DAMARIO ASPHALT HISTORY
The use of asphalt/bitumen for waterproofing and as an adhesive dates at least to the fifth millennium B.C.
In the ancient Middle East, the Sumerians used natural asphalt/bitumen deposits for mortar between bricks and stones, to cement parts of carvings, such as eyes, into place, for ship caulking, and for waterproofing.the Greek historian Herodotus said hot asphalt/bitumen was used as mortar in the walls of Babylon.
In some versions of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, the name of the substance used to bind the bricks of the Tower of Babel is translated as bitumen (see Gen 11:3), while other translations use the word pitch. A one-kilometre tunnel beneath the river Euphrates at Babylon in the time of Queen Semiramis (ca. 800 B.C.) was reportedly constructed of burnt bricks covered with asphalt/bitumen as a waterproofing agent.
The first British patent for the use of asphalt/bitumen was Cassell's patent asphalte or bitumen' in 1834. Then on 25 November 1837, Richard Tappin Claridge patented the use of Seyssel asphalt (patent #7849), for use in asphalte pavement, having seen it employed in France and Belgium when visiting with Frederick Walter Simms, who worked with him on the introduction of asphalt to Britain.
Claridge's Patent Asphalte Company was formed for the purpose of introducing to Britain "Asphalte in its natural state from the mine at Pyrimont Seysell in France" and laid one of the first asphalt pavements in WhitehallTrials were made of the pavement in 1838 on the footway in Whitehall, the stable at Knightsbridge Barracks, and subsequently on the space at the bottom of the steps leading from Waterloo Place to St. James Park.
The formation in 1838 of Claridge's Patent Asphalte Company with a distinguished list of aristocratic patrons,Marc and Isambard kingdom Brunel as, respectively, a trustee and consulting engineer,gave an enormous impetus to the development of a British asphalt industry.
in the 1830s, there was a surge of interest, and asphalt became widely used "for pavements, flat roofs, and the lining of cisterns, and in England, some use of it had been made of it for similar purposes.
in 1838, there was a flurry of entrepreneurial activity over asphalt, which had uses beyond paving. For example, asphalt could also used for flooring, damp proofing in buildings, and for waterproofing of various types of pools and baths.
In 1847, Claridge's company promoted itself as producing "the only impervious and permanent covering for arches and roofs, and lining of reservoirs, gutters.
Sir Walter Raleigh originally discovered the famous Trinidad Lake of Asphalt in 1595.
Sir Christopher Columbus reportedly waterproofed his boat using a form of mastic asphalt.
Tutankhamunís tomb was encased in ëan asphalticcompoundí. The tombstayed watertight for over 2000 years.
Noahís Ark was ëcaulked with pitch and sandí, a contemporary version of mastic asphalt.
‘Asphalt roofing, properly designed and laid, should prove capable of lasting 50 to 60 years’
(Source: Building Research Establishment Digest 14)