People in our modern-day world truly take some of history’s inventions for granted. Things that have been around for a long time, are especially susceptible. Around 3000 BC, the Egyptians used early concrete forms as mortar in their construction work. The Great Pyramids at Giza were built from an early form of concrete, and they are still standing today. It seems strange to think of concrete existing way back then, but it actually did. It might not have been in exactly the same form as the concrete of today. In fact, the Bible tells of using clay and straw to make bricks and mortar. It seems rather archaic to us these days, and but then it seems to have lasted a whole lot longer than some of the concrete of today, so maybe some of it was better.
Portland cement was invented by Joseph Aspdin of England in 1824. The first concrete paved street in the United States was laid in Bellefontaine, Ohio in 1891. The street was paved by George W Bartholomew, who owned the Buckeye Portland Cement Company and convinced city officials to let him pave an eight-foot-wide strip of Main Street with a mixture of sand, stone, and cement. Two years later, city officials agreed to let Bartholomew pave an entire block of Court Avenue between Main Street and Opera Street, which today remains the oldest concrete street in America, and it still exists, unlike some of the products currently used for streets today.
Steel-reinforced concrete was developed by the end of the 19th century. August Perret designed and built an apartment building in Paris using steel-reinforced concrete in 1902. The building was widely admired, and with that building came a new popularity for concrete. In fact, the building influenced further development of reinforced concrete. Eugène Freyssinet really pioneered reinforced-concrete construction by building two colossal parabolic-arched airship hangars at Orly Airport in Paris in 1921.
Concrete has undergone several changes since 1921. During the 21st century, concrete manufacturers have sstarted changing many of their product formulas in ways that increase early strength and lessen later age trength. This threw me a little bit, but the primary reason for this shift is said to be practical…”On a construction site, you can remove the forms from new concrete much faster if it has high early strength 1. Additionally, according to AZoBuild.com, concrete has gone through numerous changes over the last few decades despite its appearance looking almost the same. These changes include the development of environmentally friendly concrete products.” I’m not sure these changes are all that good, because they seem to cause more cracking and an earlier breakdown of the concrete. I’m not a contractor, but that doesn’t seem like a good thing to me.