26/11/2018
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Engineer John Loudon McAdam died - On this day in Scottish history

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John Loudon McAdam, inventor of the tarmac road surfacing method, died on 26 November 1836. McAdam came from Ayrshire and moved with his family to New York at the age of fourteen. On his return home to Scotland, he invented a new method of road surfacing after becoming exasperated with the state of the roads in his native Ayrshire.

McAdam's technique of using crushed stone which became compacted with the weight of passing vehicles is still the basis for many road surfaces today. His sons and grandsons followed him into the road building business, managing turnpike trusts and his second son James MacAdam was knighted for this work.

McAdam died in Moffat at the age of eighty, on his way home from his yearly visit to his native Scotland.

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