Over two thousand years ago, the Romans developed a simple system for building roads. Some of these roads are still in use today. The system consisted of a well compacted base of limestone (or lime and gravel), covered with a tight fitting cut stone, which produced an excellent and economical roadway that remained virtually maintenance free in all types of weather.
The Romans used natural cut stone for their surface; today’s modern paving stone is manufactured of high strength concrete in a modern pre cast concrete plant, under controlled conditions which produce units in many shapes and colors.
The first concrete pavers weren’t produced until the mid 1940’s. It started in Holland where all the roads need to be flexible because Holland is below sea level and the ground shifts, moves and sinks. Poured concrete is not an option because it will crack. Individual units not set in concrete, laid in sand, perform far better than concrete in environments that move and shift. Before the paver was made from concrete, either real stone or a clay product had to be employed.
Individual cut stones or clay bricks were used for roadways up until the mid 1940’s when the first concrete pavers were manufactured in Holland. Since Holland is under sea level and has a constant problem of a failing infrastructure they had to use a segmental paving stone and a concrete paver turned out to be more economical and much stronger than chipped stone or bricks.
The first concrete pavers were shaped just like a brick, 4” by 8” and they were called Holland stones and still are today. These units turned out to be far more economical to produce and were exceedingly strong.
The first production of concrete pavers in North America was in Canada, in 1973. Due to their success, paving stone manufacturing plants began to open throughout the United States working their way from East to West.
Since pavers weigh so much it becomes economically prohibitive to transport them long distances, over 200 to 300 miles. So today most metropolitan areas have at least one or two manufacturing plants, in some cases like Los Angeles as many as five.