All by chance or the fruit of a great genius? … the birth of a Carpenter

When you consider the serious decision to start a project like this, which consists of "writing articles on a blog", one of the first thoughts that goes through your mind…

… obviously right after you have passed that IMMENSA barrier of:

But can I really have a blog?

It's definitely:

And now what do I write about this blog?

I was "brought" to school for Mathematics and French and even worse from the school benches I have been missing for quite some time.

(One day I'll also tell you the story "of my state exams")

Then after sleepless nights, after so many thoughts, after "smoothing" and rubbing his beard over and over again, just then, he turns on the light bulb

you …as it happened to Tom when he had to come up with a new way to catch the mouse Jerry.

But how did I not think about it before?


The first article has to start from the beginning and I know you're now thinking:

Of course, it is normal that with the first article it starts from the beginning!

But I guarantee you that it's not really that simple and automatic, because then: 

What is this principle?

Everyone has their own beginning, and mine for sure are:


No, it will not start an article that has as its theme my story and what were the important elements, the fundamental steps of my growth and that I thank.

If you may be interested in a small piece of my story you can go to this page

No, I am referring to a wider thank you and that lays its roots very far away.

I thought about who I should thank as a carpenter of reinforced concrete structures and to ask myself:

  1. Who has guessed that reinforced concrete structures can meet a particular need?
  2. Why do carpenters have this name?
  3. But carpenters, who should they thank for existing as a category?

I started to investigate and a little bit also to study and so I found that:

There are finds of the use of concrete, with addition of pozzolana (known as betunium), in which bronze bars were drowned, already in Roman times.

(The Romans, a people that has always been brilliant and with an extra gear)

While one thing that surprised me a lot, was to read that before having a large spread in construction, reinforced concrete was used, think a little, in the naval field. 

Yes, I can imagine your astonishment, even I remained as already said: very surprised.

Then I discovered another interesting thing:

Although in the early 1800s, a certain William Wilkinson, registered a first British patent for 'improvement in the construction of fire-proof dwellings, warehouses, other buildings and parts of them', it is not recognised as being the inventor.

(To William Wilkinson, by the way, not even wikipedia gives a personal page)

However, the invention of the first "reinforced cement" is generally attributed to the fortuitous discovery of a Parisian gardener named Joseph Monier.

As someone would say:

"It takes luck in life!"

This statement is truthful in some ways, but I do not share it fully and later it is also intuitive to understand why.

The Parisian gardener, attempting to make planters in lithole, noticed that the metal cage used to hold and shape the concrete mixture demonstrated the property not to easily detach from the concrete itself.

And in 1867, he filed a patent for the manufacture of flower pots, with the technique of armor, it was also the year in which, his vases were seen during an exhibition in Paris by a young Engineer.

Some twenty years later, this engineer, named Francois Hennebique, experiences for the first time a jet of reinforced concrete for a slab.

It is here that, the GENIO business and not "luck", give a strong impetus to the development and diffusion of reinforced concrete.

The young engineer/apprentice mason, with a sensational slogan "Plus d'incendies desastreux" ("Enough disastrous fires."), between 1892 and 1908 sets up a large international trade organization.

And with over forty agents abroad, he sells the "Systéme Hennebique a l'épreuve du feu, breveté" throughout Europe and much of the world. 

In Italy it is the engineer Angelo Lanzoni, who is remembered as the pioneer of the use of reinforced concrete, with his patent of 1883.

Although the spread in our nation, it is not due to him, but to a Turin company.

The Porcheddu Company, the exclusive license for Italy owned by the "Systéme Hennebique", which applies it with increasing success, carrying out various public and private works in Turin and throughout the country. 

And it is also at the wide use of the multi-graduate engineer Giovanni Antonio Porcheddu that, later also apply some improvements to the patent, especially in the use of folds in armor bars.

While the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier was among the first to understand the innovative potential of reinforced concrete in contemporary architecture and to exploit it extensively in his post-war works, after having seen the potential of his master Auguste Perret.

With regard to the second question I asked myself about why we carpenters call ourselves this, I have made faith in the vocabulary by discovering several other things.

Actually I was thinking about a different origin and that so on two feet I was a little disappointed but the dictionary treccani, suggests to me:

S.m. [dal lat. carpentarius, der. di carpentum «carro», secondo il modello del fr. charpentier]

In a nutshell, it originates from the tank factory.

So, after so much reading and researching, wanting to answer my third and last question, but certainly the most important:

Who should I thank?

I think that the thanks, in this case as in others, should be addressed to all those figures who over the centuries, with their own intuition, their dedication and sometimes even a bit of luck, have tried to achieve something better for them and for others.

So I like to think that one day even our action can be a small INPUT.

Able perhaps to give birth to that intuition capable of giving rise to something new and able to fundamentally change the life of another group of people. 

What's your idea about it, do you think the big changes happen by accident or there's always the whiff of some genius who seizes the opportunity?


For now I greet you and remember:

"The sticking nail must be hammered."


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