A Few Words About The Origin Of Cobblestone
What is Cobblestone? The term cobblestone has come to mean a couple of different things in today's world, but its true meaning refers to small natural stones used for paving. They usually consist of granite.
Cobblestones are rounded, water-worn stones used to pave streets. They were traditionally set in sand and sometimes bound with mortar. And there were many advantages to using them. Cobblestone streets did not develop ruts, nor did they get muddy or dusty, like dirt roads. Sand-set cobblestones make a permeable and “flexible” road surface; they don’t crack with movements in the ground due to freezing and heaving.
In geology, cobble or cobblestone is the word for a rock in the size range of 64-256 mm (2.5-10 inches). (If it is smaller, then it is a pebble; if it is larger, it is a boulder.) The word is commonly applied to any type of rounded rock (basalt, granite, gneiss, sandstone, etc.)
The name 'cobblestone' finds its history in the old English word “cob”, which referred to a large, round lump. Around the 15th century, the word 'cobble' referred to small stones found in stream beds. These stones formed the first cobblestone streets.
As early as 238 B.C.E., the Romans used tons and tons of cobblestones to create 50,000 miles of roads linking every part of the Roman Empire.
From Pebbles To Pavers
Cobblestones eventually fell out of favor for quarried granite setts, which are relatively regular, rectangular stones laid out in a pattern. These made for a much smoother and safer surface than cobbles in the 19th century and are what most people refer to as “cobblestones” today.
Cobblestones have their place in modern applications today due to their natural appeal and durability. They are used in restoration and new residential and commercial developments. Often cobblestones are used in new city plazas, parks, public open spaces, and malls as a stand-out design element. That design influence has crossed over to residential driveways and patios. With this growing market, both salvaged and new cobblestone materials can be purchased now with increasing ease and decreasing expense.