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   ASPHALT HISTORY                                                                       

“You can't do today's job with yesterday's methods
and be in business tomorrow”
~ Unknown

The story of asphalt begins thousands of years ago.  Asphalt occurs naturally in both asphalt lakes and in rock asphalt (a mixture of sand, limestone and asphalt).  The ancient Mesopotamians used it to waterproof temple baths and water tanks.  The Phoenicians caulked the seams of their merchant ships with asphalt.  In the days of the Pharaohs, Egyptians used the material as mortar for rocks laid along the banks of the Nile to prevent erosion, and the infant Moses' basket was waterproofed with asphalt.

In 625 B.C., the first recorded use of asphalt as a road-building material in Babylon.  The ancient Greeks were also familiar with asphalt.  The Romans used it to seal their baths, reservoirs and aqueducts.


Pavement on French Highway 1852

     Edward de Smedt
In 1824 large blocks of natural asphalt rock were placed on the wide boulevard in Paris known as the Champs-Élysées. That was the first time this type of rock was used for a road.
Professor Edward J. de Smedt invented modern road asphalt in 1870 at Columbia University after emigrating from Belgium. He called it "sheet asphalt pavement" but it became known as French asphalt pavement.

On 29 July 1870, the first sheet of Edward de Smedt's asphalt pavement was laid on William Street in Newark, New Jersey.  He engineered a modern, "well-graded," maximum-density road asphalt. The first uses of this road asphalt were in Battery Park and on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1872. Five years later 54,000 square yards of sheet asphalt from Trinidad Lake were used on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.     ~ Famous


      Asphalt roads come to America 1870

Asphalt in the US

Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved Little House on the Prairie, tells of her first encounter with an asphalt pavement.  She was on a wagon journey with her parents in 1894 that took them through Topeka.
"In the very midst of the city, the ground was covered by some dark stuff that silenced all the wheels and muffled the sound of hoofs.  It was like tar, but Papa was sure it was not tar, and it was something like rubber, but it could not be rubber because rubber cost too much.  We saw ladies all in silks and carrying ruffled parasols, walking with their escorts across the street.  Their heels dented the street, and while we watched, these dents slowly filled up and smoothed themselves out.  It was as if that stuff were alive.  It was like magic."

Today asphalt concrete, normally known simply as asphalt or AC comes from the processing of crude oils. The word asphalt comes from the Greek "asphaltos," meaning "secure".  Everything that is valuable in crude oil is first removed and put to good use. Then what remains is made into asphalt cement for pavement. Asphalt consists of asphalt binder and mineral aggregate mixed together then laid down in layers and compacted.
This dark, resilient material covers more than 94 percent of the paved roads in the United States; it’s the popular choice for driveways, parking lots, airport runways, racetracks, and other applications where a smooth, durable driving surface is required.  Called at various times asphalt pavement, blacktop, tarmac, macadam, plant mix, asphalt concrete, or bituminous concrete, asphalt pavements have played an important role in changing the landscape and the history of the U.S. since the late 19th century.
~ National Asphalt Pavement Association

Now you know a bit more about your asphalt,
 and you can
rest assured
our equipment is slightly new than this.

So, if you need some help,
and you are ready
to find someone to repair your asphalt,

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