Why did not man learn to fly before ? Certainly not through lack of aspiration, for who in this world of ours has not envied the birds their wings, and longed like them to soar their way through the free pure vault of heaven !
That the use of cement has outstripped the literature on the subject is evidenced by the number and character of the inquiries addressed to technical journals concerning it. This volume is not designed to fill the proverbial "long felt want," for until within a few years the number of engineers using cement in large quantities was quite limited. These American pioneers in cement engineering, under one of whom the author received his first practical training in this line, needed no formal introduction to the use and properties of cement; their knowledge was born and nurtured through intimate association and careful observation.
From Icarus to the Wright Brothers is a far cry. In the centuries that have elapsed more lives have been lost in aeronautic experimentation than in devising telephones and telegraphs. These tragedies of science have lent a glamour to the flying-machine; so much so, indeed, that the romance rather than the technique of flying interests the reading public. Yet this attitude of wonder is pardonable. Only a few years ago the inventor of a flying-machine was classed, even by scientists, with the misguided enthusiast who spends his life in devising perpetual motion machines or in fruitless attempts at squaring the circle. It is hard to realise that the building of aeroplanes is now elevated to the dignity of a legitimate engineering pursuit.