History of Pumice
The earliest known reference its special properties are found in Vitruvio’s compendium of architecture of the First Century BC. Vitruvio describes artificial agglomerates lighter than water, and buoyant, containing an inert pumice-like mass, and he lists among their qualities that “they are not hygroscopic, do not absorb water, and only slightly weigh down the foundations of the structures”.
At the time of the Ancient Romans pumice was largely used in the construction of thermal baths and temples, many of which can still be seen today. The two most notable examples from these times are the Pantheon of Rome, where granules of pumice were used in the construction of the dome, and the St Sophia Cathedral built by the Byzantines in Istanbul in the Forth Century AD.
From this time until the 1800’s when the use of pumice reappeared in many Rhinenland cities in Germany, it seems that the use of pumice in construction was disregarded in Europe. In the USA Pumice began to be used in the construction industry in California in 1851, and expanded into 15 states and 103 workplaces. Currently, with the development of technology and increased awareness of environmental issues its uses have spread into many other diverse industries.