The early materials used were lead, copper, zinc, and iron; steel was introduced as another material in the late nineteenth century. Lead was used mainly for roofing, gutters, and downspouts. However, it was quickly discovered that because of the severe climates, the expansion and contraction of the metal meant it would tear easily. As a solution, it was melted and mixed with tin to form as alloy as a coating. This provided a more stable building material (31). Copper was also used because it was more durable and lighter in weight than lead. As it was
Tin was another material, but it was too soft to be used by itself. For this reason, it was combined with other materials, such as iron, providing a more aesthetically pleasing coating on the exterior. While it could cost almost twice as much as an iron roof, it was sure to last three times as long (32). Because of the expense, it was used only for roofing on important buildings, while smaller decorative details were used on less important commercial and residential structures. Copper became a less popular material to use for ceiling tiles because ...
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...ompany, who in their 1911 trade catalog, declared this notion (citation). However, it was soon found that the little error a client would make attempting to install the ceilings themselves made the ceilings less than satisfactory. It was discovered that the truly difficult installation process should only be carried out by the trained and skilled professional necessary for proper installaiton.
Brian Greer's Tin Ceilings. "History of Tin Ceilings." Brian Greer's Tin Ceilings. Brian Greer's Tin Ceilings. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.
W.H. Mullins, Sheet Metal Architectural Ornaments, Statuary, Cornices, Building Fronts, Finials, etc. (Salem, Ohio: W.H. Mullins, 1894).
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