When we look around us we see large buildings, houses, bridges, sidewalks, roads, walls, offices, etc. How often do we stop to think how they came about? They haven’t always been there, they evolved with humanity. There was a time when clay had to be baked in ovens made especially for this purpose. Bricks made in this way were in fashion even in ancient Egypt. Today the construction landscape has changed enormously. A milestone in the construction industry came with the cement mixers. Today we take for granted the concrete mixers we see on construction sites, but this was not always the case. Long ago, the Greeks mixed asphalt with water and other things to obtain a substance that, when hardened, became ideal for construction. This concrete-like material was named “cement,” which is Greek for “safe.”
Cement is actually a mixture of various substances. In addition to asphalt, which was mentioned before, there is sand and limestone. The Greeks who invented cement were making many structures out of cement in ancient times. Babylon flourished with new construction and all new buildings used asphalt and cement around 625 BC. During the following centuries we occasionally find some mention of this method of making cement. Around the 16th century, this art found a revival. Most European civilizations once again began to employ it. This was because Venezuelans were still using the building techniques of the ancient Greeks. Soon this approach caught on and this idea was being used in many places, even to make ships!
In the 19th century, cement construction was introduced to the United States, along with other aspects of the industrial revolution. Natural resources were used to make cement in Trinidad. In the 20th century some new elements were being experimented with. When some new materials were added to cement, concrete was developed. This form of concrete is commonly seen on highways.
When so much was happening in the cement industry, the art of mixing had to be revolutionized. Cement mixers were becoming quite popular in the early 20th century. This coincided with increased use of motorized vehicles. Cement mixers had trays. These trays were heated over boiling charcoal. A mixture was put to dry on this. This was followed by asphalt being poured over it. In the rudimentary stages, the cement was mixed manually. Then drums were invented. They used to be fixed in one place. Then an enterprising person added wheels and made these drums mobile! There was a high demand for these as good roads and sidewalks were being built in large numbers. This was the state of things until the 1960s.
But things did not go all smoothly. Cement mixers got caught up in environmental problems in the 1970s. Some changes had to be made. Concrete mixer technology had to be improved to be environmentally friendly and keep up with the changing times. Now cement mixers do not cause noise pollution, are climate friendly and more efficient. Cement mix is better and durable. More than 90% of the roads we see have been made with cement from these cement mixtures!