between limestone and oil shale during
spontaneous combustion occurred in Israel
to form a natural deposit of cement
compounds. The deposits were characterized
by Israeli geologists in the 1960's
mud mixed with straw to bind dried bricks.
They also used gypsum mortars and mortars
of lime in the pyramids.
Used cementitious materials to hold
bamboo together in their boats and in
the Great Wall.
Greeks, Crete & Cyprus
Used lime mortars which were much harder
than later Roman mortars.
Babylonians & As Syrians
Used bitumen to bind stones and bricks.
BC - 476 AD
Used pozzolana cement from Pozzuoli,
Italy near Mt. Vesuvius to build the
Appian Way, Roman baths, the Coliseum
and Pantheon in Rome, and the Pont du
Gard aqueduct in south France. 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 (substances added
to cement to increase the properties.)
These structures still exist today!
The Middle Ages
The quality of cementing materials deteriorated.
The use of burning lime and pozzolan
(admixture) was lost, but reintroduced
in the 1300's.
Joseph Moxon wrote about a hidden fire
in heated lime that appears upon the
addition of water.
Bry Higgins was issued a patent for
hydraulic cement (stucco) for exterior
Bry Higgins published "Experiments
and Observations Made With the View
of Improving the Art of Composing and
Applying Calcereous Cements and of Preparing
John Smeaton found that the calcination
of limestone containing clay gave a
lime which hardened under water (hydraulic
lime). He used hydraulic lime to rebuild
Eddystone Lighthouse in Cornwall, England
which he had been commissioned to build
in 1756, but had to first invent a material
that would not be affected by water.
He wrote a book about his work.
James Parker from England patented a
natural hydraulic cement by calcining
nodules of impure limestone containing
clay, called Parker's Cement or Roman
In France, a similar Roman Cement process
Edgar Dobbs received a patent for hydraulic
mortars, stucco, and plaster, although
they were of poor quality due to lack
of kiln precautions.
Louis Vicat of France prepared artificial
hydraulic lime by calcining synthetic
mixtures of limestone and clay.
Maurice St. Leger was issued patents
for hydraulic cement. Natural Cement
was produced in the USA. Natural cement
is limestone that naturally has the
appropriate amounts of clay to make
the same type of concrete as John Smeaton
John Tickell and Abraham Chambers were
issued more hydraulic cement patents.
James Frost of England prepared artificial
hydraulic lime like Vicat's and called
it British Cement.
Joseph Aspdin of England invented portland
cement by burning finely ground chalk
with finely divided clay in a lime kiln
until carbon dioxide was driven off.
The sintered product was then ground
and he called it portland cement named
after the high quality building stones
quarried at Portland, England.
I. K. Brunel is credited with the first
engineering application of portland
cement, which was used to fill a breach
in the Thames Tunnel.
The first production of lime and hydraulic
cement took place in Canada.
The first systematic tests of tensile
and compressive strength took place
J. M. Mauder, Son & Co. were licensed
to produce patented portland cement.
Isaac Johnson claims to have burned
the raw materials of portland cement
to clinkering temperatures.
Pettenkofer & Fuches performed the
first accurate chemical analysis of
The beginning of the era of portland
cements of modern composition.
Blake Stonebreaker of England introduced
the jaw breakers to crush clinkers.
Joseph Monier of France reinforced William
Wand's (USA) flower pots with wire ushering
in the idea of iron reinforcing bars
David Saylor was issued the first American
patent for portland cement. He showed
the importance of true clinkering.
J. Grant of England show the importance
of using the hardest and densest portions
of the clinker. Key ingredients were
being chemically analyzed.
The first rotary kiln was introduced
in England to replace the vertical shaft
Henri Le Chatelier of France established
oxide ratios to prepare the proper amount
of lime to produce portland cement.
He named the components: Alite (tricalcium
silicate), Belite (dicalcium silicate),
and Celite (tetracalcium aluminoferrite).
He proposed that hardening is caused
by the formation of crystalline products
of the reaction between cement and water.
The first concrete reinforced bridge
The addition of gypsum when grinding
clinker to act as a retardant to the
setting of concrete was introduced in
the USA. Vertical shaft kilns were replaced
with rotary kilns and ball mills were
used for grinding cement.
George Bartholomew placed the first
concrete street in the USA in Bellefontaine,
OH. It still exists today!
William Michaelis claimed that hydrated
metasilicates form a gelatinous mass
(gel) that dehydrates over time to harden.
Basic cement tests were standardized.
The first concrete high rise was built
in Cincinnati, OH.
Thomas Edison built cheap, cozy concrete
houses in Union, NJ. They still exist
Thomas Edison was issued a patent for
Dr. Linus Pauling of the USA formulated
a set of principles for the structures
of complex silicates.
Air entraining agents were introduced
to improve concrete's resistance to
The first major concrete dams, Hoover
Dam and Grand Coulee Dam, were built.
They still exist today!
U.S. Congress annexed the Federal Interstate
First concrete domed sport structure,
the Assembly Hall, was constructed at
The University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign.
Fiber reinforcement in concrete was
CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, the tallest
slip-form building, was constructed.
Water Tower Place in Chicago, Illinois,
the tallest building was constructed.
Superplasticizers were introduced as
Silica fume was introduced as a pozzolanic
The "highest strength" concrete
was used in building the Union Plaza
constructed in Seattle, Washington.
The tallest reinforced concrete building
in the world was constructed at 311
S. Wacker Dr., Chicago, Illinois.