A Rudimentary Treatise on the Manufacture of Bricks and Tiles, Vol. 1

A Rudimentary Treatise on the Manufacture of Bricks and Tiles, Vol. 1

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Excerpt from A Rudimentary Treatise on the Manufacture of Bricks and Tiles, Vol. 1: Containing an Outline of the Principles of Brickmaking, and Detailed Accounts of the Various Processes Employed in the Making of Bricks and Tiles in Different Parts of England

Sun-dried bricks were extensively used in ancient times, especially in Egypt, where their manufacture was considered a degrading employment, and, as such, formed the principal occupation of the Israelites during their bondage in Egypt after the death of Joseph. Very interesting ancient representations of the processes employed are still in existence, and throw much light on various passages of Scripture. Thus, the passage in Psalm lxxxi. 6, I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were delivered from the (water) pots, is strikingly illustrated by pictures still preserved to us, in which labourers are carrying the tempered clay on their shoulders to the moulders, whilst others are engaged in carrying vessels of water to temper the clay. The Egyptian sun-dried bricks were made with clay mixed with chopped straw, which was furnished to the Israelites by their Egyptian taskmasters before the application of Moses to Pharaoh on their behalf, after which the obligation was laid on them to provide their own straw, which appears to have been a grievous addi tion to their labour. It would appear from the details given, that the Israelites worked in gangs, under the superintendence of an overseer of their own nation, who was provided with all necessary tools and mate rials, and who was personally responsible for the labour of the gangs.

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