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HISTORY OF FORMWORK

Some of the earliest examples of concrete slabs were built by Roman engineers. Because concrete is quite strong in resisting compressive loads, but has relatively poor tensile or torsional strength, these early structures consisted of arches, vaults and domes. The most notable concrete structure from this period is the Pantheon in Rome. To mould this structure, temporary scaffolding and formwork or falsework was built in the future shape of the structure. These building techniques were not isolated to pouring concrete, but were and are widely used in masonry. Because of the complexity and the limited production capacity of the building material, concrete’s rise as a favored building material did not occur until the invention of Portland cement (and developments by the Edison Portland Cement Company) and reinforced concrete.