Monday, January 16, 2012

History of Paving Stones


History of Paving Stones

Paving stones, or pavers as they are sometimes called, are concrete blocks used in landscaping.  They came to Canada and the United States after being developed in Europe in the 1970s.  In Calgary paving stones are often what people use to give their driveway, walkway or patio extra charm.
While they weren’t the first (that goes to the Egyptians) the Romans used pavers in 500 BC to get better use out of their roads.  The mud on the road really slowed down the traffic.  If there wasn’t mud that was dust, which created its own set of problems.  The Romans fixed these problems by created a deep bed of crushed rock while putting hexagonal cap stones as the top layer.  These provided the Roman military with greater mobility. 
As time progressed, a lot of streets, roadways and avenues used the Roman way, using natural rocks and clay.  These were used up until the 18th century when English road workers surmised that using clean stones would make for better roads.  This upped the cost of paving until the invention of concrete paving stones.  This increased the speed by which people could travel using the latest technology at the time, horse drawn carriages. 
As much of the Netherlands is below sea level, in the 1940s the Dutch were having problems with streets shifting and sinking.  Paving stones were seen as a much better solution that concrete as concrete would crack as the ground moved.  This allowed for a much more malleable and structurally sound road structures that would withstand the movement of the ground.
When Europe was reconstructed after being destroyed by World War II, paving stones were often used as they have shown to be a better long term way to build roads than concrete or asphalt.  At this time colors and shapes were introduced to paving stones by German Engineer Fritz Von Langsdorff. They also used concrete paving stones as they were cheaper to use and held together better under pressure.  Concrete paving stones were first seen in Stuttgart, Germany.

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