The concept of tightly fitted paving units on a sand base is very old. The first segmental paved roads were constructed in the year 5000 B.C. by the Cretans or also known as the Minoans. With plenty of free labor and military dominance, the Romans constructed the first paved interstate system over 1,900 years ago. This system consisted of a 51,000-mile network of roads that could handle heavy traffic and extreme conditions. Since then, almost every culture continues to use segmental pavements.
During the vast reconstruction following World War II, paving stones experienced a renaissance. Fritz Von Langsdorff, an engineer from Germany, developed a choice of shapes and colors for concrete pavers that featured tremendous pressure resistance and low moisture content. The earliest paving stones were installed in Stuttgart, Germany. This is also the hometown of the Mercedes Benz and Porsche.
The Germans engineered very efficient machinery for the production of concrete pavers in the 1960's. Then in the 1970's, manufacturing technology quickly moved to England, the rest of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.
Germany produces over a billion square feet of pavers. In the 70's, the technology of interlocking pavers was introduced to Canada and then quickly spread to the United States. As of 1994, North American sales of interlocking pavers reached almost 200 million square ft. While this represents strong growth over a 20 year period, it is small in comparison to the other 4 billion plus-sq. ft. sold globally.
Interlocking pavers are pliable pavements. This flexibility means that pressure is distributed through the base by point-to-point contact and interlock with the aggregate. The base protects the soil sub-grade from deforming under pressure. The base moves slightly when put under heavy pressure, then returns to its original position. This gives them a distinct advantage over rigid forms of pavement such as poured concrete and asphalt, which tend to break easier should the base move from loads or natural settlement due to weather. Interlocking pavers are extremely resistant to abrasion, freeze-thaw cycles, and salts, chemical spills of oil and gasoline, which can literally melt asphalt. Interlocking concrete pavers are ready for immediate use after installation. There is no need to wait for curing or drying of the surface. Pavers are quickly and easily repaired with the proper equipment and materials.