Classic Rock Face Rusticated Concrete Sears Block Farm Barn Silo Ad

Rock Face Block on the Farm

Not only is rock face (rusticated) concrete block found on homes and commercial buildings across the country, it was also frequently used to construct farm buildings during the early 20th century.  Makers of the block machines specifically targeted farmers, encouraging them to use rock face block to construct their barns and outbuildings, AND to do it themselves. 

Iowa Barn Skirted with Rock Face Block Photo Courtesy of The Iowa Barn Foundation
Classic Rock Face Block Farm Building with Stone face
Barn Constructed Using Rock Face Block
Ad Silo Barn Block Sears Concrete Historic Rusticated Rock Face
Silo Bar Catalog Ad For Sears
Rock Face Concrete Block Dairy Barn in Indiana Photo Courtesy of Tom Russo | Daily Reporter
Shed Milk Farm Block Sears Concrete Rusticated Face Rock Classic
Milk House Made From Rock Face Block | Photo Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society

As we have discussed in previous blogs, concrete block construction was promoted as an easy, cheap, and durable building material that anyone could make themselves.  One of the largest manufacturers of these block machines and kit homes, Sears, Roebuck & Co, also created kit plans for barns and other farm outbuildings using concrete block. Even Portland Cement joined in marketing cement and concrete block use for pretty much any structure you could find on a farm.

Catalog Cement Portland Block Concrete Rusticated Face Rock Classic
Informational Booklet from Portland Cement

One of the biggest benefits of using concrete block for farm structures was its fire resistance.  Barn fires destroyed many a farm and was a huge concern for every farmer.  Sears even went as far as to explain to potential buyers that their fire insurance rates would be lower with a concrete structure.  Other benefits to using concrete block for farm buildings was its weather resistance, its low maintenance and insulating properties.

Fireproof Cement Portland Ad Block Concrete Rusticated
Picture of a Barn Fire from a Portland Cement Catalog

Sears sold machines that made blocks specifically for corn cribs with slanting holes in the sides to allow for airflow, but prevent water from entering the structure.  They sold machines that made curved blocks for building silos and circular barns.  The company also sold instructions on how construct any of these buildings on your own.

Silo Barn Block Farm Sears Concrete Rusticated Rock Face Classic
Silo Made From Rock Face Block
Round Barn Made of Rock Face Block | Photo Courtesy of the Iowa Barn Foundation
Silo Sears Barn Farm Block Concrete Rusticated Face Rock Classic
Corn Crib Blocks Allowed Air In and Kept Rain Out
Silo Round Barn Curved Block Sears Concrete Rusticated Face Rock Classic
Curved Blocks Were Used For Silos and Round Barns