BUILDER sister site ARCHITECT contributor Mike Jackson's latest installment of his monthly series that explores historical applications of building materials focuses on the colorful history of paint. According to his analysis of resources from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), paint has two specific functions, decoration and protection. The materials show that exterior paints tended to be marketed for their durability while interior coatings were marketed for their finishes.
Ready-mixed paints, which we still use today, came about in the period following the Civil War era. With the prevalence of the railroad in the same period, the first branded paint companies were able to ship their products across the country along with color samples.
The mid-20th century is known, as far as paint is concerned, for more than just the pink bathroom. Catalogs from Sherwin-Williams offer a particularly useful snapshot of the era by showing how paint schemes were applied in the residential sphere. The company's Home Decorator series was produced annually for more than 30 years, including a noteworthy 1939 edition with custom illustrations by artist Rockwell Kent.
Continue to ARCHITECT magazine to take a look at the gathered materials that detail the history of paint starting in the 1800s.