Concrete is one of the most widely used building materials in the United States today. Aside from sidewalks and patios, it forms the foundation for every home, business, and industrial facility built in modern times. But the history of this material goes back much further than you might expect—in fact, the use of concrete predates written history altogether.
Naturally formed concrete has existed for at least 12 million years, but the earliest known usage of similar materials by humans dates to about 6500 BC. The people of the southern Syria and northern Jordan region used concrete to construct homes and store water.
Various Egyptian and Greek constructions employed concrete, but it was the Romans who used the material most extensively in the classical world. From 300 BC to 476 AD, their architecture, aqueducts, and bridges relied heavily on concrete. Thanks to the strength and durability of this material, many ruins can still be seen today, 2,000 years later.
A Lost Art
Concrete fell out of use after the Roman Empire, and from the year 500 to the 14th century, it was practically forgotten. From the 14th to 18th centuries, concrete was slowly rediscovered and was used increasingly in construction.
In the 19th century, Joseph Aspdin and his son William developed what would become modern cement. A few years later, Joseph Monier created reinforced concrete, dramatically increasing the tensile strength of the material. This enabled even more ambitious building projects, beginning with a series of bridges and dams that proved the durability and versatility of concrete. Due to these advances, concrete is widely used today.
Stephens & Smith Construction Co. has offered concrete construction throughout Nebraska for over 45 years. Their services include foundations and flatwork, along with decorative options, such as staining and stamping. If you're interested in concrete work for your home or business, call them at (402) 475-8087, or send them a message online.