In the UK, the precise time of the solstice will be 5.11pm on Saturday December 21st 2013. The time is different every year, falling between December 20th and 23rd. So for us on Pacific Standard time that already happened today at 9:11am.
In early brick firing kilns, the surface of the bricks that were too close to the fire changed into the volcanic textures and darker/purplish colors. They were often discarded, but around 1900, these bricks were discovered by architects to be usable, distinctive and charming in architectural detailing, adding the earthy quality favored by Arts and Crafts style designers. Modern brick-making techniques can recreate the appearance of these bricks and produce a more consistent product.