Supplement to Sri Lanka : Visit a roofing tile Factory (West Coast, Sri Lanka)

Red tiles carried on the roof of Sri Lanka. Its production area is on the west coast of the island, from Negombo to Muneswaram. The reason is because good quality soil can be produced nearby.

The factory is very different from a factory of mass production which is modernized by a machine. It is a nostalgic handmade factory.

The soil stocked in the factory is carried with a wheelbarrow, and women workers consolidate it into an approximate rectangle. It is passed through a production machine in turn and is pushed out with a roof tile form. This machine is the only thing. The machine doesn’t use electricity and is run by low technology that the consolidated soil is pushed out rotating the lever by a hand.

The candidate of a roof tile produced in such way is dried into the shade for a while. After that, it is tightly stacked on a towering shelf installed from the ground to the ceiling on the 2nd floor. How is it put at a high place ? Nimble young people climb easily, putting their foot on a shelf. That is also low technology.

The next is setting in a kiln. Behind the shelves, kilns are lined. After staffs put a roof tile, the entrance of the klin is sealed with soil and burning starts. Firewood that is irregular and strongly curved is piled for firing at the kiln entrance. The soil used over and over again and firewood like a lumber from thinning or a useless small tree are eco-friendly.

Every processes are primitive, so they don’t waste energy and are ecological. And materials to use are also local. In contrast with mass production, the finished product with such producing way has a subtle difference one by one. It is tasty.

That is common in countries of the third world. They neither aim too high nor expand rapidly by renewing the machine. They keep their work in moderate state. It is unclear whether they are satisfied with that or no. But, the sustainability that seemed to be outdated and don’t overdo has now come to be a top runner.

Every time the trend of the era changes, people in developed countries convert like a chameleon. Meanwhile people of this place don’t take the trend and don’t think about how the trend is going. They live in the present time at the pace that they have maintained until now and will live at the same pace. Such way of life may qualify as a top runner of the present era.

On the pillar of the factory, Mary statue is adorned. Here is also the region where Christians are predominant, similarly to Negombo.

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2008.07 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version

2018.01 Change of photos and English text

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Roofing tile factory

Photo by Daigo Ishii