A Quick History Of Tarmacadam

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The man behind the name.

It should come as no surprise that Tarmacadam was invented by a Scotsman (we are a Scottish company after all so we are allowed to boast about such matters).

It was pioneered in the early 1800s by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam. Up to this point all road surfaces were just a mix of small pieces of chipped gravel, which quickly deteriorated and large dents/holes were easily left on the surface by large wheels. The roads also became difficult to travel on due to the large amount of dust kicked up and the small, sharp pieces of stone were also prone to puncturing tyres.

John Loudon McAdam created the first basic road surface which was then expanded upon  by Edgar Purnell Hooley, who noticed a section of road he was surveying looked remarkably pristine. After speaking with locals he learned that a barrel of tar had burst open across the road. A quick-thinking employee had dumped waste slag from a nearby ironworks on top of the tar to reduce the mess created by the sticky tar.

This inadvertently lead to the development of the modern tarmac road as the improvised resurfacing of the road had solidified and smoothed the track.

Hooley then patented the process of heating tar and then mixing it with slag and broken stones. This new, hardwearing road surface was successfully marketed as tarmacadam in honour of its original inventor John Loudon McAdam.

Contact us today to discuss your Tarmacadam surfacing & reinstatement needs