Infoscience

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The Search for Affordable Cement and Concrete in the 18th and 19th Century

The interest of German building masters towards hydraulic binders grows at the third decade of the 19th century. This acute interest is stimulated by the import of «Roman Cement» from England and by the acquisition of the knowledge related to it. The dissertation examines the historical events related to the introduction of «Roman Cement» in Germany. It takes into account the simultaneous search for a German way to the development of hydraulic binders based on scientific theories rather than on empirical experiences. Two geographic areas are identified. The East-North-Central States, where the production of cement starts by the end of the 1820s in imitation of «Roman Cement». The South-West-Central States, where the production of hydraulic lime starts by the early 1830s as implementation of German scientific studies about lime and mortar, not as imitation of «Roman Cement». Data and facts have been collected from the 19th century technical literature, books, periodicals, pamphlets, and from archival sources. This dissertation belongs to the literature concerning the early development of German hydraulic binders in the 19th century. Nevertheless, while most of studies focus on regional subjects and claim that the German industry of «Roman Cement» arises by the 1830s even in the South of the country, this dissertation ranges over a wider geographical scale, it evaluates different inputs and shows that, in the South of the country, the production of hydraulic lime arises by the 1830s and represents the root of the peculiar German scientific approach to the production and use of modern hydraulic binders.

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