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The Basics of Asphalt: History II

by | Jun 15, 2022 | Asphalt | 0 comments

Today we’re continuing a series that started with an article posted a few weeks ago based on The Basics of Asphalt. We have been covering different aspects and properties of asphalt, from its economic factors to its engineering components. Today we’ll continue discussing some historical facts concerning the emergence of asphalt. Last week we overviewed asphalt’s ancient history from Babylon to New World Explorers and will now move on to consider the development of early roads so we can see how asphalt was eventually integrated into road and pavement design.

Early Roads

The Basics of Asphalt: History II
John Metcalf was the first professional road builder.

Before asphalt was used in paving roads, good methods of road building needed to be developed. One such contributor was Englishman John Metcalf, the first professional road builder to manifest during the Industrial Revolution, who in the early 1700s built 180 miles of Yorkshire road. Metcalf understood the importance of good drainage and used a foundation of large stones, then to raise the roadbed covered it with excavated road material. Lastly, his roads were finished with a layer of gravel.

Thomas Telford made substantial contributions to road building as a civil engineer and between 1803-1821 built over 900 miles of road in Scotland. He perfected the method of using broken stones for roads and using systems to account for the weight and traffic they would need to support.

The Basics of Asphalt: History II
John McAdams developed tarmac.

John Loudon McAdam was Telford contemporary and the Scottish engineer’s most significant contribution was introducing the use of hot tar to bind road’s large surface stones. This was done originally to reduce dust and maintenance and earned the name “tarmacadam” pavements.  His name is still partially used when we describe tarmac. He also invented a new process for building roads with smooth hard surfaces that led to better durability and less muddiness.  He did this using controlled materials of mixed particle size and a predetermined structure.

It would take only a few more decades for asphalt to be integrated into early road design.  Next week we’ll continue this mini-history series and discuss how bituminous mixtures began to be used for sidewalks, crosswalks, and even roads beginning in the late 1860s as well as changing techniques in production and construction.

Improvements in Asphalt Today

We hope you’ve learned something new regarding the history of early roads. History showcases how things are constantly improved and advanced. We do our best to continue that legacy and strive to perfect the use of asphalt, especially when it comes to serving you and your project needs. We are always working to create a better and more cost-effective option for you and are here for ANY and ALL of your asphalt or pavement questions and needs.

Call us today or Click Here for a Free Quote on your asphalt paving needs.

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Pam Taylor
Pam Taylor
October 4, 2021.
My husband and I contracted with Top Job to asphalt the driveway at our cabin in Fish Haven, ID. Starting with Steve who gave us the estimate, to Teri, Sam and especially Kevin who headed the project was timely, professional, and exceptionally well done. They are an honest and reputable company. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who is looking to asphalt. Pam
Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson
October 1, 2021.
Top Job Asphalt works extremely well to the satisfaction of each of their customers!
David Hansen
David Hansen
September 29, 2021.
Very pleased with the work performed.
Tony Nielson
Tony Nielson
September 29, 2021.
Top Job Staff and crew did an excellent job on our parking lot. The crack seal crew was on the job before daylight and did great work. Most impressive was the slurry seal crew. Kerry and his team did a wonderful job. worked around my tenants parking issues, worked between rain storms. Kerry would not apply slurry until he was 100 percent sure the parking lot was dry enough after the rain. refreshing to see someone care so much about his product, his job, and his crew. Rosalie was also right on top of scheduling and even made a site visit to make sure I was happy. Top Job went above and beyond my expectations and I would recommend them to anyone .. I will use this company again in the future. Thank you very much! Tony and Cole Nielson T.K.S. Development.
Dennis Simonson
Dennis Simonson
September 23, 2021.
Was really impressed with the professional preparation on the driveway surface prior to the application of sealant. FRIENDLY and easy to work with. Highly recommend. Compared prices before settling on Top Job, good value. Their communication between office, field and scheduler was exceptional.
Christie Brown
Christie Brown
August 16, 2021.
We now have the PRETTIEST driveway approach and RV parking on the block! Nice job, TOP JOB ASPHALT!

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.

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