A sulfonic acid has the general formula RS(=O)2OH, where R is an organic radical.
Methanesulfonic acid (or mesylic acid, CH3SO3H)
Ethanesulfonic acid (or esylic acid, CH3CH2SO3H)
Benzenesulfonic acid (or besylic acid, C6H5SO3H)
p-Toluenesulfonic acid (or tosylic acid, CH3C6H4SO3H)
Trifluoromethanesulfonic acid (or triflic acid, CF3SO3H)
Polystyrene sulfonic acid (sulfonated polystyrene, [CH2CH(C6H4)SO3H]n)
Among the earlier uses of bitumen in the United Kingdom was for etching. William Salmon's Polygraphice (1673) provides a recipe for varnish used in etching, consisting of three ounces of virgin wax, two ounces of mastic, and one ounce of asphaltum. By the fifth edition in 1685, he had included more asphaltum recipes from other sources.
The first British patent for the use of asphalt was "Cassell's patent asphalte or bitumen" in 1834. Then on 25 November 1837, Richard Tappin Claridge patented the use of Seyssel asphalt (patent #7849), for use in asphalte pavement, having seen it employed in France and Belgium when visiting with Frederick Walter Simms, who worked with him on the introduction of asphalt to Britain. Dr T. Lamb Phipson writes that his father, Samuel Ryland Phipson, a friend of Claridge, was also "instrumental in introducing the asphalte pavement (in 1836)". Indeed, mastic pavements had been previously employed at Vauxhall by a competitor of Claridge, but without success.
Claridge obtained a patent in Scotland on 27 March 1838, and obtained a patent in Ireland on 23 April 1838. In 1851, extensions for the 1837 patent and for both 1838 patents were sought by the trustees of a company previously formed by Claridge. Claridge's Patent Asphalte Companyformed in 1838 for the purpose of introducing to Britain "Asphalte in its natural state from the mine at Pyrimont Seysell in France","laid one of the first asphalt pavements in Whitehall". Trials were made of the pavement in 1838 on the footway in Whitehall, the stable at Knightsbridge Barracks, "and subsequently on the space at the bottom of the steps leading from Waterloo Place to St. James Park". "The formation in 1838 of Claridge's Patent Asphalte Company (with a distinguished list of aristocratic patrons, and Marc and Isambard Brunel as, respectively, a trustee and consulting engineer), gave an enormous impetus to the development of a British asphalt industry". "By the end of 1838, at least two other companies, Robinson's and the Bastenne company, were in production", with asphalt being laid as paving at Brighton, Herne Bay, Canterbury, Kensington, the Strand, and a large floor area in Bunhill-row, while meantime Claridge's Whitehall paving "continue(d) in good order".
In 1838, there was a flurry of entrepreneurial activity involving asphalt, which had uses beyond paving. For example, asphalt could also be used for flooring, damp proofing in buildings, and for waterproofing of various types of pools and baths, both of which were also proliferating in the 19th century. On the London stockmarket, there were various claims as to the exclusivity of asphalt quality from France, Germany and England. And numerous patents were granted in France, with similar numbers of patent applications being denied in England due to their similarity to each other. In England, "Claridge's was the type most used in the 1840s and 50s".
In 1914, Claridge's Company entered into a joint venture to produce tar-bound macadam, with materials manufactured through a subsidiary company called Clarmac Roads Ltd. Two products resulted, namely Clarmac, and Clarphalte, with the former being manufactured by Clarmac Roads and the latter by Claridge's Patent Asphalte Co., although Clarmac was more widely used. However, the First World War ruined the Clarmac Company, which entered into liquidation in 1915. The failure of Clarmac Roads Ltd had a flow-on effect to Claridge's Company, which was itself compulsorily wound up, ceasing operations in 1917, having invested a substantial amount of funds into the new venture, both at the outset and in a subsequent attempt to save the Clarmac Company.