Monday, September 19, 2011

Surfacing in Des Moines

Streets, roads, thoroughfares.  You've got your concrete and your asphalt.  Who could ask for anything more?  Des Moines, apparently.  First came the macadam, in 1882.  What is macadam, you ask?  While a delicious snack is brought to mind, Webster's defines macadam thusly: "macadamized roadway or pavement especially with a bituminous binder".  Ooooooo, that's helpful.  OK, macadamize means "to construct or finish (a road) by compacting into a solid mass a layer of small broken stone on a convex well-drained roadbed and using a binder (as cement or asphalt) for the mass".  What happened to bituminous?  So, to sum up: the first road surfacing in Des Moines consisted of mushed-up stones held together by something mysterious.
 I couldn't stand it, I looked up bituminous! It means "impregnated with bitumen".  Aaaaah!!!  When will I learn to look up the simplest form of the word?  When?  Bitumen.  Oh dear.  The definition is a whole paragraph long.  I think I'll stick to macadam.  More surfaces tomorrow.

Source:  Des Moines Register 5/12/1950


Sarah Elsewhere said...

I think that bitumen is just about the same thing as asphalt.

cboy said...

Cute! You make even roadwork interesting!