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The History of Concrete: A Timeline

Cement has been around for at least 12 million years.  When the earth itself was undergoing intense geologic changes natural, cement was being created.  It was this natural cement that humans first put to use.  Eventually, they discovered how to make cement from other materials.

12,000,000 BC – Reactions between limestone and oil shale during spontaneous combustion occurred in Israel to form a natural deposit of cement compounds
3000 BC –  Egyptians used mud mixed with straw to bind dried bricks. Also furthered the discovery of lime and gypsum mortar as a binding agent for building the Pyramids.Chineses Used cementitious materials to hold bamboo together in their boats and in the Great Wall.Romans used slaked lime a volcanic ash called pozzuolana, found near Pozzuoli by the bay of Naples. They used lime as a cementitious material. Pliny reported a mortar mixture of 1 part lime to 4 parts sand. Vitruvius reported a 2 parts pozzolana to 1 part lime. Animal fat, milk and blood were used as admixtures
200 AD – Used bitumen to bind stones and bricks.Babylonians & As Syrians
1678 – Joseph Moxon wrote about a hidden fire in heated lime that appears upon the addition of water.
1756 – John Smeaton, British Engineer, rediscovered hydraulic cement through repeated testing of mortar in both fresh and salt water
1779 – Bry Higgins has issued a patent for hydraulic cement (stucco) for exterior plastering use.
1812 -1813 – Louis Vicat of France prepared artificial hydraulic lime by calcining synthetic mixtures of limestone and clay.
1822 – James Frost of England prepared artificial hydraulic lime like Vicat and called it British Cement.
1824  – Joseph Aspdin of England is credited with the invention of modern Portland cement. He named his cement Portland, after a rock quary that produced very strong stone.
1836 –  Strength Testing: In 1836, the first test of tensile and compressive strength took place in Germany. Tensile strength refers to concrete’s ability to resist tension or pulling apart forces. Compressive strength refers to concrete’s ability to resist compression or pushing together forces. Both tensile and compressive strength are expressed in pounds per square inch (psi).
1871 –  David O. Saylor established the first portland-cement plant in the US in Coplay, PA
1884 –  Earnest L. Ransom patented a reinforcing system using twisted rods.
1889 –  The first concrete reinforced bridge is built.
1891 – George Bartholomew placed the first concrete street in the USA in Bellefontaine, OH. which still exists.
1902 – Thomas Edison was a pioneer in the further development of the rotary kiln.
1913 – Ready Mix: a first load of the ready mix was delivered in Baltimore, Maryland in 1913. The idea that concrete could be mixed at a central plant, then delivered by truck to the job site for placement, revolutionized the concrete industry.
1916 –  Portland Cement Association founded
1917 – The US Bureau of Standards and the American Society for testing Materials established a standard formula for Portland cement
1936 – The first major concrete dams, Hoover Dam, and Grand Coulee Dam, were built.
1960 –  Bank of Georgia Building in Atlanta beats Executive House at 391 ft.
1962 –  Bertrand Goldberg’s twin towers at Marina City marked the beginning of the use of reinforced concrete in modern skyscrapers and set the height record to 588 ft.
1963 – Concrete Sports Dome: The first concrete domed sports arena, known as the Assembly Hall, was built at the University of Illinois in 1963.
1970 – Fiber Reinforcement: Fiber reinforcement was introduced as a way to strengthen concrete.
1980 – Concrete Countertops: Buddy Rhodes, the father of the concrete countertop, cast his first countertop in the mid-’80s. Around the same time, Fu-Tung Cheng also cast his first concrete countertop. In the twenty years since, concrete countertops have become incredibly popular due to their durability, beauty, and range of customization.
1992 – Tallest Concrete Building: The tallest reinforced concrete building was built in Chicago, Illinois. The 65-story building is known only by its street address, 311 South Wacker Drive.
1999 – Polished Concrete: HTC, originally a Swedish company, introduced concrete polishing to the United States. The first installation in the US was a 40,000-square-foot warehouse floor for the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The popularity of polished concrete has soared in just a few short years it has been around, it is now being used in retail locations and even residential homes.

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