Since the Dawn of Recorded History ...
Source: a circular put out by
the National Aggregates Association...
of water clocks were used in Ancient Egypt, but were later replaced by
sandglasses. The advantages of sand over water were
obvious. Sand did not evaporate or spill over, and never needed
refilling. It did not depend on sunlight for operation.
The Egyptians combined blocks and slabs of stone in
massive masonry structures by using sand in their mortar it was not
unusual for Roman roads to be made of broken stone.
During the Greek and Roman periods, sand, gravel and volcanic rock and
dust were used in the manufacturing of concrete - some
of these Roman structures remain standing even today.
times, concrete was made as an artificial conglomerate of gravel and
broken stone with sand and lime or cement. Vitruvius, a Roman architect
and engineer and Pliny, a Roman scholar, refined the specifications of
cisterns as having five parts of pure gravelly sand, two parts of the
most durable quicklime, and pieces of hard lava weighing less than a
pound each; when united, iron rammers would be used to beat the bottom
In medieval Europe, castles were built of various types
of stone. When construction was completed, the structure was painted or
whitewashed so that it would be one color.
The hourglass, an amazingly accurate device that used
sand in the Middle Ages, is also known today as the traditional sign of
Hourglasses and other timing devices utilizing sand were used by the
British Navy as late as 1839 for approximate timekeeping. Standard
equipment included an hourglass, a half-hour glass, and an eight minute
glass. Timing devices using sand are still in common use today; they are
used for cooking eggs and in children's board games.
Sand was sold commercially for home and commercial building
construction and for mortar used in home and building
In the 1850's and 60's, railroads were substantial users of gravel.
This material was used for roadbed construction and ballast to support
Around the turn of the century, independent operators were digging
gravel for use on streets and roads. Spring thaws turned dirt roads
into quagmires; whereas gravel roads had both strength and drainage
The development of the automobile in the early 1900's
created an immediate demand for surfaced roadways, and aggregates
production increased tremendously for use in aggregate-surfaced roads
and base courses, as well as in asphaltic concrete and portland cement
concrete road pavements.
During both World Wars, the aggregates industry played a key role in the
construction of defense plants and other related facilities.
Throughout World War 11, airfields were constructed in China by hand,
thanks to the hard work of thousands of Chinese who pulled rollers over
stone to create surfaces suitable for takeoffs and landings.
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