At the beginning of the 20th century, significant pieces in the foundation of America™s Industrial Revolution were established in the Lehigh Valley of Eastern Pennsylvania. Iron and steel, important products to the early development of our continent, were produced in Bethlehem, Pa., and the first production of portland cement in North America took place in Coplay, Pa. The Lehigh Portland Cement Company was founded in Allentown in 1897, and cement production is still an important industry in the area. Several support businesses and professions, as well as Lehigh University, resided in the valley to provide engineering, design, testing, and manufacturing services for the production of cement and steel. Also early in the century, in 1904, the American Concrete Institute (ACI) was established, and the Portland Cement Association was formed in 1916.
The development of both the cement gun and the Gunite process in Allentown was not coincidental. In the community, there was abundant understanding of and interest in cement and concrete, concrete construction methods, and design and fabrication for a commercially viable machine to apply mate-rials, as invented by Carl E. Akely. The first machine was in-troduced at the Cement Show, in New York,
in December 1910.