Making History with “Modern” Impressionist Brick!

For millennia, people around the world have been creating bricks of all shapes and sizes, using materials readily at hand. Did you know historians have dated brick found in southern Turkey to 7000 BC? In Europe, buildings erected in the 16th and 17th centuries are commonplace and still occupied. One of the first recorded brick products is Roman brick. Used in ancient Roman architecture, this distinct brick featured longer and flatter dimensions compared to today’s standard brick.

In the early 20th century, Roman brick resurfaced in the United States with typical dimensions of 12″ wide x 2″ high x 4″ deep . Our world-famous designer Frank Lloyd Wright used Roman brick for the Robie House in Chicago (see picture below; one of his well-known Prairie style homes) in 1909. Many of Wright’s iconic designs feature these long, clean architectural lines. (Image from:




More than 100 years later, General Shale has revived Roman brick with the introduction of Impressionist Brick  – an elongated, modern brick that is the perfect way to execute designs of the 21st century. This super sleek product features a very low, 1-5/8″ face height which provides clean, contemporary lines that other clay bricks simply can’t achieve. We’ve also designed very long lengths – up to 20-1/8″ to accentuate a linear finish; Impressionist Brick comes in random lengths which guarantees a unique finished look.

To give designers an inspiring range of options, we’re offering a full array of tones, from light to dark, plus traditional reddish colors. What an inspired and dramatic choice for modern residential or commercial buildings! In addition to six colors, Impressionist Brick features smooth and wire-cut texture options.

At General Shale, we cherish the character of historic brick. So much so, that we have a brick museum! Please visit our Museum of Ancient Brick located in the lobby of our Johnson City, Tennessee headquarters – it’s free and open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (If you have a group of five or larger, please call for a reservation: 423-282-4661).

If you are looking for a longer excursion, you might visit the Gray Fossil Site and Museum. You can check out our General Shale brick sculptures there. Plus, enjoy a hands on experience of digging for fossils and special events including exciting exhibits and movie nights. For group reservations, call 423-439-3662.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and perhaps a few museum visits? If you have any questions about our new Impressionist Brick, please contact your local dealer.