When Was Concrete Invented?
Concrete is a fundamental building material that is commonly used in a whole host of domestic and commercial projects. And while you may think you know everything there is to know about concrete, not many people can confidently say when concrete was invented.
While this kind of knowledge is certainly not a prerequisite for using the material effectively, the invention of concrete has a fascinating backstory that is worth knowing.
In this article, the team here at Concrete Supply UK will outline the history of concrete, including explaining how it was invented.
Read on to find out more.
What Is Concrete?
Before we delve into the history of concrete and when it was invented, it’s important to assert what it actually is. Most people will claim they know what concrete is while also, incorrectly, using the term interchangeably with cement.
So, for the avoidance of any doubt, concrete is a crucial building material that is made from aggregate and then bonded with cement. Following the curing process, the final concrete product can then be used for a whole host of building purposes, particularly when constructing buildings and other structures.
In contrast, cement is a material used to create concrete – so it’s incorrect to mix the terminology.
Using concrete provides both domestic and commercial projects with a range of benefits including:
- Strength and durability – As concrete possesses high compressive strength, it is a durable material that offers excellent longevity wherever it’s used. Concrete can also withstand heavy loads and resist deformation which makes it suitable for a whole host of structural applications.
- Versatility – Concrete is an extremely versatile material that can be moulded into different shapes and sizes depending on what you require. It is regularly used to construct walls, foundations, columns, floors, pavements and even decorative elements.
- Fire resistant – Concrete is inherently fire resistant, meaning it offers a project with a higher level of protection from the threat of fire compared to other building materials.
These are just some of the advantages that using concrete can bring, with the material and variety of mixes changing substantially over the years.
When Was Concrete Invented?
So, when was concrete invented? Well, while it’s difficult to say for certain, it’s clear that concrete has been used by communities and cultures around the world for centuries.
In fact, according to historians, the earliest evidence of concrete dates back to 7,000 BC.
A concrete floor was discovered in a hut in Israel, and scientific testing was able to date when it would have been used. While concrete may have been invented prior to this, at the time of writing this is the earliest recorded concrete.
We’ll go into greater detail on the history of concrete in the section below.
The History of Concrete
As we learned in the section above, it was in Israel in 7,000 BC where the earliest recorded use of concrete was found.
In this example, concrete was used to construct a floor, and the earliest proof of concrete structures was not far behind.
In 6,500 BC, there is evidence that concrete was used for buildings and structures in the Middle East, more specifically in the UAE, Syria and Jordan. These people used concrete to build houses, flooring and underground cisterns.
The Ancient Egyptians are well known for their innovative construction techniques, and in 3,000 BC they used mud mixed with straw to bind dried bricks which were used for house building. This is a primitive example of concrete use and they even used a combination of gypsum mortars and mortars of lime when creating the famous pyramids. In China, a form of concrete was also used when building the Great Wall of China.
While not the inventors or the first to use it, the Romans are normally credited with the widespread use of the material. And for good reason.
By 200 BC, the Romans were using concrete for the vast majority of their construction projects. To create the mix, they tended to use a combination of volcanic ash, lime and seawater. These mixes were then compacted into wooden forms which were packed together like bricks to build a structure.
Even today, many Roman structures remain intact and thriving, showing how ahead of their time the Romans were.
During the Middle Ages and following the fall of the Roman Empire, concrete stopped being as widely used. Predominately, this was because the recipe for creating it was lost.
In 1414AD, manuscripts describing the mixing process were discovered and this reignited concrete use.
Concrete use remained steady until the late 1700s when the inventor John Smeaton created a new concrete mixing method. Using limestone containing clay, he mixed the substance and ground it into a powder. He used the material on a whole range of projects including the rebuild of the famous Eddystone Lighthouse in Cornwall.
By the 19th century, concrete was used in most industrial buildings, with Portland cement starting to be used to construct houses in the UK and France.
These days, concrete has become one of the most widely used construction materials and can frequently be found on building sites throughout the country.
Leading Concrete Mixes From Concrete Supply UK
At Concrete Supply UK, we regularly provide our customers with a whole host of mixes that are suitable for every kind of project.
Whether you’re working on a small domestic project or need vast quantities for large-scale commercial work, our expert team will always tailor orders and batches depending on your specific requirements.
This bespoke approach will include only pouring the quantity you need, so you never need to worry about ordering too much or too little. Furthermore, we’ll also make sure to deliver the mix directly to your site when is most convenient for you. Plus, we even provide a leading pump hire service where we can help transport your bespoke mix wherever it needs to go, including hard-to-access areas and to great heights.
To find out more about what we do, the different types of concrete we provide, place an order for readymix concrete or another concrete mix or simply chat through your requirements with our friendly and knowledgeable team, get in touch with Concrete Supply UK today.