Artificial stone

Last updated
German doorway in cast stone Betonsteinwerk 02 Hildastrasse Freiburg i. B.JPG
German doorway in cast stone

Artificial stone is a name for various synthetic stone products produced from the 18th century onward. Uses include statuary, architectural details, fencing and rails, building construction, civil engineering work, and industrial applications such as grindstones.



The South Bank Lion in Coade stone, at the south end of Westminster Bridge, London Lion on south bank 01.jpg
The South Bank Lion in Coade stone, at the south end of Westminster Bridge, London

One of the earliest examples of artificial stone was Coade stone (originally called Lithodipyra), a ceramic created by Eleanor Coade (1733–1821), and produced from 1769 to 1833. Later, in 1844, Frederick Ransome created a Patent Siliceous Stone, which comprised sand and powdered flint in an alkaline solution. [1] By heating it in an enclosed high-temperature steam boiler the siliceous particles were bound together and could be moulded or worked into filtering slabs, vases, tombstones, decorative architectural work, emery wheels and grindstones.

This was followed by Victoria stone, which comprises three parts finely-crushed Mountsorrel (Leicestershire) granite to one of Portland cement, mechanically mixed and cast in moulds. When set the moulds are loosened and the blocks placed in a solution of silicate of soda for about two weeks to indurate and harden them. [2] Many manufacturers turned out a very non-porous product able to resist corrosive sea air and industrial and residential air pollution. [3]

A plaque set in the concrete of a sidewalk on Columbia Avenue in Cape May, New Jersey, USA. It reads "Artificial Stone Vulcanite Paving Co, Office 1902 Green St, Philada" [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA]. It probably dates to the late 19th or early 20th centuries. (The concrete that currently surrounds it is not the original sidewalk.) Artificial Stone Vulcanite Paving Co placard.jpg
A plaque set in the concrete of a sidewalk on Columbia Avenue in Cape May, New Jersey, USA. It reads "Artificial Stone Vulcanite Paving Co, Office 1902 Green St, Philada" [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA]. It probably dates to the late 19th or early 20th centuries. (The concrete that currently surrounds it is not the original sidewalk.)

Most later types of artificial stone have consisted of fine-aggregate cement concrete placed to set in wooden or iron moulds. [3] It could be made more cheaply and more uniform than natural stone, and was widely used. In engineering projects, it had the advantage that transporting the bulk materials and casting them near the place of use was cheaper than transporting very large pieces of stone.

Modern cast stone is an architectural concrete building unit manufactured to simulate natural cut stone, used in unit masonry applications. Cast stone is a masonry product, used as an architectural feature, trim, ornament or facing for buildings or other structures. Cast stone can be made from white and/or grey cements, manufactured or natural sands, carefully selected crushed stone or well graded natural gravels and mineral coloring pigments to achieve the desired colour and appearance while maintaining durable physical properties which exceed most natural cut building stones. Cast stone is an excellent replacement for natural cut limestone, brownstone, sandstone, bluestone, granite, slate, coral rock, travertine and other natural building stones.

Engineered stone

Engineered stone is the latest development of artificial stone. A mix of marble or quartz powder, resin, and pigment is cast using vacuum oscillation to form blocks. Slabs are then produced by cutting, grinding, and polishing. Some factories have developed a special, low-viscosity, high-strength polyester resin to improve hardness, strength, and gloss and to reduce water absorption.

Engineered marbles are most commonly used as flooring for large commercial projects, but unlike terazzo are not cast on site. Engineered quartz is widely used in the developed world for counter tops, window sills, and floor and wall coverings.

The vast majority of engineered stone companies are located in Greater China, India, and its birthplace in Italy.[ citation needed ] One form invented in the early 1980s is Bretonstone.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brick</span> Block or a single unit of a ceramic material used in masonry construction

A brick is a type of construction material used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term brick denotes a unit primarily composed of clay, but is now also used informally to denote units made of other materials or other chemically cured construction blocks. Bricks can be joined using mortar, adhesives or by interlocking. Bricks are usually produced at brickworks in numerous classes, types, materials, and sizes which vary with region, and are produced in bulk quantities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Concrete</span> Composite construction material

Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens (cures) over time. Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its usage worldwide, ton for ton, is twice that of steel, wood, plastics, and aluminium combined. Globally, the ready-mix concrete industry, the largest segment of the concrete market, is projected to exceed $600 billion in revenue by 2025. This widespread use results in a number of environmental impacts. Most notably, the production process for cement produces large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to net 8% of global emissions. Other environmental concerns include widespread illegal sand mining, impacts on the surrounding environment such as increased surface runoff or urban heat island effect, and potential public health implications from toxic ingredients. Significant research and development is being done to try to reduce the emissions or make concrete a source of carbon sequestration, and increase recycled and secondary raw materials content into the mix to achieve a circular economy. Concrete is expected to be a key material for structures resilient to climate disasters, as well as a solution to mitigate the pollution of other industries, capturing wastes such as coal fly ash or bauxite tailings and residue.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cement</span> Hydraulic binder used in the composition of mortar and concrete

A cement is a binder, a chemical substance used for construction that sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together. Cement is seldom used on its own, but rather to bind sand and gravel (aggregate) together. Cement mixed with fine aggregate produces mortar for masonry, or with sand and gravel, produces concrete. Concrete is the most widely used material in existence and is behind only water as the planet's most-consumed resource.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Masonry</span> Building of structures from individual units of stone, bricks, or blocks

Masonry is the craft of building a structure with brick, stone, or similar material, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the building units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are bricks and building stone such as marble, granite, and limestone, cast stone, concrete blocks, glass blocks, and adobe. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction. However, the materials used, the quality of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can substantially affect the durability of the overall masonry construction. A person who constructs masonry is called a mason or bricklayer. These are both classified as construction trades.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stonemasonry</span> Creation of buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone

Stonemasonry or stonecraft is the creation of buildings, structures, mason, and sculpture using stone as the primary material. It is one of the oldest activities and professions in human history. Many of the long-lasting, ancient shelters, temples, monuments, artifacts, fortifications, roads, bridges, and entire cities were built of stone. Famous works of stonemasonry include the Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Cusco's Incan Wall, Easter Island's statues, Angkor Wat, Borobudur, Tihuanaco, Tenochtitlan, Persepolis, the Parthenon, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, Chartres Cathedral, and the Stari Most.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terrazzo</span> Cementitious composite material, usually used in flooring

Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable material, poured with a cementitious binder, polymeric, or a combination of both. Metal strips often divide sections, or changes in color or material in a pattern. Additional chips may be sprinkled atop the mix before it sets. After it is cured it is ground and polished smooth or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface. "Terrazzo" is also often used to describe any pattern similar to the original terrazzo floors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scagliola</span> Type of fine plaster

Scagliola is a type of fine plaster used in architecture and sculpture. The same term identifies the technique for producing columns, sculptures, and other architectural elements that resemble inlays in marble. The scagliola technique came into fashion in 17th-century Tuscany as an effective substitute for costly marble inlays, the pietra dura works created for the Medici family in Florence. The use of scagliola declined in the 20th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ferrocement</span>

Ferrocement or ferro-cement is a system of construction using reinforced mortar or plaster applied over an "armature" of metal mesh, woven, expanded metal, or metal-fibers, and closely spaced thin steel rods such as rebar. The metal commonly used is iron or some type of steel, and the mesh is made with wire with a diameter between 0.5 mm and 1 mm. The cement is typically a very rich mix of sand and cement in a 3:1 ratio; when used for making boards, no gravel is used, so that the material is not concrete.

A binder or binding agent is any material or substance that holds or draws other materials together to form a cohesive whole mechanically, chemically, by adhesion or cohesion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dimension stone</span> Natural stone that has been finished to specific sizes and shapes

Dimension stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and finished to specific sizes or shapes. Color, texture and pattern, and surface finish of the stone are also normal requirements. Another important selection criterion is durability: the time measure of the ability of dimension stone to endure and to maintain its essential and distinctive characteristics of strength, resistance to decay, and appearance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Plasterwork</span> Construction or ornamentation done in plaster or a similar material

Plasterwork is construction or ornamentation done with plaster, such as a layer of plaster on an interior or exterior wall structure, or plaster decorative moldings on ceilings or walls. This is also sometimes called pargeting. The process of creating plasterwork, called plastering or rendering, has been used in building construction for centuries. For the art history of three-dimensional plaster, see stucco.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Countertop</span>

A countertop, also counter top, counter, benchtop, worktop or kitchen bench, bunker is a raised, firm, flat, and horizontal surface. They are built for work in kitchens or other food preparation areas, bathrooms or lavatories, and workrooms in general. The surface is frequently installed upon and supported by cabinets, positioned at an ergonomic height for the user and the particular task for which it is designed. A countertop may be constructed of various materials with different attributes of functionality, durability and aesthetics, and may have built-in appliances, or accessory items relative to the intended application.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Engineered stone</span> Composite material

Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive to create a solid surface, (most commonly polymer resin, with some newer versions using cement mix). This category includes engineered quartz (SiO2), polymer concrete and engineered marble stone. The application of these products depends on the original stone used. For engineered marbles the most common application is indoor flooring and walls, while the quartz based product is used primarily for kitchen countertops as an alternative to laminate or granite. Related materials include geopolymers and cast stone. Unlike terrazzo, the material is factory made in either blocks or slabs, cut and polished by fabricators, and assembled at the worksite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stone veneer</span>

Stone veneer is a thin layer of any stone used as decorative facing material that is not meant to be load bearing. Stone cladding is a stone veneer, or simulated stone, applied to a building or other structure made of a material other than stone. Stone cladding is sometimes applied to concrete and steel buildings as part of their original architectural design.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pozzolan</span> Siliceous volcanic ashes commonly used as supplementary cementitious material

Pozzolans are a broad class of siliceous and aluminous materials which, in themselves, possess little or no cementitious value but which will, in finely divided form and in the presence of water, react chemically with calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) at ordinary temperature to form compounds possessing cementitious properties. The quantification of the capacity of a pozzolan to react with calcium hydroxide and water is given by measuring its pozzolanic activity. Pozzolana are naturally occurring pozzolans of volcanic origin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cast stone</span> Material simulating natural stone

Cast stone or reconstructed stone is a highly refined building material, a form of precast concrete used as masonry intended to simulate natural-cut stone. It is used for architectural features: trim, or ornament; facing buildings or other structures; statuary; and for garden ornaments. Cast stone can be made from white and/or grey cements, manufactured or natural sands, crushed stone or natural gravels, and colored with mineral coloring pigments. Cast stone may replace such common natural building stones as limestone, brownstone, sandstone, bluestone, granite, slate, coral, and travertine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Decorative concrete</span>

Decorative concrete is the use of concrete as not simply a utilitarian medium for construction but as an aesthetic enhancement to a structure, while still serving its function as an integral part of the building itself such as floors, walls, driveways, and patios.

Frederick Ransome (1818–1893) was a British inventor and industrialist, creator of Ransome's artificial stone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Solid surface</span> Artificial material used for countertops

Solid surface is a man-made material usually composed of a combination of alumina trihydrate (ATH), acrylic, epoxy or polyester resins and pigments. It is most frequently used for seamless countertop installations.

Bretonstone, also known as vibro-compression under vacuum, is a patented technology invented in the early-1970s by Breton S.p.A.


  1. Robertson, J. C. (1845). "Specifications of Recent English Patents". The Mechanics' Magazine. London: James Bounsall. 42: 441.
  2. Latham, Frank (21 August 2014). The Construction of Roads, Paths and Sea Defences. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   9781108072090 via Google Books.
  3. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Bartlett, James (1911). "Stone". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 958–960.