Nine Weird and Wonderful Facts You Never Knew About Concrete

Think you know everything there is to know about concrete? Think again! Here Madmix, suppliers of concrete ready mix Cambridge, looks at nine wacky facts and figures about concrete.

1.The earliest recorded use of concrete is in Neolithic times.
You may think that concrete was a relatively new(ish) invention, but it was used in Eastern Europe and the Middle East as far back as ancient times. A Neolithic site excavated in northern Israel in the 1980’s unearthed a concrete floor…as well as evidence of a kiln used to burn limestone to make the cement. Similar evidence was also uncovered in a site in Serbia.

2. Concrete can set under water!
With the right composition, concrete can be used for under-water construction projects. Even in Roman times, concrete was used to construct bridges, and to illustrate how robust the construction material was – even in those days – some of these bridges are actually still in use today. An example of this is the aqueduct at Pont du Gard, near Remoulins, Gard, in the south of France. It was the highest of all the Roman aqueduct bridges and is actually a designated UNESCO world heritage site.

3. Billions of pounds of ready mixed concrete is made worldwide every year.
Concrete is a huge industry as it is required in all sorts of large and small projects from the laying of foundations to buildings, bridges, piers, roads, pathways, steps and driveways. The turnover of cement and ready mix concrete combined is around £2 billion in the UK alone. Plus, there are all the other concrete-related jobs such as delivery drivers, cutting specialists, those working in the pre-cast industry and builders.

4. So good they invented it twice
The Romans made wide use of concrete, and in fact the Pantheon was made with concrete. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, knowledge about concrete died with it. However, it was re-invented nearly 1300 years later by an English bricklayer in the mid 18th century. He created a cement powder through trial and error and called it Portland cement, named after the Isle of Portland off the Dorset coast.

5. Ready mix concrete…in space?
It has been proposed that moon dust could be used to make waterless concrete to build a moon base. Although we are happy to accommodate most requests – including the more unusual – sadly, the chances of future moon dwellers obtaining Madmix’s high quality concrete ready mix from our Cambridge depot, is near zero; due to access reasons, health and safety….and being well outside our delivery area.

6. A pub was built from stolen concrete
When a vessel carrying cement ran aground on the Isle of Sheppey, off the coast of Kent, excited locals thought the barrels contained whiskey. Once they discovered the barrels contained cement, the creative team remained undeterred. Instead they built a pub, called the Ship on Shore in Sheerness, and it remains a popular venue today.

7. Patented concrete furniture and musical instruments
American inventor Thomas Edison held nearly 50 patents for recast concrete, including making pianos, furniture and fridges. However, lack of demand for such products didn’t make the enterprise feasible.

8. There’s a Concrete Art movement
The Concrete Art movement was founded in 1930, with its first exhibition held in 1944 of sculptures crafted from concrete. It grew in popularity throughout the 50’s and 60’s and a big exhibition of Concrete Art was held in Zürich in 1960. There’s also a Museum of Concrete Art in Ingolstadt, Germany.

9. Concrete… is a girl’s best friend?
It may not sound that appealing, but it is possible to buy concrete jewellery in the form of necklaces, rings, bangles, pendants and even earrings. Some designs look surprisingly beautiful too…who ever knew concrete would become the next must-have fashion accessory?

For high quality concrete ready mix Cambridge, contact the Madmix team.

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