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Concrete surrounds us all the time and yet some people barely give it a second thought since it feels like it’s a material that has been here forever. 

Technically, in its individual parts, the material has pretty much always been around – at least for as long as civilization has, but to give you a deeper insight into the history of concrete, we’re going to look back to who invented it and how far it has progressed to become the material we specialise in here at EasyMix Concrete today.

Are you ready for some historical facts about concrete? You might be surprised by what you learn!

Who invented concrete?

The answer to the question of who first invented concrete depends somewhat on how you define concrete. However, in its earliest form, it is believed that concrete was first used by the Nabatea and Bedouin people in what is now known as Syria and Jordan. 

a cartoon man thinking about concrete | EasyMix Concrete

This concrete, hardening when mixed with water, is thought to have originated in this area with the use of lime. Using it for homes, floors and small cities, these are the earliest known applications of concrete, but no one knows for sure if any individual person was responsible for the invention itself.

Beyond these regions in the Middle East, concrete was later used in Egypt, China, and, importantly, Rome. In Rome, the use of concrete was so widespread and successful that we can still see some of these impressive structures thousands of years later.

close up of cracked concrete | EasyMix Concrete

The history of modern concrete

For a while, the secrets of concrete were lost due to the arrival of the Dark Ages, a time at which science and engineering progress was severely stifled. However, once this era passed, inventors began to develop new formulas for construction, the most notable of which was Joseph Aspdin’s invention.

a cartoon drawing of Joseph Aspdin; the creator of Portland Cement | EasyMix Concrete

Aspdin is credited with the invention of Portland Cement (named after the Isle of Portland in Dorset where the limestone was quarried). Gaining a patent in 1824, he went on to further innovate with his sons, with their plant in operation until 1900 when it closed. The key to their unique modification was the burning together of clay and limestone, resulting in a stronger cement than the original mixture.

A further addition during the Industrial Revolution helped to create buildings capable of bearing heavy loads: the introduction of metal. We call this reinforced concrete and it’s been a staple of modern development since 1867 when Parisian gardener, Joseph Monier, invented it for his plant pots. It’s also known that François Coignet had a hand in developing reinforced concrete too, adding steel rods to walls after opening his cement factory at a similar time.


A history of concrete timeline

6500 BC – The first concrete mixture was used in ancient Arabian structures.

3000 BC – The Ancient Egyptians developed different early methods for creating building materials, including lime mortar, and built the Great Pyramids.

300 BC – The Romans began to use concrete, including the use of aggregates, to help build long-lasting structures.

1756 – John Smeaton creates the first of what we now know as modern concrete, using hydraulic cement.

1824 – Joseph Aspdin patents his Portland Cement.

1849 – Joseph Monier invents reinforced concrete and later patents it in 1867.

1903 – The world’s first concrete high-rise building, The Ingalls, went up in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1936 – The Hoover Dam is completed, one of the biggest concrete projects of its time.

1970 – Fibre is introduced as a reinforcing agent.

1999 – Polished concrete is introduced by a Swedish company, first used in a warehouse in Las Vegas.

concrete being poured out of a cement truck | EasyMix Concrete

Now you know how we got to where we are today, why not make use of all the latest innovations like ready-mix concrete, volumetric concrete and concrete pumps to get your project done? At EasyMix Concrete, we provide domestic concrete and commercial concrete for our clients across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire. And if you’re not sure how much concrete you need, we’ve got a handy concrete calculator to help you.

Give our friendly concrete experts on 0800 169 6401, or via our online booking form, and place your order of high-quality concrete from the region’s reliable concrete supplier where you only pay for what you use.

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