History of the Industry
The concrete block industry has mass produced products used in construction of wall systems in this country since the invention of the first block machine in the 1830’s.
Even before that time, concrete masonry blocks were made using wooden molds. These units were usually a solid block and due to shipping capabilities at the time were used for construction projects close to the point of manufacture.
Harmon S. Palmer patented a concrete block machine in 1900 in the United States. During the past 100 years, manufacture of concrete masonry units (CMU) has evolved from a hand cast process to a highly automated one.
Single molds compacted by hand gave way to ganged molds that travel on assembly lines in high-tech manufacturing facilities. These changes have not only made concrete masonry affordable, they have led to excellent quality control and uniformity of units.
Since then, the concrete block – or concrete masonry unit -- has continued to increase in popularity because of the product’s durability and economy.
The product has continued to evolve, with major changes size, shape, texture, and appearance. Today concrete masonry units are used in virtually every type of building construction in the United States.