It was in 2004 that we began these column articles with quickened heart along an unknown road we would meander, strewing whatever the winds would convey—and you could read. We almost ended that lighthearted and lofty travel in 2005 when advised the column would terminate because of new CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION magazine direction. But, for reasons unknown to us, there was a change and we feel fortunate to have continued for an additional five years still following that unknown path that kept leading us to you via these column articles, along with miscellaneous articles published elsewhere. All of this was done while we continued our full workloads, until Bill began to taper his to accommodate a slow eventual retirement a short while ago, while Bernie began pondering his.

We now find ourselves wanting time to meld more intimately with families, friends, and other activities somewhat slighted while we bore our heavy workloads. It seems like the time has arrived to lighten some of that load.

Bernie once started an “Obituary” about himself but got stymied when confronted with the ending. Perhaps better endings deal with reminiscences, things left behind, like proud accomplishments done with sweat and nonreserved time. We all have some of those in our hip pockets. One of Bill's was the development of chemical methods for analyzing portland cement and other hydraulic cements (ASTM C114). That goes back to the 1970s but remains a masterful triumph of innovation versus dogmatism. One of Bernie's is a section of ASTM C289 written in the early 1970s that today remains essentially unchanged, a longevity nearing 40 years. We take pride in ASTM C1324 that we jointly drafted, which was approved in the mid-90s. These are part of our professional legacies contributed through the years.

Professional legacies are derived. Our professional legacies were driven by needs to apply the basic things we learned during college, our wonderful associations while working at PCA's research and development laboratories, collaborators around the world by way of their writings, and later as consultants.

As part of our legacy, we leave behind a just-published book, The Concrete Intrigue. It contains 78 reprinted and several unpublished articles that touch upon varieties of chemical or physical phenomena responsible for hardened concrete's existence; its performance or malperformance; ailments to which it is prone, plus some philosophical things; mechanisms of cement hydration; and causes and recognition of chemical and physical concrete distress.

Several articles deal with building stone, some of its important properties when used for facades, and some facade problems. Also included is a glossary to enhance your familiarization with frequently used chemical compound and mineral jargon and associated chemical formulas. We are exceptionally pleased to be allowed to include ACI's detailed lexicon, Concrete Terminology, a compilation of terminology used in the cement and concrete industries.

The book contains all of our columns from January 2004 through January 2010. Each is intended to ease you into a better understanding of what goes on inside concrete. There's also a chapter containing glimpses about a number of our industry “titans,” individuals catapulted by their endeavors into the limelight by their prominence.

This will be our last column in CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION. The Concrete Intrigue is our legacy to you and those who follow. The book conveys some of our life's work and it is our gift to you—even though you have to buy it.

When you do, put it in an easy to find spot in your library, use it as your personal reference book, and every time you do, think of us as we always did of you, when writing our column articles.

Without CC and you, our book wouldn't have happened and a great part of our legacy lost. With that and the other legacies now essentially behind us, we can ease forward more complacent because of our contributions. Thanks!

Bernard Erlin is president of The Erlin Co. (TEC), Latrobe, Pa., and has been involved with all aspects of concrete for 52 years.

William Hime was a principal with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates and began working as a chemist at PCA 58 years ago.

The Concrete Intrigue
This new collection of the best articles and columns, written by Bernard Erlin and William Hime over the past 30 years, will take you where no concrete book has dared to go. The Concrete Intrigue reflects their collective 115 years working in the cement and concrete industries. As a bonus, ACI's Concrete Terminology, the world's only lexicon devoted to cement and concrete, is included. Visit to learn more.