On a regular day, when you step out of your house, the first thing you do is take your car out of the garage and drive through your driveway to your desired destination. Most of us usually pay no heed to the aesthetic and ancillary benefits of your concrete garage floor, patio, driveway, and the decorative concrete of your office parking lot. These days concrete is so widely used that we tend to overlook the advantages of this popular paving material. Be it for landscaping or acreage paving, homeowners prefer residential concrete contractors over others. But, have you ever wondered how did this man-made building material come into being? What is its history? Today, we will try to explore the history of concrete.
Concrete is made of cement, water, sand, and gravel. To trace the history of this popular paving material, we need to first find the early use of its constituents. Many historians believe that humanity’s transition from nomadism to civilization was a result of their desire to pray and worship in a structured, large space. The earliest known limestone structure dates back to 12,000 years and was a temple in modern day Turkey. The centuries after that witnessed people trying to experiment with different building materials to sustain huge structures. Emperors spent innumerable resources to erect huge/massive structures, which continue to baffle engineers and architects till today. The Egyptian pyramids and the Roman Colosseum were known to use the earliest forms of concrete.
The word concrete is derived from the Latin term concretus, which means to grow together. This directly links the fact that the earliest speakers of Latin – Romans had a strong association with the use of concrete. After the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pozzuoli, Italy in 79 AD, the whole city was destroyed due to volcanic ash. The Romans began using this volcanic ash, referred to as Pozzolana, to create the first known concrete to mankind. They made cement by mixing kilned limestone and water. This was mixed with volcanic pozzolana, ground rocks, and sand. This semi-liquid mixture was then carefully poured into wooden molds to create sturdy concrete blocks. Many Roman kings erected great structures such as the Pantheon and the Roman Colosseum using this concrete. But, with the fall of the Roman Empire, the use of concrete came to a standstill.
Concrete was then rediscovered during the Renaissance period by Giovanni Giocondo, an Italian friar. In the 16th century, trass, a form of volcanic ash similar to Pozzolana, was used for making tools in Germany. Around the 17th century, trass became a popular building material. The Dutch began selling it in France and Britain, where trass was used for constructing buildings. Engineers in Britain began developing various hydraulic building materials to avoid importing this material from other countries. The credit for coming up with modern day concrete is given to Joseph Aspdin, a bricklayer from Leeds, England. He used to steal bricks for his science experiments and managed to invent his own cement mixture – Portland cement. This was then developed to make concrete.
So, the next time you see your residential concrete contractor use decorative concrete, be heedful of the long list of experimenters who led to the creation of modern-day concrete.
After reading all this, it wouldn’t be a surprise if concrete is your choice for your landscape paving. Get in touch with our residential concrete contractors to know more about the benefits of using concrete for your landscaping.