Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why Pompeii Brick Ovens

Each time I build a domed brick oven, I realize that I am spending a great deal of time and skill to build an ancient design.
The modern wood-fired ovens are by-and-large cast refractory or sprung arch brick ovens.  Each of these was developed when structural materials (castable refractory cement and iron superstructure) became part of industrial design.
The ovens I saw in excavated Pompeii were built without anything but brick. They have lasted thousands of years (and survived being buried under volcanic ash for centuries).
Having just finished two ovens this spring, I find there is a third reason for my effort: Domes are beautiful.

So each time I place the keystone at the top of a brick oven dome, I experience the satisfaction that artist and artisans feel when they put the last stitch or last stroke on their work.
These, all masonry ovens, will be around for centuries.

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