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History of Granite Use

Egyptians were the first known people to have used granite. The Great Pyramids of Cheops though built of limestone, were supposed to have been lined with a casing of smooth granite to give it an aesthetic appeal. Later over the years these were stolen to build homes and temples. Inside the pyramid the inner burial chamber of the Pharaoh was built totally of huge granite stones. Even today we can marvel at their craftsmanship, they were made to be so airtight you can’t even push paper through them.

The Romans saw many attributes to granite, durability, strength, and beauty. They paved their roads with granite. They also used granite in the construction of their famous public baths. Huge Roman columns too were made out of granite. One can still see them standing in the Pantheon in Rome. Better quarrying and fabrication techniques were discovered during the Renaissance period and this made people use granite more extensively in the building of homes, churches, palaces and monuments.

In India some of the oldest temples in the south are either entirely carved out of granite stone or built using granite bricks. The use of granite in ancient time in India was extensive and we see the examples even today in the excavations of old temples and buildings.

In the United Kingdom granite quarrying started in the late eighteenth century and was done on a large scale in the nineteenth century. The quarries were initially along the coastal regions, and the granite was transported by sea to the main urban areas. The major areas producing granite, Devon and Cornwall had been building homes and other building out of granite since pre-historic times. They eventually were shipping granite throughout the world. In 1817 the famous Waterloo Bridge was constructed out of Dart moor granite. Prince town granite was used for the construction of the London Bridge in 1831. In 1840 the retaining river embankments for the House of Parliament was built out of light gray granite from Devenshire. With the introduction of steam ships in the 1840, granite could be transported more easily and most of the docks throughout southern England were built out of the Cornish granite. From this time onwards granite was starting to be extensively used in building of monuments and buildings throughout southern England.

Britain has been home to granites, of variety of colors, vein patterns and textures. The quarries too were well known. For example the quarry in Aberdeen in 1741 was 90 meters deep and was known as “the deepest hole in Europe”.

 

The Granite Railway was one of the first railroads in the United States, built to carry granite from Quincy to a dock on the Neponset River in Milton, MA. From there boats carried the heavy stone to Charlestown for construction of the Bunker Hill Monument. The Granite Railway is popularly termed the first commercial railroad in the United States, as it was the first chartered railway to evolve into a common carrierwithout an intervening closure. The last active quarry closed in 1963; in 1985, the Metropolitan District Commission purchased 22 acres, including Granite Railway Quarry, as the Quincy Quarries Reservation.

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