The History of Asphalt

Since the last half of the 19th century, asphalt pavement has been contributing to the history of the United States. Asphalt roads were a critical part of giving Americans a highway system that made it easier for them to ship their products, travel, relocate or purchase goods that were manufactured a great distance away. Asphalt is helping protect the environment through its use as a landfill barrier, and it lines the reservoirs for many municipal water supplies. Asphalt shingles cover many modern homes and businesses. However, despite its widespread use today, there was a time when the material was unknown to most Americans — the first asphalt streets did not arrive in the U.S. until around the time of the Civil War.

It is not that the U.S. was lagging far behind the rest of the world. European nations, such as France and the United Kingdom, had only begun paving roads in asphalt during the last half of the 18th century. Paving a road surface with asphalt was a difficult process at the time, and until the automobile became popular, the effort was often considered excessive for the limited demand.The slow growth of asphalt’s popularity is especially interesting when the material’s history is extended to ancient times. The earliest record of an asphalt-paved street dates to 625 B.C. and ancient Babylon. The ancient Romans, famous today for their engineering and building skills, used asphalt extensively in their projects — most of their aqueducts are lined with the material, as are many of their baths and water reservoirs.

Once the proper engineering techniques were developed, however, U.S. road builders embraced asphalt to an astounding degree. Today, approximately 94 percent of the nation’s paved roads are asphalt. It is also a popular choice for parking lots, runways and many other applications.

At Affordable Striping & Sealing, we anticipate many more changes in the industry will happen over the next century, and we are excited to be part of this ever-evolving industry. We provide a full range of asphalt repair and asphalt maintenance services to clients in the greater Las Vegas area. You can reach us at 702-222-9009, or you can request a free quote from you  Las Vegas parking lot maintenance experts!