonry are found in the pyramids in Egypt. As of 2008, 138 pyramids had been discovered, with estimates of up to 100,000 of workers used to construct each one. No one knows for sure how the structures were built, though there are many theories. Pyramids served as tombs for pharaos, queens, and other nobles. Often times, many servants are buried within to serve the pharaoh in the afterlife.
    The most well-known pyramid is the Great Pyramid of Giza—the largest of the seven wonders of the world. Pyramids once had a cover of casting stone (Tura limestone found across the river), making the outer surface smooth and what is seen today is the core structure. 2.3 million Limestone blocks (likely from nearby quarries) make up the Great Pyramid, with 5.5 million tonnes of limestone, 8,000 tonnes of granite (from Aswan) and half a million tonnes of mortar.

Many works of masonry are still a mystery to modern man. This craft, this art, needs to live on. Masonry stands the test of time over and over again, leaving behind beautiful, mysterious, awe inspiring buildings we need to treasure and learn from.

Get your masonry license today and be a part of history!

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Masonry: History and Benefits

The History Of Masonry:

Within the last 6,000 years masonry has remained popular. Today, it’s used primarily for houses, fireplaces, and other modern buildings. Popular landmarks and historical buildings were made by masons, including the Taj Mahal and most of Egypt’s famous sculptures, tombs, and pyramids. This style of brick making and laying was made popular due to the durability mixed with artistry of the materials. Today, people chose masonry for new buildings because it’s a timeless and practical art. Brick buildings command respect as well. Most important buildings are not made out of shingles and plastic.

Not only can bricks be made by hand and laid expertly, but it can be stone or terra -cotta sculpted buildings or sculptures. Bricks will last for ages when properly maintained and they can keep a building safe from various natural causes such as earthquakes and fires (meaning lower insurance rates) and when using the cavity wall method (two walls with a space between the two) bricks can prevent leakage into the home as well as increase the load bearing capacity of the structure. Masonry will not rust or melt and will resist some mold. Bricks can help insulation, reduce painting costs, and isn’t full of chemicals and plastics. Oddly enough, brick buildings also dampen sound, meaning those outside your structure are less likely to hear the loud music you play at your first house party.

Bricks were traditionally made from slate and clay dried in the sun. Eventually, molds and fire drying came into play and mass production of bricks began. Later, straw and other aggregates were added for stability and to prevent cracking. Today, many bricks are made from cement, sand, and some type of aggregate.

Because of the precision masonry requires and the deep history it is a task done best by professionals and definitely not by machines. This also decreases in the plan drawing because pieces do not need to be fabricated—bricks just need to be made. .Mason made buildings can be erected very quickly without compromising structural integrity and the buildings can have perfectly sound and load baring features such as arches and circles. The buildings are made by people from natural ingredients to achieve a great product while helping the community and economy to provide better lives for everyone.

Choose a career in masonry and you will have work for life! Feel the pride of creating structures that will last longer than you will and provide safe, high quality buildings. If you choose to start your own business, you can create jobs in your community but if you chose to work for others, you are gaining work stability while doing something worthwhile. Get your masonry certification today and start your new future.