When we look all around us we see huge buildings, little houses, bridges, sidewalks, roads, walls, offices etc. how often do we stop to think how these came about? They have not always been there, they evolved with mankind. There was a time when clay had to be baked in ovens made especially for this purpose. Bricks made like this were in vogue even in the ancient Egypt. Nowadays the construction scene has changed tremendously. A landmark in the construction industry came with cement mixers. Today we take the cement mixers that we see in construction sites for granted but this was not always so. Long time ago, the Greeks mixed asphalt with water and other things to get a substance which when hardened became ideal for construction. This concrete like material was named “cement”, which in Greek means “secure”.
Cement is actually a mixture of various substances. Besides asphalt, which was mentioned before, there is sand and limestone. The Greek who invented cement were making many structures out of cement in the ancient times. Babylon flourished with new constructions and all the new buildings employed asphalt and cement in around 625 BC. For next several centuries we occasionally find some mention of this method of making cement. Around 16th Century, this art found a revival. Most European civilizations once more started employing it. This was because Venezuelans were still using the construction techniques of the ancient Greeks. Soon, this approach caught on and this idea was being used in many places, including for making ships!
By 19th century cement construction was introduced to America, along with other aspects of industrial revolution. Natural resources were tapped in making cement in Trinidad. By 20th century some new elements were being experimented with. When some new materials were added to cement, concrete developed. This form of concrete is commonly seen on the roads.
When so much was happening in the cement industry, the art of mixing it just had to revolutionize. Cement mixers were becoming pretty popular by early 20th Century. This coincided with increased usage of motorized vehicles. Cement mixers had trays. These trays were heated on simmering coal. A mixture was set to dry in this. This was followed by asphalt being poured on it. In the rudimentary stages, the cement was mixed manually. Then the drums were invented. They used to be fixed in one place. Then some enterprising person added wheels to it and made these drums mobile! There was a huge demand for these as good roads and sidewalks were being laid out in large numbers. This was the state of affairs till 1960s.
But things were not all hunky-dory. Cement mixers got caught up in environmental issues in 1970s. A few changes had to be made. Technology of cement mixers had to be improved to become environment friendly and abreast with the changing times. Now, cement mixers do not cause noise pollution, are weather-friendly and more efficient. The cement mixture is better and durable. Over 90% of roads we see have been made by cement from these cement mixtures!