Page 25

2015SummerShotcreteEMag

along who found a way to break concrete out of its figurative shell. A brilliant taxidermist, accomplished explorer, and mechanical genius, Carl E. Akeley was working just after the turn of the last century on techniques for hand-tooling realistic skeletal and musculature frames over which to fit the preserved skins of animals for museum displays. In 1907, a particularly insightful museum director saw what Akeley was accomplishing and gave him a dif- ferent sort of challenge, asking him to replaster the faded façade of the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago. To simplify the application process, Akeley assembled a pressurized, double-chamber “gun” that sprayed material onto the museum’s vertical Fig. 3: A later cement gun model available through the Cement Gun Co. surfaces. No less a friend than Theodore Roos- evelt, with whom Akeley had traveled for a year on an expedition to Africa, heard about this inno- vative system and encouraged Akeley to patent it—which he did. In 1911, he was awarded Patent No. 991814 for “an apparatus for mixing and applying plastic or adhesive materials.” The gun made its public debut that same year at the Cement Show in New York, where the publication Cement Age reported that “the cement gun was another revelation in the way of mechan- ical ingenuity.” The term gunite was coined a year later, based on the description of “gunning” of material through the device onto the receiving surface. In short order, the word “gunite” was trademarked and would go on to define the technology and its usage until the 1950s. Growth In 1916, Akeley sold his patent to Samuel Traylor, a mechanical engineer and the owner of the enormously successful Traylor Engineering and Manufacturing Co., which made its fortune in munitions manufacturing during World War I. Traylor had first encountered Akeley’s machine at the Cement Show in 1911, and while he was fully aware of the initial mechanical problems Akeley had experienced with his early models, Traylor was convinced of its potential and moved forward accordingly. For his part, Akeley engaged his wanderlust Fig. 4-6: A Cement once again and ultimately succumbed to fever in Gun Co. Bulletin, the Belgian Congo in 1926. He died a relatively highlighting one of poor man, despite more than 30 patents he held the first “gunite” for a variety of other inventions. swimming pools at the In 1920, Samuel Traylor acquired the Cement Lehigh Country Club Gun Co. of Allentown, PA. His aim was to perfect and effectively market the cement gun, and along the way he singlehandedly launched the shotcrete industry. His new company fiercely guarded the “gunite” trademark while producing equipment and as a subcontractor, applying the material in Shotcrete • Summer 2015 23


2015SummerShotcreteEMag
To see the actual publication please follow the link above