Helaman 3:7; “And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.”
I keep learning the older I get, the less I know in life and this is a perfect example. Ha! Cement is an ingredient in concrete. I’ve always thought they were the same thing and used the words interchangeably not knowing my ignorance…sigh! From the website of www.dictionary.com it says this about cement;
“Any of various calcined mixtures of clay and limestone, usually mixed with water and sand, gravel, etc., to form concrete, that are used as a building material.”
Cement became very popular during the Roman Empire during the time of Nero, circa 60 AD. It was used to build palaces, malls and temples like the Pantheon. Aside from these large structures people didn’t use it to build homes or other buildings with it, but used it only as the glue between bricks or stones. (3)
And just when I thought learning about cement would bore me to death I learned something very curious which caught my immediate attention;
“Construction of a system of canals in the first half of the 19th Century created the first large-scale demand for cement in this country. In 1818, a year after the Erie Canal was started, Canvass White, an engineer, discovered rock deposits in Madison County, NY, from which natural hydraulic cement could be made with little additional processing. He produced large amounts of this cement for use in the Erie Canal.” (4)
Hmmm…it makes me wonder if Smith used the idea of cement homes from the local construction sites surrounding his neck of the woods…certainly he would’ve heard about this and/or read about it in the local papers!