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CHAMBERS, Abraham Henry

Observations on the formation, state and condition of turnpike roads and other highways with suggestions for their permanent improvement on scientific principles by means of the natural materials of which they are composed: To which is added, a practical system (on the like principles) for the construction of sound substantial roads and under-drains by means of a patent substitute for hard road materials, where such substances are not practically obtainable.
London, Printed for the Author, 1820


An early scheme promoting the use of concrete for road building, written when the emphasis in road improvement was shifting away from the design of vehicles to the actual form and construction of the roadway itself.

Chambers' patent provided for a rigid foundation of concrete made up of an hydraulic cement made by grinding vitrified clay, the whole 'grouted together with hot lime and water'. He was highly conscious of the necessity of a good foundation and adequate drainage and describes how his system could be used to repair existing roads as well as construct new ones. It was no doubt cheaper than Telford's system, which used dressed stone blocks as a foundation and it would be interesting to know if Chambers had any success with it. As it is, Telford is generally credited with the first use of a concrete road foundation when he improved Highgate Archway Road in London in 1828.


8vo. 28pp. Quarter cloth. Skempton No. 215.



Catalogue No: 5333