History of Cement

History of Cement: Portland cement is one of the components used to

History of cement
Figure 1: cement

make concrete, which is the most widely used construction material on earth. Concrete comes as the secondary consumed material in the world, noting that the first material is water. This article walks you through the development of cement throughout the history.


Hydraulic cement are powder materials, which react with water to produce a strong and water-insoluble solid. Portland cement (PC) is an example of hydraulic cements. Gypsum and lime are not hydraulic, they create products that breaks under water.

By far, portland cement is the most significant hydraulic cement applied, because it has reasonable price and good properties. When we say “portland cement”, we mean the class of hydraulic cements the essential constituents of which are two calcium silicates.

History of Cement

Cementing materials were crucial in the ancient world. Egyptians used calcined gypsum as cement. Greeks and Romans used lime prepared by heating limestone. They added sand to make mortar and coarser stones to make concrete.

The name cement is derived from the Roman times. They could initially create a binding material to make a concrete-like masonry by burning lime and adding water and crushed stones. They named the material as “Opus Caementitium”. Later, Romans mixed brick powder and volcanic tuff with burned lime and used it as hydraulic binder, which was called Cementum and Cement.

Modern History

J. Smeaton of England: He discovered the importance of clay for the hydraulic properties of a naturally occurring mixture of limestone and clay when he was trying to find a water resistant mortar to build the Eddystone light tower by Plymouth. This material was named as Roman cement.

The French L. J. Vicat and the German J. F. John: each discovered that optimum addition amount for clay to limestone to produce the best hydraulic lime is 25 to 30%.

Joseph Aspdin, a bricklayer of Leeds: he coined the name portland cement in 1824 and filed a patent for “a cement of superior quality resembling Portland stone,” which is a natural limestone comes from the peninsula of Portland (a city) in England.

However, despite the name, that material was probably another hydraulic lime since the temperature used to burn the raw materials was low.

Isaac C. Johnson: started the production of portland cement in the modern sense about 20 years later.

W. Michaelis: was the first to discuss in 1868 the best composition of the raw materials for portland cement.

In Austria 1912: The first high-early strength portland cement was manufactured by buring the clinker at higher temperature and increasing the cement fineness.

F. Ferrari: patented the first portland cement with improved sulfate resistance in Italy in 1919.

1880: White portland cement appeared in small quantities already in Germany.

1930: oil well cement started to be manufactured when the increased well depths needed cements with longer setting times under high temperature and pressure. 

David Saylor, Pennsylvania: produced the first portland cement in the United States in 1871 in vertical kilns similar to those used for burning lime.

1899: the rotary kiln was introduced for increasing both quality and quantity.

Thomas Edison: contributed significantly to the development of rotary kilns in large sizes. 

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