The invention of concrete dates back over 5,000 years to the time of Ancient Egypt when an early form of the powerful building material was used to create the Great Pyramids. It has evolved quite a bit since then, becoming one of the most common materials to be used in construction. It’s now used for buildings, streets, bridges, dams, and much more.
But when exactly was precast concrete invented?
The method of pouring concrete into reusable forms and allowing it to dry and cure in a climate-controlled factory may seem like a pretty modern spin on concrete construction. However, you might be surprised to learn just how far back the history of precast concrete really goes.
Inventing Precast Concrete
No, precast concrete is not a new invention. In fact, it dates all the way back to the days of Ancient Rome. Builders in that time combined lime with volcanic ash and poured it into forms made of wood to create the same concrete structures over and over again. This saved them time, allowed them to be more precise, and opened up a world of possibilities as far as design was concerned. Precast concrete was used to build many structures that are still standing today, such as aqueducts, tunnels, and even the Colosseum and the Pantheon.
While this method of construction proved incredibly fruitful for the people of Ancient Rome, they would be the last to widely use it for many centuries. After the Roman Empire fell, the use of stone and mortar became far more popular, and concrete fell out of use.
The 20th Century Renaissance
Although concrete came back into favor with the invention of Portland cement by Joseph Asdin in 1824, precast concrete would not return to use until 1905, when engineer John Alexander Brodie had the idea to use forms to create precast reinforced concrete in the construction of a number of buildings in Liverpool, England. The trend quickly became a widely used construction method in countries all over the world.
In America, the use of precast concrete in construction projects blossomed during the suburban expansion that occurred in many places around the country in the 1950s. With incredible demand for housing brought on by the post-World War II baby boom, precast concrete became a simple solution for fast, easy, affordable building materials that were safe and strong.
Modern Precast Concrete
The basic principles behind precast concrete remain the same today as they were at their inception in Ancient Rome, but the process has enjoyed quite a bit of refinement, thanks to advances in technology.
Today’s precast concrete is stronger and more durable than ever before while also being resistant to weather and insects. It’s now available in a wide array of colors and designs that accurately emulate the style of other popular building materials.
As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for the future of precast concrete will only continue to grow. We expect this powerful, affordable, and beautiful building material to only become more popular over time.
Using American Precast Concrete for Your Next Construction Project
If you’d like to learn more about precast concrete, contact American Precast Concrete Inc. today. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions or help you to understand the benefits of precast concrete for your next project.