The first mortars were made from mud or clay. These materials were used because of availability and low cost. The Egyptians utilized gypsum mortars to lubricate the beds of large stones when they were being moved into position(ref. i). However, these materials did not perform well in the presence of high levels of humidity and water.
It was discovered that limestone, when burnt and combined with water, produced a material that would harden with age. The earliest documented use of lime as a construction material was approximately 4000 B.C. when it was used in Egypt for plastering the pyramids(ref. ii). The beginning of the use of lime in mortars is not clear. It is well documented, however, that the Roman Empire used lime based mortars extensively. Vitruvius, a Roman architect, provided basic guidelines for lime mortar mixes(ref. iii).
The Masons Company sets itself apart from all others in its commitment to historic restoration and preservation. With their passion and deep devotion to the fundamentals, these craftsmen are genuine relics to the craft of masonry
A panoramic view across the Kansas city’s landscape provides a mystifying enchantment when a closer look is taken among the architecture. An undeniable reason appears for the seer to pause and marvel in delight as fountains flow, providing magic for all.
An iconic and integral part of Kansas City’s past, present and future is fountains. The ‘City of Fountains‘ is a name aptly bestowed upon our municipality. In 1899, the very first city-built fountain in Kansas City cost $12,000. The only city in the world to have more registered fountains is Rome, Italy.
Kansas City’s own The Masons Co., “The Keeper of the Paris of the Plains,’ is the Midwest’s premier custom fountain builder. We are proud to include KU Medical Center and Benedictine College as past clients. Having created and built fountains and water features for numerous companies, organizations and for many private residences, The Masons Co. implements the type of skilled masonry craftsmanship that is pivotal to a long-lasting fountain whose magnificence is timeless.
These craftsmen embrace delivering a unique, innovative and stunning creation to each client, that he or she will be immensely proud to own. The Masons Co. also maintains and repairs fountains and restores historic ones while maintaining each piece’s integrity and majesty.
At the frenetic pace in which homes and buildings are being remodeled and sold in Kansas City, its troubling that many of these flips eventually turn into flops. Renovating historic industrial buildings and turning them into condos is a hot trend as pockets of downtown are being sought out by investors for future urban core desiring dwellers.
Rejuvenation is essential to cities and vital to their renaissance. And there’s always such excitement walking into a recently renovated home or condominium and soaking in all of the newness. Unfortunately, the bones are often overlooked, especially ones that could be broken. When the brick or stone facade begins to falter, it becomes painfully clear that time and care should have been utilized when the modernization was being implemented.
Restoration, especially historic, takes the process one step deeper. It peels back the layers that are damaged and rebuilds from the property’s true integrity.
The Masons Company sets itself apart from all others in it’s commitment to historic restoration and preservation. With their passion and deep devotion to the fundamentals, these craftsmen are genuine relics to the craft of masonry.
J.C. Nichols‘ remarkable development of the Country Club residential district was unique in that he used irregular lots with shapes that were defined by curving streets that followed the terrain, instead of the usual grid plan of rectangular blocks. Landscape architect George Kessler provided a street plan that incorporated small parks and triangles into his Nichols’ ideal design.
On one of those triangular plats, the enchanting Stratford Garden Park Fountain still sits today. In 1927 the Nichols Company placed an antique Carrara marble horse trough there as the main focal point of the historic fountain. The relic was reportedly first used in a public square in Rome. Affixed to an upright wall surface, a smaller rectangular basin is placed above it. This piece was originally used to refresh humans waiting on their animals to drink.
Both basins are carved with ornamental fluting. Two openings in this upper basin allow water to stream into the larger trough. The water flows out of a spout in the center of the horse trough and then it is carried through a stone-lined channel approximately thirty feet to terminate in a circular reflecting pool which is six feet in diameter.
Kansas City Masonry / The Masons Company is a custom contractor that restores, repairs, preserves, designs and builds residential and commercial fountains with a passion for architecture detail and absolute function.
These historical fountain repairs are complex projects, because they’re both works of art and works of engineering that are constantly at the mercy of mother nature. The Craft.
Feeling incomplete because of missing stones or bricks? Troubled by bowing or bulging walls? Plagued by mortar joints or vertical corner cracks?
The answer isto hire an experienced, reputable and smart Kansas City masonry company. But the answer is two-fold and the second part of the answer is to make sure that the contractor has the knowledge and esoteric masonic understanding to analyze the root cause of complex masonry problems and act accordingly.
Many masonry repairs fail prematurely because they do not address the primary cause of distress or failure. And where repairs fail, they tend to make deterioration worse. If you only fix the symptoms – that is what you see on the surface – the problem will almost certainly return, and need fixing over and over again. If you look deeper to figure out what’s causing the problem, you can fix the underlying systems and processes so that it goes away for good.
Kansas City Masonry / The Masons Co. is the region’s preeminent leader in looking deeper and determining the crucial steps in masonry repair and historic restoration.
The Preservation of Historic Glazed Architectural Terracotta from the medieval associations of tradesmen.
Terracotta was treasured as a design component for centuries because of its durability as a construction material and its beauteous and opulent demeanor. Weighing roughly one tenth as much as stone, terracotta can be molded and fired at high temperatures to a hardness and compactness comparable to that of brick. As styles evolved and manufacturing costs increased, terracotta was used less often. In the late 1800’s, there were more than 100 terracotta manufacturers in the United States. Today, there are fewer than 10.The scarcity of qualified manufacturers and skilled craftspeople can present threats to the ongoing maintenance and restoration of historic terracotta.
An array of challenges await the restoration contractor , especially when the project calls for historical preservation. Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Inc. has the experience, expertise and architectural knowledge to cautiously remove the existing historically important elements, record their position in the facade, rebuild the unit if distressed, and work closely with a recognized terracotta manufacturer to fabricate a replica of same dimensional size and glazing finish.
It is critically important to use a contractor who intimately understands all facets of terra cotta in a masonry aspect. Kansas City Masonryis that company.
There is nothing freer than chalk, the slightest touch of which leaves its trace.
Masonry, which includes stone, brick, terracotta, and block, is found in some capacity on almost all historic buildings and many historic homes. Although customarily considered steadfast, masonry is subject to deterioration, especially at the mortar joints. Repointing is the process of removing deteriorated or distressed mortar from joints between masonry units and installing new mortar into the joints. Proper Kansas City masonry repointing can last 25 to 30 years, however, improper repointing will do little to extend the life of the masonry and may lead to irreversible damage to masonry units.
Kansas City Masonry/the Masons Co is adamant about historically accurate restoration and preservation. Masters in the art of evaluating the masonry needs of historical homes and buildings, the contractor has an esoteric understanding of how old and new products and methods react with each other over a period time. We determine the areas needing repointing, choose the proper techniques for mortar removal, select the appropriate mortar and execute the repointing work as skilled tradesmen who take great pride in their craft.
Properly done, repointing restores the visual and physical integrity of the masonry, thus standing up to time and it’s elements. Kansas City Masonry / The Masons Inc. is the regions premier masonry company, providing service to both residential and commercial clients in the fields of design, installation, repair, restoration and preservation. Everything from historical properties to brand new builds and all that lie in between, our appreciation for true architecture never wavers.
Definition of ‘Trade Union’: Labour unions or trade unions are organizations formed by workers from related fields that work for the common interest of its members. The key phrase is ”common interest of its members” with little to no mention of quality and workmanship . Workmanship has been moving further and further down the supply chain since the Trade Union Act of 1871, which had given the unions legal status and thereby allowed them to take over the training and social functions which the Guild had previously enjoyed
Masonry projects are a balance between cost, time and quality. It is possible to have high quality and low cost, but at the expense of time, and conversely to have high quality and a fast project, but at a cost. If both time and money are restricted, then quality is likely to suffer.
Workmanship has come under particular scrutiny recently as building regulations, and trade union wages have become more onerous and the standard of specification has increased. As a result, low-quality workmanship and materials are the norm.
Operative Wages: CornWine Oil. Corn, wine and oil were the Masonic wages of our ancient brethren.
Corn, wine and oil were the wages paid our ancient brethren, they were the “master’s wages” in the days of King Solomon. Masons of this day receive no material wages for their labors; the work done is paid for only in coin of the heart and for the craft, but those wages are no less real. How much we receive today and what we do with our wages depends entirely on our Masonic work.
The Masons Co Inc is resurrecting Guild masonry before all of the secret methods, traditions and practices are lost forever. Our focus is on preserving the strong links between medieval operative masonry and today’s Craft masonry which should be preserved.
For all of us then, corn, then wine and then oil are symbols of sacrifice, of the fruits of labor, of wages earned. No doubt the charge administered to all Masons and which contains the following clause accounts for the loss of many members of our Society in today’s Trade Unionism.
Lime mortar is a type of mortar composed of lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to Ancient Egyptian construction.
Lime mortars were the norm for centuries, and the secret of the perfect mix for any given situation was passed from father to son and from craftsman to apprentice over generations; the techniques also varied considerably across the country to suit the nature and performance of predominantly locally-sourced materials. There were few textbooks and no formal training. It was a matter of tradition and instinct supplemented by generations of experiment and sound experience.
This chain of knowledge was severely interrupted by the First World War and the near-universal adoption thereafter of stronger, faster-setting and consistent (but not always appropriate) cement-based mortars. To a large extent, today’s craftsmen have had to rebuild that knowledge base from scratch. But what if we have placed too much trust, and not enough understanding, in surviving texts, rather than analyzing the sound evidence of centuries-mortar— http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/mythmix/mythmix.htm
Is there anything freer than chalk?
Where does one get one’s Cement?
That Cement is Brotherly Love and Affection comes from “Heart Work.” This is a major focus of the operative . With its focus upon Values, Morality, Divestment and Investment, Masonic Cement is slowly but surely created by the Masons so doing this Work.
But isn’t Cement just “Symbolic?” Speculative Speaking
Masons might assume that all this Masonic Cement talk is just Symbolic. They might assume that a literal translation would ever readily present itself should Masons try to find it within some Ritual. And should such Masons ever assume that Masonic Cement is just Symbolic, they would be very wrong.
Investigating the compounds necessary to bring about Cement requires exploration into the many types of Cements commonly used over the years. There are multitudes of mixtures that have been used in the past with the most widely spread formula being those used in Ordinary Portland Cement. The basic compounds that produce OPC come from limestone, alumina, silica and ferric sources. When properly prepared and appropriately mixed together with water, it creates a viscous fluid that readily hardens into solids with the utmost of Integrity.
Interestingly enough, the compounds required to create Cement are mentioned within Lectures throughout the World. Moreover, it is amazing to this Mason that it is a rare operative mason who knows this, especially since the Cement of Brotherly Love and Affection is such an overly emphasized articulation echoed throughout Masonic Work.
Let’s explore the making of Cement and see if you might guess where the “ingredients” are hidden within Operative Ritual.
One step toward making Cement is to take Limestone and remove Carbon Dioxide from it. This is usually done by breaking the material up and subjecting it to an intense heat source. At temperatures of 900 degrees centigrade, lime is created. Removal occurs more quickly at 1000 degrees though. Higher temperatures are counterproductive since something called, “dead-burn” lime is created which is nonreactive for Cement production purposes.
Coincidentally, charcoal burns at 1100 degrees centigrade. With this temperature being achieved, it can easily be used to raise the temperature of limestone to the necessary tipping point where it gives up its carbon dioxide. Doing so creates a compound called “Lime” or Calcium Oxide. This compound is used to create Lime Mortar, Roman Cement(1) and OPC.
For those of you who might not make the connection, Limestone is common Chalk.
Chalk, Charcoal, and Clay Chalk by Anthony A Reyes