Mastic asphalt for use as pavement quality surfacing is an ‘old’ product in the sense that it has been around for some time. In fact Neuchatel is one of New Zealand’s oldest trademarks having first been registered in 1905.
Mastic asphalt as a product for use in pavement surfacing has been around for some time. As early as the 1700s when natural rock asphalt (limestone impregnated with about 5 – 15% bitumen) was discovered in France and Switzerland, where it was mined, ground and heated to form a paste like material. This was then placed in position with a wooden float and provided both a durable and waterproof layer.
Because it was found to be so long lasting, the use of mastic asphalt was further developed. Particularly during the 1800s when it was discovered that a natural occurring bitumen located in a ‘Iake’ in Trinidad, West lndies could be added to, (and eventually replace), the rock asphalt, as well as enhancing the durable properties of the mix. It was during this period that the refinement of adding stone to the paste (or epuré) was found to provide greater stability to the mix.