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History Of Lime

LIME is a white or grayish white solid which has many applications and is a major aspect and support in construction and building trade. It is a natural mineral product which is in use from ancient period for traditional building & monuments. Almost from 14000 years, many historical monuments and buildings like Pyramid of Cheops, Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, The Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Pantheon in Rome, Second National Bank Building, Toledo, Ohio, Equitable building, New York City, Dam, White Salmon River, State of Washington, Concrete Road, Garret co., Maryland, Armory, York, PA, Leader- News Building, Cleveland, Ohio, Eddystone Lighthouse and to list many more wonderful buildings have been built using lime.

Pyramid of Cheops Taj Mahal The Great Wall of China
The Pyramid at Chichen Itza Pantheon in Rome Second National Bank Building
Toledo Equitable building New York City
Dam White Salmon River Concreate Road
Armory White Salmon River Leader- News Building
Cleveland Eddystone Lighthouse  

Lime is used in buildings for its nature of composition like its plasticity, compatibility with stone and brick. The production of lime is very simple; it is made by burning limestone which produces quick lime which is again slaked with water. A putty or powder is formed which is then mixed with sand to make mortars, renders and plasters.

Lime is in great demand for many manufacturing companies as it is used in their products composition. Also there is a huge amount of raw materials like limestone, chalk, marbel, coral and shell available and the technology used in the production of lime is also very simple.For the above and many reasons, Lime is considered to be an essential and valued material for traditional buildings across the world.There are different types of limes available; they are Natural Hydraulic Lime, Lime Putty, Lime Mortars, The Lime Cycle, Lime wash and Lime treat.

Lime can be used in different forms as mortar, render, plaster, slurry and washes which come from lime stone. When lime stone is burned at high temperature and combined with clay, it produces a mixture called quick lime, cement material and an inert material. These limes are slaked with water to transform quicklime to calcium hydroxide.The two main types of lime mortars are used in lime plastering. These mortars are Lime Putty (Non Hydraulic Lime) and Hydraulic Lime.

Lime-Putty (Non-hydraulic lime)

Lime putty or Non-hydraulic lime is lime in its purest form. Generally lime is an excellent material which is used to have a strong affect when mixed with stones or bricks. Lime putty can be ideal for usage in plastering, pointing and repairs to the bricks.

Hydraulic lime

Hydraulic lime is not as pure as when compared to the Lime- Putty. It cans be able to set under water. Its unique characteristics are the result of the impurities of the silica and clay in the limestone. Hydraulic lime is considered to be the most popular material is used in buildings since ancient times of Roman and Greeks.

History of Lime

Getting into the evolution of Lime, we get to know one greatest creation of nature and its composition which is nothing but LIME STONE underneath water in the ocean. Lime stone is formed in the oceanic environment. Its origination is from the biological marine life and shelled creatures that lived in deep in the ocean and died.With constant action of pressure and heat in the ocean bed, these shells were buried deep into the ground. Through ages, they formed into different shapes and patterns that together formed our much known rock called as LIME STONE.

Today, we have a good history to share about the Lime Stone and its uses. Our history reveals that since ages we have been using lime in one or other forms for the benefits it encompasses. In ancient times lime was used for the shelters, cooking purposes and buildings monuments. As against the fire for cooking, Lime stone was also mixed with water, which invented putty like mass basing to its chemical reaction.The putty like mass then formed a plasticized lime which on cooling was molded and applied to the framework of reed and fabric, it formed walls and ceiling which inherently help people against climatic conditions and prevent them heat, cold, sun and precipitation.

Circa 7500 B.C.:
Most of the ancient people made plaster from lime and unheated crushed limestone. They used those materials to cover their walls, floors and hearth in their homes. There was a wide usage of the lime in their living rooms and they even decorated their homes with crushed colored stones by making then into powder.

Circa 4000 B.C.
The great pyramids at Giza were building with the usage of Lime by Egyptians. They proved their excellence by using lime to plaster them. They have even built many religious temples using lime in its composition.

753 B.C. - 535 A.D.
Romans have used lime in their building and homes very extensively. As for the knowledge Romans possesses regarding Lime, its benefits and its usage. With passing times, Romans discovered the different and beneficial usage of lime as a mortar and its usage as a decorative finishing material.

With growing Roman Empire, Romans had a great influence on the architects and structures through the civilized world. More and more people learned about the benefits and usages of Lime. They incorporated it into their architectural ideas.

One famous architect in his book wrote that a structure must exhibit three qualities of firmitas, utilitas, and venustas which means it’s strong, durable, useful and beautiful. He was so fond of Lime that he has praised in whole chapter about the uniqueness of Lime. Because lime was used in so many classic Roman structures and monuments which still stand, Rome richly earned its appellation: The Eternal City.

Ca. 400 A.D.–1100 A.D.
Though the practice of building with lime was glimmering, it was still under the lime light. During this period, there was teeter in the civilization which resulted in throwing art and architecture into shadows, but the uniqueness of lime did not die for long. People continued to build dwellings with lime, as for its unique properties and qualities.

Ca. 1300 A.D.–1800 A.D.
Coming to the middle ages, Europe widely accepted the unique and beneficial LIME in their main building material. They trusted lime was an important element as a plaster and paint décor which protects them from wildness of climate.

14th century
Through out 14th century, southeast England used lime as the prime material for decorative structures. The artisans who used trowels applied decorative lime plaster to the exterior of timber-
Framed structures. Lime was widely used for molded and ornamental plaster work.

15th Century
During the Renaissance, lime made an explosive revival in the plastering and painting arts. In the mid-15th century, artisans from Venice created a new type of external facing called Marmorino, made by applying lime directly onto terra cotta brick and lime-mortar bases. Craftsmen developed other impressive techniques with applied lime plaster work.

18th century
The 18th century caused the renewed interest in innovative external plasters. Some builders attempted to introduce oil mastics in plasters but had little luck in gaining support.
Some time later, clay limes—non-pure hydraulic limes—were introduced to set mortar in underwater conditions. Builders intended these limes to feature a higher hydraulic set than higher calcium and magnesium limes.

1900 A.D. present
With increasing development of artificial cements in the 19th century and industrial Revolution unfolding, most of the builders were looking for a mortar that could set fast with increased strength.

Those properties were inherent in hydraulic lime which gave shape to the introduction of what we all know today as Portland cement.The popularity of Portland cement has changed the entire concept of using the age old tradition of pure lime composition.
With industrial developments on vast scale, it gained steam, and people also were demanding buildings to go up faster and faster. But today, after having known the fact about these structures made from non-permeable cements are cracking and failing and falling before us in front of our eyes. SO what do we do now, on whom do we depend now?? A BIG question all together.

Do not worry and panic, we are still having the things in our holds, we have LIME which has proven its excellence from past to present for it’s durable, useful, and aesthetic construction compactness. Believe it or not the reasons why we use LIME in our building material as a mortar and for decorative art remain VALID TODAY.


Our commitment to quality prompts us to establish a R & D Laboratory - Vijaya Laboratory under technical guidance from National Council for Cement and Building Materials (N.C.B.) New Delhi.


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