Brick making

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Bricks are made from a particular kind of dirt called clay. The clay is soft when it’s wet but hardens like rock after baking in a kiln or fire.

First the clay is moistened with some water and pushed into a brick-shaped wooden mould. The bottom of the mould is shaped with the name of the company in the centre. The clay must be pushed in firmly so there are no pockets of air or water.

The wet brick is tipped out of the mould onto the ground. The bricks are left to dry in the sun to remove all the moisture. Once they’ve dried enough to move, they’re stacked up in long rows. They’re shaded with palm leaves to stop them from drying out too quickly and then cracking.

Stacking the dried bricks to fire in the kiln
Stacking the dried bricks to fire in the kiln

The dried clay is brittle and can break easily if dropped. The bricks are stacked up high around the kiln ready to be fired. The fire is in the middle of the stack and is lit through small channels on ground level at each end.

After the bricks have been fired for many hours they turn dark orange or red and become hard like rock. Some crack during firing if there’s an air bubble in the clay or they haven’t dried properly. Once the bricks have cooled they’re ready to be used for building.