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Gabion History

Soil erosion is an ever-present problem and gabions have proved to be a lasting civil engineering solution around the world. The earliest use of gabion type structures was for bank protection along the River Nile, approximately 7000 years ago. Since then gabion baskets have evolved from woven reed baskets, which were often used for military applications, to engineered containers made from a variety of wire mesh.

During the American Civil War gabion baskets were used as military fortifications. They were manufactured from willow in a cylindrical form and were stood on end and filled with sand. These baskets were extremely strong and were able to protect soldiers from musket and cannon fire. Alternatively, the baskets were filled with wool and straw, set alight and rolled down slopes into advancing troops.

The first major steel wire gabion structure was built using the sausage (sack) type gabion in 1893, to repair erosion damage on the river Reno at Casalecchio di Reno in Northern Italy. Modern box gabions, rectangular in shape, were developed in the early 1900's proved to be more useful for soil erosion control and river rehabilitation works.

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