[WORLDKINGS] On this day - May 31, 2023 – The 153rd Anniversary of Edward de Smedt's patent for asphalt pavement (1870)


(Worldkings.org) Edward J. De Smedt is a professor who emigrated from Belgium. Known for having invented modern road asphalt in 1870. The word asphalt comes from the Greek “asphaltos” and meaning “secure”.

The first steps came in the 1860s when Edward de Smedt was working on coal dust problems at Columbia University in New York City. He called it “sheet asphalt pavement” but it became known as “French asphalt pavement”.

Initially, the roads aren’t born for cars, but for cyclists, that they soon became the pioneers of motoring. On May 31, 1870, Edward Desemdt received a patent for asphalt pavement.


On 29 July 1870, the first sheet of Edward de Smedt's asphalt pavement was laid on William Street in Newark, New Jersey. He then engineered a modern, well-graded, maximum-density road asphalt. The first uses of this road asphalt were in Battery Park and on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1872. Five years later 54,000 square yards of sheet asphalt from Trinidad Lake were used on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.

Today almost all the roads in developed countries are surfaced with De Smedt's man-made asphalt. Asphalt comes from the processing of crude oils. The word asphalt comes from the Greek Asphaltos, meaning Secure. Everything that is valuable in crude oil is first removed and put to good use. Then what remains (hydrogen and carbon compounds with minor amounts of nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen) is made into asphalt cement for pavement.


According to idesign.wiki & amazingbelgium.be

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