Hollow-Tile Farm Buildings
reprinted from American Builder, February 1918
A good many farmers are coming around to the idea that it pays to invest a little bit more in a building at the start so as to get away from the upkeep expense later on. They are turning to clay tile more and more.
The building material dealers and the rural builders are lining up with the farmers on this proposition. The lumber dealers are carrying in stock a line of all the commonly used sizes, and the builders are finding out that it is no trick at all to lay up a tile wall and make a good job of it.
As far as profits are concerned, there is no reason for not pushing the tile farm building proposition and the pride and satisfaction one can take in a thoroughly first-class job is something not to be overlooked. Clay tile being an unburnable material, naturally appeals to a good many very strongly on the score of fire resistance. There is usually no way for a farmer to fight a fire, once it gets started, so a wall of unburnable material appeals to him.
A more practical consideration, however, is that of warmth and freedom from dampness which the impervious hollow tile gives to a farm building wall. Cold and dampness are the natural enemies of farm livestock. It is well nigh impossible to ventilate a cold, damp basement stable, yet ventilation is absolutely necessary for healthy stock and a profitable dairy business. Dairymen find hollow tile stables easy to ventilate.
Out in Iowa they are getting in to the habit of building not only barns, but also hog houses, poultry houses, corn cribs, implement sheds; in fact, all of the smaller miscellaneous farm buildings of hollow tile. There is no engineering problem at all involved in putting up these smaller buildings. Farmers do the work themselves — which, by the way, we don’t approve of; the farmer should stick to his farming and get the local carpenter and builder to handle his building requirements, then the job will be done right. But nevertheless, farmers have been laying up these smaller buildings and it has made them acquainted with this material and has given them a lot of confidence in it. They have gone ahead from the smaller buildings to large barns and community storehouses, for which work of course, they have employed experienced builders.
Silos of clay tile have become a familiar sight in almost every State of the Union. Some will say that it is the tile silo which has introduced hollow tile as a farm building material, and that the satisfactory service which the farmers have gotten from their silos has encouraged them to use hollow tile for their other buildings as well.
In fact, the circular type of construction using silo blocks, has been adapted to several other sorts of farm building: circular grain tanks, circular ice houses, circular milk houses and circular root cellars are quite common. Circular corn cribs are being built, and there are special ventilating blocks for this purpose; they let in the air but not the rain or snow. Round water tanks of clay tile are often seen, sometimes the tank being the upper part of the silo.