Term: concrete (architecture)
a construction method invented in the 1830s in which precast concrete blocks were made with hydraulic lime cast in wooden frames, dried solid like bricks, and laid up in mortar. In Wisconsin, this type of building material began in 1855 when John A. Messinger of Milwaukee and A. Foster of Portland (Dodge County) received a patent for an "improved building block composed of twelve parts sand to one part lime and pressed in moulds"; it is not known how actively they pursued the development of their patent. The first commercial manufacture of concrete blocks began in 1868 by the Frear Stone Manufacturing Company of Chicago. These and other commercially manufactured block were turned out by metal presses with hollow cores, which produced a light, insulated, moisture resistant block that was cheaper than stone and stronger than brick. By the turn of the century concrete block presses were being commercially manufactured, engendering a wide application of concrete blocks until the end of their popularity in the 1930s. View more information elsewhere at wisconsinhistory.org
View pictures relating to architecture at Wisconsin Historical Images.
[Source: Cultural Resource Management in Wisconsin (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986).]