The History of Asphalt

jobs in construction
jobs in construction

Asphalt has been widely utilized worldwide for years within jobs in construction due to its superior durability. In fact, most roads in the U.S. are usually carpeted with asphalt pavement made from asphalt, gravel, stone, and sand. However, about 125 years ago, asphalt was rare, unlike today when it has become common. With this in mind, let’s explore the history of asphalt.

625 B.C

The first record of asphalt as a road construction material was in Babylon. The English word asphalt is from the Greek’ asphaltos’ meaning source. Ancient Greeks used asphalt in several construction applications. Also, the ancient Romans utilized asphalt to seal their reservoirs, baths, and aqueducts.


Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer, discovered a lake of asphalt on Trinidad island and used it to re-caulk his ships.


In Paris, natural asphalt rock was used to pave Champ-Eysses. This was the first modern asphalt road.


Edmund J. DeSmedt laid the initial application of asphalt pavement in the U.S. in Newark, NJ. This is almost similar to the asphalt paving used today.


With the increase of automobiles, there was a higher demand for better roads, leading to more innovations in laying asphalt. This led to the introduction of mechanical drum mixers and spreaders for the first machine laid asphalt.


Canada had its first asphalt-built roads in Camrose, Alberta, Ottawa, Ontario, and Edmonton, Jasper.


In 1956, congress passed the Interstate Highways Act, which allowed for $15 billion in road construction. This is arguably the largest public works project that created several jobs in construction.


In 2005, it was clear that asphalt had made a transformative shift in the American landscape. With over 2.6 million miles of roads paved with asphalt in America, the number of jobs in construction continued to increase.


Asphalt has contributed to better roads and infrastructure all over the globe. The number of jobs in construction has also grown tremendously, with organizations like Kilgore Companies employing scientists, engineers, and other professionals to create new asphalt roads.


Need construction materials as well as paving and construction services? Kilgore Companies handles local and large-scale projects, and we always deliver world-class success. Contact us today for more details.