The Life of Joseph Aspdin, An Inventor and Father of Portland Cement

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The Life of Joseph Aspdin, An Inventor and Father of Portland Cement: the life story of the inventor of Portland cement.

Joseph Aspdin was born in 1778 in Yorkshire, England. He was a bricklayer by trade and made his living as such. However, he was also a very inventive person who spent much of his free time coming up with new products and new processes for making materials. One such invention was Portland cement. In 1824 Joseph Aspdin received a patent for his invention which he called Portland cement because its color resembled that of stone quarried on the Isle of Portland off the coast of England.

Joseph Aspdin was not the first to make this type of material but he was certainly the most successful at developing it into a truly useful product.

The Life of Joseph Aspdin, An Inventor and Father of Portland Cement: the life story of the inventor of Portland cement.

Joseph Aspdin was born in 1778 at Hunslet near Leeds, England. Joseph’s father, William Aspdin, was a bricklayer or stonemason by trade. William and his wife had six children, two girls and four boys, but only two of them reached maturity. These were Thomas, who became a bricklayer in Nottingham; and Joseph who went to the grammar school in Wakefield until he was sixteen years old. The other children died young.

Joseph married Mary Stiff in 1800 while they were still quite young and they had three sons and one daughter, all born at Leeds. Their first son William died in infancy; Thomas (1805-1864) became a ship’s carpenter; James (1808-1864) also became a ship’s carpenter; and Ann (1803-1872) married John Walker who was a painter.

The life story of the inventor of Portland cement.

Joseph Aspdin was born in Armley, Leeds, England, on 12th November 1778, the son of Thomas Aspdin, a bricklayer and master builder. He was educated at a local school with his elder brother William, who was to become a particularly important person in his life. He lived at home until he was 18 and then left for Wakefield where he served an apprenticeship with an experienced brickmaker before returning to Leeds to work for his father as a journeyman mason for about two years. His father then set him up in business on his own account making lime from chalk.

In 1800 aged 22 he married Sarah Moore from Bradford and they had nine children over the next fifteen years but only three survived into adulthood. His wife died in 1817 while giving birth to their ninth child. The family lived in various parts of Leeds before finally moving to Hunslet [1 mile south of Leeds] where Joseph bought a house at 5 Park Street which still stands today [Photo 1].

Joseph’s invention of Portland cement is well documented as are some of his other inventions but there is very little information about his life outside work and I have been unable to find any description of what sort of

Joseph Aspdin (1779-1855), an English bricklayer, was an inventor and the creator of Portland cement. He was born in Leeds, England and moved to Wakefield at age 21. The story goes that one day he mixed a special formula of cement which turned out to be very hard when it dried. His son, William also developed a similar formula. Joseph claimed his formula to be original, but his son insisted that he had taken it from him.

In 1824 Aspdin patented the name Portland cement because he said the color and quality of his product resembled Portland stone. (Portland is a limestone island off the coast of England). He and his son were the only two producers of Portland cement until after their deaths, when several others began making it.

Aspdin’s family struggled with poverty throughout their lives and were constantly in debt. Joseph had trouble holding onto jobs because he was an alcoholic, and his fighting with other workers led to many dismissals. The company Bevans found William, who had inherited the patent on Portland cement after Joseph died, unable to secure financing due to insufficient funds.

The company paid off all of William’s debts and bought the patent from him for £5,000 ($7,800). Later

Joseph Aspdin (1778 – 1855) was born in Leeds, England on December 21 1778. He was the son of a bricklayer, and he followed his father’s footsteps and became a bricklayer when he left school.

He married Phoebe Wood in 1800 and set up home in Hunslet Lane, Leeds. In 1810 he opened a small workshop in Cookridge Street, Leeds where he experimented with lime burning and cement production. In 1824 he patented a material which he called Portland Cement because of its resemblance to Portland Stone when set.

Because of its slow hardening properties production did not take off immediately but it gained favour over other cements during the construction of the London Docks during the 1830’s. A number of British patents were granted to Aspdin’s competitors for improved versions of his cement but in 1841 Joseph’s son William patented a superior product based on clay instead of chalk, and this was the basis for all subsequent improvements in Portland Cement.

Joseph Aspdin died in Gateshead, England on February 7 1855 at the age of 76 and was buried there.

Joseph Aspdin was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1778. His father William Aspdin was a bricklayer who had migrated to the north of England from Norfolk. The Aspdins lived on Marsh Lane, Holbeck, near Leeds. Joseph followed his father’s trade, becoming a bricklayer and later a plasterer and stonemason. Joseph married Mary Smith in 1795 and they had ten children (five daughters and five sons). The oldest son William died at the age of 11 after falling from an apple tree; the youngest son James died at the age of 3 from convulsions following an accident involving a coal fire.

Joseph moved to Wakefield in 1801 where he became involved in building the local gaol (jail). He then moved to Pontefract for two years before moving again to Castleford where he remained for eight years. It was during this time that he developed what was to be his first patent – a method of burning lime in kilns so that it could be ground into a fine powder and sold as Roman cement. (This was different to Portland cement which is made with clay or shale.)

The method used by Aspdin was similar to that already patented by others but he modified it so

Joseph Aspdin was a British cement manufacturer who obtained the patent for Portland cement on 21 October 1824. The product was named Portland cement because it looked like Portland stone quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England.

Aspdin’s cement was nothing like modern Portland cement but was a first step in the development of modern hydraulic limes, obeying Boden’s law. It was a blend of finely ground clay and limestone burnt until it resembled clinker, then ground to a fine powder.

It is not known when Joseph began producing this material, but he purchased a coal-fired kiln in Wakefield in 1822 and erected another on Canal Street in 1824.

He obtained the patent for his invention by describing the processes involved as follows:

I Benjamin Haddock [his attorney] make oath that Mr Joseph Aspdin late of Leeds in the County of York Bricklayer and Builder there did on or about the sixteenth day of April One thousand eight hundred and twenty two by an instrument under his hand sealed with his seal to me directed duly executed grant unto him the said Benjamin Haddock his executors administrators and assigns all that new method or manner of producing an artificial stone which method or manner consists in burning a composition formed of

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