What pleasure would you get from a sleek, fast automobile if the road you were driving on was filled with ruts and puddles of water? You couldn't make much time, and what time you did make would be uncomfortable. The man who saved us from these conditions never saw an automobile because none had been invented during his lifetime. John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836), whose name has a variant spelling of Macadam, was born in Ayr, Scotland, but his care, on the death of his father in 1770, was entrusted to a merchant uncle in New York. McAdam was put to work in his uncle's counting house, and by the time he was twentyseven, he had acquired a tidy fortune.
   When McAdam returned to his native Scotland, he was appalled by the condition of the roads, which were of rubble granite. The lives of horses that trod on them were shortened, and, after a heavy rain, the roads became a morass and were all but impassable.
   McAdam conducted road-making experiments at Falmouth and Bristol and conceived the idea of a roadbed consisting of layers of broken stones of nearly uniform size. Placed over a convex roadbed which allowed water to drain off, the stones would then be crushed into position by traffic. Roads so built were said to be macadamized. McAdam's roads were a boon to transportation. He was appointed general surveyor in 1827 for all English highways.
   A bituminous binder for roads is called tarmac. Airfields have also been called tarmacs ("There are two planes on the tarmac"). One can find McAdam's name in tarmac, a shortening of tarmacadam. But MacAdam never had the pleasure of seeing his name (or a part of it) used with tarmac. It was sixty years after his death, in 1903, that the Wright brothers made their famous flight.
   Automobiles jar the stones loose on a macadam road. A more compact surface, such as asphalt, has generally replaced macadam.

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  • Macadamize — Mac*ad am*ize, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Macadamized}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Macadamizing}.] [From John Loudon McAdam, who introduced the process into Great Britain in 1816.] To cover, as a road, or street, parking lot, playground, or other flat area, with …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • macadamize — (v.) 1826, from MACADAM (Cf. macadam) + IZE (Cf. ize). Related: Macadamized; macadamizing …   Etymology dictionary

  • macadamize — (Amer.) mac ad·am·ize || mÉ™ kædÉ™maɪz v. macadamise, pave a road or other surface with macadam (layers of broken stones) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • macadamize — [mə kad′ə mīz΄] vt. macadamized, macadamizing 1. to make (a road) by rolling successive layers of macadam on a dry earth roadbed 2. to repair or cover (a road) with macadam …   English World dictionary

  • macadamize — transitive verb ( ized; izing) Date: 1824 to construct or finish (a road) by compacting into a solid mass a layer of small broken stone on a convex well drained roadbed and using a binder (as cement or asphalt) for the mass …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • macadamize — macadamization, n. /meuh kad euh muyz /, v.t., macadamized, macadamizing. to pave by laying and compacting successive layers of broken stone, often with asphalt or hot tar. Also, esp. Brit., macadamise. [1815 25; MACADAM + IZE] * * * …   Universalium

  • macadamize — verb To cover, as a road, or street, with small, broken stones, so as to form a smooth, hard, convex surface …   Wiktionary

  • macadamize — mac·ad·am·ize …   English syllables

  • macadamize — mac•ad•am•ize [[t]məˈkæd əˌmaɪz[/t]] v. t. ized, iz•ing civ to pave by compacting broken stone, often with asphalt or tar • Etymology: 1815–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • macadamize —   Ho ounu. See pave …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

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