History of Cement

Around the World:

7000 to 8000BC Israel Floor constructed from lime plaster uncovered during excavations at the neolithic village of Yiftahel in Lower Galilee.
Turkey & Iran Plastered floors also known from this period in Turkey (lime based plaster) and Iran (gypsum based plaster).
5600BC Serbia 250mm thick hut floor discovered at Lepenski Vir on the banks of the River Danube. Concrete made from stone, gravel and ‘red lime’ which was transported from approx. 300km upstream, to which water was added.
3000BC China Cementitious materials used to build the Great Wall.
2500BC Egypt Bonding agent of lime and gypsum used in construction of Great Pyramid at Giza. Oldest known illustration depicting concrete manufacture and use in the form of a mural from Thebes, c.1950BC.
300BC to AD476 Roman Empire Volcanic ash from a source near Pozzuoli combined with lime to form the earliest ‘pozzolanic’ cements. Concrete derives it’s name from ‘concretus’, meaning compounded or grown together. Using this pozzolanic cement the Romans built structures which still exist today.
Middle Ages Concrete use disappeared with the fall of the Roman Empire.
1756 England John Smeaton, an engineer from Leeds, developed a mortar from lime, clay and imported pozzolana from Italy which would harden under water. He used this to construct the Eddystone lighthouse in the English Channel.
1818 France Louis Vicat’s discovery of “artificial cement” is formally recognised by the French Academy of Sciences.
1824 England Joseph Aspdin, another Leeds-man, obtained the first patent for cement. He called his product ‘Portland Cement’ because of it’s similarity, when set, to Portland stone.
1824 to Present Portland Cement manufacture grows rapidly, spreading to continental Europe and the United States. By 1900 world cement consumption had reached 13 million tonnes. Enormous growth in demand in the past century leading to current global production of over 4 billion tonnes annually.

Cement in Ireland:

1883 to 1925 Ireland First plant opened at Drinagh, Co. Wexford which produced cement until 1914 and again from 1918 to 1925. Small plants also built in Ringsend and Rialto during this time.
1925 to 1936 In 1913 a plant opened in Co. Antrim which was the only native supply during the period 1925-1936.
1936 to 1972 It became obvious that provision must be made for the establishment of a stable home industry to meet increasing demand for cement and as a result Cement Ltd, later to become Irish Cement Ltd, was formed. Production commenced in Limerick and Drogheda in 1938.
1972 to 2006 In 1972 Irish Cement started production at a new ‘dry process’ factory in Platin, Co.Meath, and in 1977 completed a second kiln at Platin which allowed production at Drogheda be phased out. In 1983 a new kiln was commissioned in Limerick replacing the older ‘wet process’ kilns.
2006 to Present In 2006 Irish Cement introduced CEM II, an eco-efficient cement, to the market. In late 2008 ‘Kiln 3’, a €200 million investment, was completed at Platin making it one of the most energy efficient plants in Europe.


Production Process

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How Cement is made

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