Victorian Construction Tools

Written by missy farage
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Victorian Construction Tools
The Victorian period was an age of exploration in architecture. (night time Victoriana image by Robert Kelly from

The Victorian period, June 1873 to January 1901, is notorious for the emergence of many new architecture styles. Some of the most infamous architectural styles during the Victorian period include the Jacobethan style, Renaissance Revival, Neo-Grec, Romanesque Revival and the Queen Anne style. During this time of exploration in architecture, the Victorians relied upon many tools to manipulate unintuitive building materials such as different stones, iron and steel.

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Handmade Bricks

Handmade bricks were some of the most important tools during the Victorian period. Bricks were hand made and fired either at the construction site or created at a remote location then transported to the site via railways. Teams of brick makers worked to mine clay, press it into moulds, transfer the bricks to pallets and dry them for days before firing them in the kiln. Because many buildings were made out of bricks and mortar during the Victorian period, the bricks themselves were valuable construction tools.


To complement the increased use of handmade bricks, one of the most important tools used by Victorian construction workers was a mortar trowel. This simple tool consists of a flat piece of metal, triangular or square, that is used to spread mortar between bricks. Trowels are still used today in brick construction.


Chisels were very important tools during the Victorian period, used to shape the stones prior to and during the construction of buildings. The chisels used ranged in size and material depending on the task they would perform. Large chisels were used in conjunction with mallets to make stone bricks for the construction of walls, while smaller chisels were used by highly skilled artists to embellish stone architecture with intricate designs.


Due to the increased height of buildings being constructed during the Victorian era, scaffolding became an important tool for builders. Made from sturdy wood such as oak and rope lashings, the intricate birdcage scaffolding allowed the workers to reach new heights and work more efficiently and safely on the construction projects.

The Rail System

Although you might not realise it, the train was a very important Victorian construction tool. The use of rail systems allowed the Victorians to transport numerous amounts of stone and brick to construction sites. The rail system allowed the transportation of exotic stones to city centres, which is why buildings from the Victorian period are so varied in colour and appearance. Trains also reduced the cost of building materials and transportation of skilled architects and artisans to remote areas, making ornate buildings affordable even in relatively remote areas.

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