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History of Gypsum

About 20 – 30 million years ago, millions of tons of gypsum stone were inherited from the evaporating seas during the formation of our land area, what we call Anatolia today. Gypsum stone, found in nature sometimes as anhydride (waterless calcium sulfate) and other times as plaster stone (calcium sulfate that can carry water up to ca. 21%) mineral, is one of our raw material resources that was neglected utmost the most. Whereas, gypsum was used in Anatolia 10.000 years ago in accordance with the inscriptions found in Çatalhöyük. It is known that gypsum was used as a construction material in the Sumerian, Assyrian, Egypt, Greek and Roman civilizations, that later ruled in the close geographies and seemed to have been influenced by one another witout a doubt. The most famous and valuable application in the past were the statutes and ornaments made of alabaster, which is a kind of half-transparent gypsum named probably after the City of Alabastron in old Egypt. This tradition that was widespread particularly among the Etruscans is even today a significant source of income in the Italian town of Volterra.


The great fire of London in 1666 can be deemed as a milestone regarding the adoption of the use of gypsum by large masses of people. During this catastrophe, it was observed that gypsum protected the buildings made of wood and its use was made obligatory in Paris, therefore gypsum plaster was called “Plaster of Paris.” Probably as a result of the increasing interest for gypsum stone since 1700’s, like its being used in the rehabilitation of soil, especially as a natural fertilizer providing calcium and sulfur for the products such as vegetables, peanuts, cotton, potatoes, the French chemist Lavoisier published the first scientific study made on gypsum in the 18th century. During the subsequent two centuries, the gypsum culture of the mankind developed at such an extent that today more than 100 millions of gypsum stone will be consumed in more than 100 countries.

When consumption of the developed countries are considered, it can be seen that the use of gypsum stone with agricultural purpose is currently ca. 51% of the total quantity. And ca. 10 – 15% of the total quantity will be consumed in applications that can be called industrial use. This group consists of several activities such as cement production in the first place, glass industry, molding, drainage, production of fodder and insecticides, production of paints, glues, plastic, foodstuff and pharmacology industries. The remaining amount of gypsum stone will totally be used in the production of gypsum types, that are used in the construction sector; besides powder products such as construction gypsum, gypsum plaster, satin finishing gypsum, separation blocks made of gypsum, construction elements with coating will be used indoors. .

Turkey noticed the advantages of gypsum as a construction material during the last ten years and made one million ton of gypsum available for constructions at the beginning of 2000’s. However, it is necessary to use greater amounts in order to satisfy the requirement of our country for contemporary residences rationally and in one generation.