History of Concrete from Romans to Thomas Edison
If we look at the history of concrete, it has been known to the human civilization for over 4,000 years, all the way from the Ancient Mesopotamia. Concrete has been widely used in ancient Rome.
As it is known, Italy is a volcanic country, which means that all components needed to create concrete are easily available throughout the country – that includes pozzolans and volcanic ashes. The Romans used concrete in mass construction of public buildings, including the Pantheon.
Even today the concrete dome of Pantheon is considered to be the largest in the world, made purely out of reinforced concrete.
Due to the decline of the Western Roman Empire, the large-scale construction of monumental buildings has come to an end, making the use of concrete less needed and together with the general degradation of the craft, results in complete loss of concrete production technology. During Middle Ages, the only major architectural objects were churches, that were built of stone.
Modern cement based concrete is known to us since 1844, which takes its roots from Portland cement industry. In 1881, Thomas Edison established the Edison Ore-Milling Company that specialized in iron ore milling. However, due to lack of demand Edison decided to establish a cement company called Edison Portland Cement Company.
Edison used the ore-milling technologies to create harder and more durable cement. He had a vision that the world would use concrete in all applications, including constructing concrete houses, as well as concrete furniture and even musical instruments.
Although not all predictions of Thomas Edison came to life, some of them are in fact true. Today we can see cement being used in housing as well as home furniture, including tables, chairs, kitchens, or even office furniture and conference tables.
There are many uses of cement, and Edison has been right about one thing: that it will become a part of home interior, and it did.