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The History of Concrete

The History of Concrete

Have you ever wondered about the rich history of one of the world’s strongest building materials? Concrete, along with being resilient, cost effective and versatile, also has a long history spanning all the way back to Egyptian times. 

Cement, the main component of concrete, can be tracked back even further — 12 million years further. This was a time of intense geologic change that created the conditions necessary for cement to form. 

If you enjoyed that fact, just strap in. This month’s article is full of interesting titbits about the history of concrete — right up to the modern day.

the history of concrete

Who first invented concrete?

The original inventor of concrete is still up for debate. It ultimately depends on your definition of concrete.

  • The Egyptians

Crude forms of concrete were used by the Egyptians in the year 3000 BC. This ancient civilisation would use a combination of mud and straw to bind bricks together. Further evidence of the Egyptians’ innovative approach to cohesion can be found in the Great Pyramids, where gypsum and lime was used to create mortar.

  • The Romans

The Romans developed a special type of concrete that was so strong it is still found in many of their  buildings, bridges and roads today — over 2000 years later! This concrete combined hydraulic cement with lime and volcanic ash.

  • Joseph Aspdin

In 1824, an Englishman by the name of Joseph Aspdin invented Portland cement by burning finely ground chalk with clay. He named his creation after the building stones quarried at Portland, England.

A brief concrete timeline

Concrete has been used all around the world for centuries. Here is a brief concrete timeline up to the modern day.

3000 BC – Egyptians used a mixture of mud and straw to bind dried bricks

300 BC – Babylonians used bitumen to bind stones and bricks

476 AD – Romans used a mortar mixture of 1 part lime to 4 parts sand. Animal fat, milk and blood were also added to cement to alter its properties

1678 – Joseph Moxon wrote about a hidden fire in heated lime that appears when water is added

1779 – Bry Higgins was issued a patent for hydraulic cement (stucco) for exterior plastering use

1796 – James Parker from England patented a natural hydraulic cement by calcining nodules of impure limestone containing clay

1818 – Natural cement was first produced in the USA

1824 – Joseph Aspdin of England invented Portland cement 

1830 – The first production of lime and hydraulic cement took place in Canada

1843 – J. M. Mauder, Son & Co. were licensed to produce patented Portland cement

1887 – Henri le Chatelier of France established oxide ratios to prepare the proper amount of lime to produce Portland cement

1889 – The first concrete reinforced bridge was built

1930 – Air entraining agents were introduced to improve concrete’s resistance to freeze/thaw damage

1936 – The Hoover Dam and Coulee Dam, the first major concrete dams, were built

1970 – Fibre-reinforced concrete was introduced

1992 – The tallest reinforced concrete building in the world was constructed in Illinois

The modern uses of concrete

Today, concrete is the single most widely used construction material. It is the foundation of the modern world and is used to build a wide range of structures. These include:

  • Docks
  • Dams
  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Tunnels
  • Buildings
  • Culverts and sewers
  • Foundations
  • Fences
  • And much more!

Total Concrete is a leading provider of high-quality concrete throughout Guildford, Surrey, Woking and the surrounding areas. We deliver the finest grades of concrete and offer a large range of concrete strengths to ensure you get the perfect concrete for your application. Whether you’re undertaking a small home renovation project or a large-scale commercial construction project, we have the concrete for you. Specialising in on-site mixing, we even travel directly to your site so that you receive the perfect amount of concrete for your needs.

Contact our team for more information.