The Basics of Asphalt: History I


Last Updated on May 17, 2024

The Basics of Asphalt

We posted an article a few weeks ago on The Basics of Asphalt and thought it would be fun to create and continue a series for you based on the different aspects and properties of asphalt.  Today we’ll be going over some historical facts concerning the emergence of asphalt and how it’s come into predominate use to benefit millions today.


Asphalt Today

Asphalt is a very resilient material that’s numerous beneficial properties lend itself to be used abundantly.  In the United States, it covers more than 94% of the paved roads and is used for driveways, parking lots, airport runways, racetracks, tennis courts, and in a wide variety of circumstances where smooth and durable driving surfaces are required.

Asphalt pavements have played a vital role in changing the landscape of the United States since the late 19th century;  subsequently affecting transportation, communication, and even history.  But how was it discovered, developed, and enhanced?

Asphalt Through the Ages

The Basics of Asphalt: HistoryThe first recorded use of asphalt as a road-building material dates all the way back to Babylon during the reign of King Naboppolassar around 625 B.C.  A Babylonian tablet was found that’s inscription described the use of asphalt and burned brick being used to pave the Procession Street in the city.

History also shows that the Greeks were familiar with asphalt and its properties and the word asphalt actually stems from the Greek word “asphaltos,” which means secure.  Romans would go on to use asphalt to seal their baths, reservoirs, and aqueducts.  Many centuries later, European explorers would discover natural deposits of asphalt in the New World.  Sir Walter Ralieigh was one such explorer and went on to use asphalt from Trinidad to re-caulk his ships in the 1590s.


The Basics of Asphalt: History The Basics of Asphalt: History– Romans used asphalt to seal baths.


It would take a few more centuries for innovators to experiment with using asphalt as a paving material.  First engineers and road builders would need to pioneer new techniques and use innovation to develop early roads.  Once early road designs progressed, the introduction of asphalt for roads and pavement lead us to where we are today.  We’ll cover these developments further next week and see how asphalt went on to change the course of history.

Improvements in Asphalt Today

We hope you’ve learned something new regarding the history of asphalt and how advancements have lent themselves to the widespread benefits that asphalt now allows.  We’re here for ANY and ALL of your asphalt questions and needs.  We are dedicated to the continued improvements in asphalt and using knowledge and technology to create increasingly better and more cost-effective options for you.

Call or Click Here for any Asphalt Questions or a Free Quote on your Asphalt Paving Needs TODAY!

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Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips
January 17, 2023.
Great company to work with. We contacted Top Job to repair a county road that we dug across for an irrigation line. They were very professional yet friendly. Our job was completed quickly. We recommend this company.
Sam Rowley
Sam Rowley
December 8, 2022.
I’m not sure how the service actually is, but some old guy in a Top Job Toyota was riding my butt today and flipped me off, or it was maybe an aggressive wave at the red light near the Logan library. Hope his day gets better. 12/8 at 230
Kim Rappleye
Kim Rappleye
December 7, 2022.
Very professional and personalized service. Highly recommended!
Mark Malmstrom
Mark Malmstrom
November 22, 2022.
They were easy to get a hold of and showed up when they were scheduled. Good communication and good work.
David Bunnell
David Bunnell
November 4, 2022.
I appreciated the pleasant attitude when talking w/the estimator as well as the scheduler. The work crew did a great job! I highly recommend Top Job Asphalt!
Steven Jacobsen
Steven Jacobsen
October 30, 2022.
Top job Asphalt did an amazing job on my project very professional, I would definitely use them again when I have the need.
Chris Salvesen
Chris Salvesen
October 28, 2022.
Did a great job on the 3" overlay for my very old and deteriorated half circle driveway. Looks brand new. All the transitions to concrete are near perfectly matched when I wasn't sure they could do it. It's almost weird now not feeling the bump driving out of the garage or over our bridge.
Matt Welch
Matt Welch
October 27, 2022.
Top Job paved our asphalt driveways and we couldn't be happier. The service, quality and price were the best I could find and I looked everywhere! Great job guys! I'll be calling back when I start my next project.
Todd Wardrop
Todd Wardrop
October 26, 2022.
I'm so impressed!!😀 Top Job has done such excellent work on my neighbor's driveway ... I'm so jealous. It's absolutely beautiful, and I can't believe how smooth it turned out. It's just perfect. What a great company!

What Our Customers Are Saying

Very impressed with the quality of their work and the organization of the company. The project estimator was spot on as to when the bid would be received and the work was professional  from start to finish. I appreciated the opportunity for a walkthrough inspection after the crack filling was completed as I had some very large cracks in the asphalt. I give this company a ten out of ten (which I really do) and highly recommend them.

Paul Pratt