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Chad Fabry

CMU's

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I Inspected a house yesterday that used 8x24 block for the foundation, some of which were cast to look like limestone.

The literature stated that it was built in 1895.

I realize that CMU's change by locale, but I've never seen this size before.

Anyone have any info?

I'm reporting that I feel the house was built in the late 1920's for a host of reasons including the block.

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Concrete blocks were being formed on-site with a hand powered press by the mid 1880s.

No concrete blocks from the 19th century look anything like those in the picture. They're likely from the teens through 20s.

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I always wondered about the term 'split' face. The name makes no sense.

'Rock' face, 'Broken Ashler' are more sensible.

Marc

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By the late 1920's block was pretty much standardized as 8x16. As Bill said, there were forms to produce block in the late 1800's. Sizes varied quite a bit, and odd stuff was not uncommon.

In 1895 it is still common to see some cut nails used for framing. I look for construction features (gas piping, nails, etc.) to try and get an idea of age.

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The ashlar face block was 8x16.

Wire nails.

Stamped, not cast butt hinges

No gas piping holes

Nicely milled and planed joists and sub floor

The rest of the place was covered in drywall and vinyl. It always reminds me of a corpse in a coffin. The person looks something like they used to, but they're not the same and there's no going back.

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...a neighbor of mine (civil engineer married to another one) built part of a house and garage with site-made CMU's they made by hand with wood slipforms and field stone, which were exposed on a face, 8x8x16. Heavy as could be and masons who laid them cursed the heavens, but they look ok after all.

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Chad,

I was reading some old publications about block the other day. From what I read, some blocks were being produced on a very limited basis as far back as about the 1850's, but not much as all until at least 1900. Seems like about 1906 was the real beginning of the industry. I save a few references to blocks about 8 to 10 inches by 24 to 32 inches long. The standardization came about in the 1920's.

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Here are a couple of good references:

Concrete-Block Manufacture-Processes and Machines

the manufacture of Concrete Blocks and their use in Building Construction

both published in 1906, written by H.H. Rice. Copies are on the web.

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