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1824 - Portland cement is invented (Joseph Aspdin, England)
One of the greatest commodities in the United States today is a greyish powder commonly sold in 50-pound bags for about 10 cents a pound.
Modern Portland cement has a rather short but fabulous history. Back in 1824 an English mason named Joseph Aspdin mixed a compound composed of lime, silica, alumina and iron oxide. The result was a grayish substance which reminded him of the stone quarried from the isle of Portland off the British coast.
Joseph Aspdin's Portland cement proved to be the best answer to an age-old problem. Down through the centuries men had attempted to bind stone into a solid mass.
Some of their efforts were remarkably successful. The Assyrians and Babylonians achieved some good restults with clay. The Egyptians built the Pyramids by using lime and gypsum mortar as a binding agent.
The Russians, who mixed slaked lime with a volcanic as from Mount Vesuvius, produced a cement capable of hardening under water. As proof of the quality of their cement, many Roman-built structures are standing today.
Impressive though these remnants of a lost civilization may be, in our age we are building with concrete, monuments that will dwarf anything man has yet been able to produce.
October 23, 1957
Learn more about the life of Joseph ASPDIN.