December 20th, 2013
There are few things that look quite as amazing as a newly striped parking lot, particularly when it’s an asphalt surface. It makes your building or shop look amazing. Asphalt paving has actually been around a lot longer than you may think. In fact, asphalt paving has been around even longer than the United States has been around.
Asphalt itself is a naturally occurring substance, which is found in asphalt lakes and rock asphalt. Babylon (625 B.C.) is on record to have had the first road made with asphalt. It is recorded that Greeks, Romans and later Europeans were familiar with and used asphalt. The Greek word for asphalt is “asphaltos”, which translates to “secure”. The Romans used asphalt to seal baths, aqueducts and reservoirs. Sir Walter Raleigh, of Europe, used asphalt to re-caulk his ships.
Hundreds of years passed before Europeans and Americans realized that they could use asphalt to build roads. In England, John Metcalf built 180 miles of Yorkshire roads with a sort of pre-asphalt material because he wanted good drainage. John Loudon McAdam, a trustee of the Scottish turnpike, also used a pre-asphalt material called “tamacadam” pavements. In the late 1860s a pre-asphalt mixture was used for sidewalks, crosswalks and roads. The first true asphalt was laid in 1870 by Edmund J. DeSmedt in front of Newark, New Jersey. His design was then used on a French highway in 1852.
Builders quickly saw the benefits of asphalt and competed to claim the material. Nathan B. Abbott filed the first patent to an asphalt product in 1871. Then in 1900, Frederick J. Warren filed a patent for “Bitulithic” pavement, which is a mixture of bitumen and aggregate. The Warren brothers were unsuccessful in defending their patent and were followed by other trade names which include Wilite, Romanite, National Pavement, Imperial, Indurite, and Macasphalt.
The competition among builders gave the cities the ability to require strict requirements for the asphalt roadways. Long term warranties were one of those requirements. The long term warranties ended up sending many builders into a state of bankruptcy due to things like settling and other natural issues that were out of their control. In 1920 the patents expired and the improvements made by the Federal and state engineers forced everyone else out of the market.
In 1900 production for asphalt began, rather than using it from natural resources. By 1907 more produced and refined asphalt was being used than the natural variety. Demand for asphalt was quickly growing due to an increase in the number of automobiles driving on the roads during this time frame. Therefore, more and better roads were being requested. Thus brought on new creativities and innovations in both the production and laying of asphalt.
As changes came to America in other areas, so did the asphalt technology. Improvements were made over the last hundred plus years to make the much improved quality asphalt you now see on roads, driveways and parking lots today.
Bennett Paving knows all about improvements and quality when it comes to asphalt. The best choice for asphalt paving in the Austin area, Bennett Paving is the only way to go, so learn more at http://www.bennettpavingtx.com now.