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Artificial Stone Technology

Updated:2013-08-30 16:24:31

Artificial stone technology, or the use of usually cheaper alternatives to stone, has been around for a long time and continues to find applications in building, garden ornamentation and even sculptural restoration and preservation.

                                                          

Early History
In ancient times, artificial stones was used as a facing when quarried stone was not readily available. The Egyptians used lime-and-gypsum plaster that was lined and painted to simulate the texture of stone to decorate the walls of their tombs. Romans used renders, or first coats of plaster, for a similar purpose on a greater variety of buildings. Roman plaster was more durable due to the incorporation of lime, pozzolana, volcanic ash additives, shreds of pottery and brick dust.
Applications
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Italian recipes for stucco included dusts, lime and glue for strength and the simulation of a stone appearance. Stucco work in 18th century neoclassical interiors was modeled to appear carved and a light blue-gray overpaint used to simulate stone block. The facades of neoclassical buildings used renders lined to look like stone entablatures, possible due to the development of cement formulas. Scagliola was a type of imitation marble used from the 16th century for tabletops and as a molding. In the 17th and 18th centuries. it was part of the design of Italian monasteries.
Popularity
Artificial stone achieved popularity in England in the 18th and 19th centuries due to a growing demand for durable architectural decoration and statuary. In the 19th century, there were approximately 25 British manufacturers of artificial stone for statuary and garden ornaments. The most successful producer of artificial stone ornament was Eleanor Coade's Coade Artificial Stone Manufactory, set up in Lambeth, London, in 1769. Coade stone was predominantly a mixture of clay, silica and grog of flint and feldspar. A formula developed by Stephen Pettifer is in use today for the restoration of damaged sculptures in Coade stone and other mediums.

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