From a unique deposit located in the Chartreuse massif, the natural cement PROMPT has been manufactured using the same process since the 19th century. Discover the history of our material.
Discover the history of our material
Natural cement or Roman cement
Quick-setting natural cement is the first cement in the modern sense of the term. It represented a technological breakthrough in its time. Natural cement, also known as Roman cement, played a significant role in numerous constructions in the 19th century due to its key properties. These included its rapid setting time, the strength of mortars, the aesthetic appeal of natural cement, and the durability of structures. It's important to note that in the 19th century, there was considerable confusion regarding the various names used for cement, such as natural cement, Roman cement, quick-setting cement, plaster-cement, etc., all referring to the same production site. The most accurate denomination would be "quick natural cement."
From Louis Vicat to the La Pérelle cement plant
In 1818, Louis Vicat published his theory on hydraulicity in his treatise on construction lime, providing a precise method for measuring the hydraulic energy of binders. He was the first to manufacture hydraulic lime in a controlled manner, marking the beginning of the cement era. Plants were established in numerous countries, implementing his teachings. Joseph Vicat, also a polytechnic engineer, continued his father's work by establishing the La Pérelle Cement Plant near Grenoble in 1875. At the time, this cement plant already employed industrial kilns. For 200 years, the expertise of the La Pérelle cement plant has remained unchanged. The PROMPT natural cement is an exclusive product of the Vicat Group. It is the only natural cement manufactured industrially.
Growing success in the 19th century
Architects greatly valued natural cement in the 19th century. It was an ideal solution for faithfully restoring period facades, including precast moldings, molded profiles, and stone imitations.
Natural cement gradually replaced plaster, which was originally used. Why such enthusiasm? There are several reasons. The first is the light ochre color of PROMPT natural cement, a considerable aesthetic advantage that makes it an alternative to natural stone. Its yellowish ochre color with hints of brown, rather than gray, gives it a remarkable patina over time. Furthermore, natural cement provides an economical and durable solution for facade decoration.
It perfectly imitates stone without the associated cost. Another reason for its success is its rapid hydraulic property, which allowed for effective solutions in water-contact structures. Additionally, natural cement fueled the start of the precast industry, particularly in the production of water mains. Pipes made with this cement were much more resistant to aggressive water than those made with artificial Portland cement. Lastly, its manufacturing process is straightforward.
To learn more, discover the history of our brand as well as the behind-the-scenes of our deposit.
In the heart of Chartreuse