Industry History

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.


A Concrete Masonry Check-off program will support the growth of the industry by educating designers, contractors, and installers as well as regulators, students, and owners about how to best take advantage of what concrete masonry has to offer. It will provide for significant and sustained research and development for existing and evolving concrete masonry products and systems, and it will enable the industry to better promote the product's benefits. The check-off program will leverage the combined strength of the entire concrete masonry industry while supplying the necessary funding to support industry initiatives and coordinate promotion at the local, state, regional and national levels.
(C) 2018, The Concrete Masonry Check-off Program Leadership Team