It’s easy to underestimate just how far humanity has come over the last hundred years. Up until modern times, paved roads were relatively rare. While a few especially powerful civilizations, like the Roman Empire, built relatively complicated roadway systems, the world at large remain largely untamed. Then came modern roads and asphalt pavers.
Before the asphalt paver was invented in the 19th century, roads were largely built by hand with simple tools like picks and shovels.
Roads could be “paved” by finding or making lots of flat stones that were then placed in the ground by hand. Building such roads took a long, long time and it was quite expensive.
When you think of an asphalt paver, you probably think of the paver with a large metal drum. Certainly, this is a very important piece of machinery. However, the asphalt hopper that spreads the asphalt that is then paved is also very important. Building an asphalt hopper takes a lot of precision and skilled hands. Without the hopper, paving asphalt roads would take much, much longer.
Ultimately, asphalt has paved the way for modern society. Asphalt roads make up most of the paved roads in the United States because it is a cost-effective solution and these roads can last a long time.