Did you know? Asphalt was invented by a Belgian

06.08.2018 - Agne Steponaityte

Back in 1870 Belgian chemist Edward J. De Smedt patented ‘sheet asphalt pavement’ with its main purpose - building roads - in mind. In true Belgian fashion, the first asphalted roads weren’t made for cars either - it was to be used by cyclists.

Edward J. De Smedt was an emigrant that lived in America so his first attempts to make a smooth path for bike lovers was made in New Jersey. After a couple of years of attempts, he finally came up with the most durable mix that was used to pave the high-profile Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. Cyclists truly rejoiced.

Massive production started, more roads were built. Still, it took a while for the asphalt ‘recipe’ to be perfected. It became the road-surfacing material of choice in the 1940s.

 

More info: Roads Were Not Built For Cars: How Cyclists Were The First For Good Roads And Became The Pioneers Of Motoring

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