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Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 03:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First off, I would like to thank Joe Jenkins for taking the time to research and write the Slate Roof Bible. I have enjoyed my copy and thought it appropriate to detail one of my own research discoveries for the benefit of the users of this forum.

Cornell University has been working on a project called the Library Digital Collections. I stumbled upon this project some months ago while doing online research. The project involves taking documents from Cornell's library archive and making digital copies available to internet users. One section of the new digital archive is called the "Making of America". This section contains numerous documents including one late 19th century trade journal called "The Manufacturer and Builder" published by Western and Company in New York City (1869 - 1894).

The University staff have scanned all 26 years of the journal and presented them in graphic format. For research purposes they have run each scan through Optical Character Recognition software which attempts to covert the graphics into plain text that can be searched. The caveat is that the OCR software is easily fooled and the university does not have the resources to type out every page of their vast collection by hand. So, while you can do a basic search, the results are not always spectacular. On the positive side, this is far more usefull than a pile of old mildewed newsprint that must be searched by hand.

I have been doing some research in this archive and have already noted most of the important slate and general roofing related articles. After recently finishing my copy of the Slate Roof Bible, I discovered this forum and decided that it would be beneficial to the readers to post the archive link and also a list of the relevant articles that would be of interest to roofers and historians.I did not see any evidence of the Cornell archive or any mention of "The Manufactuter and Builder" in the SRB or on this website. So hopefully this is new material and not a repeat of information already covered.

I have listed the relevant articles by date and in some cases included a brief description. Each article is about some aspect of the roofing trade or slate in general (non roofing use). These are just the articles I have found by using the search features provided by the archive and browsing through issues. You can get to each article by using the link above, selecting the relevant year + issue, and finally slecting the page number or clicking on the article from the issue index.

Just about every fad roofing that was introduced in America during the late 19th century has been covered by this journal. They also review all sorts of new machines, manufacturing processes, patents, discoveries, new books and other stuff realted to the roofing trades. There is alot of information regarding the desire for "fire-proof" buildings and inexpensive roofing materials. There are also many articles on mining, workers wages, metal production, roof architecture, and everything else you would expect a major construction trade journal to cover. Dig deep and enjoy the read.

The Building-Stone and Slate of Virginia
February 1869 Volume 1, Issue 2 pp. 46-47
Overview of the industry

The Vermont Slate Industry
March 1869 Volume 1, Issue 3 pp. 83-86
Overview of the slate industry of Vermont

Marbleizing Slate
December 1869 Volume 1, Issue 12 pp. 361

March 1870 Volume 2, Issue 3 pp. 78-79

Notes on Slate for Builders
January 1871 Volume 3, Issue 1 pp. 9-10

Slate Mantels
June 1872 Volume 4, Issue 6 pp. 123-124

Imitating Marble by Slate
September 1872 Volume 4, Issue 9 pp. 195-196

Experiments on Building Materials
April 1873 Volume 5, Issue 4 p. 80
Blurb on the benefit of bedding roofing slates in hydraulic cement

Liquid Slate for Roofs
October 1873 Volume 5, Issue 10 p. 219
Using ground up slate waste in roofing paint

Cheap Water and Fire-Prooof Paint for Roofs
December 1873 Volume 5 Issue 12 p. 268
More on roofing paint

Improved Roofing
January 1875 Volume 7, Issue 1 pp. 16
An article about manufactured roll roofing (with drawings)

Slate for Engravers
March 1875 Volume 7, Issue 3 pp. 57

Asbestos for Roofing, Etc.
April 1875 Volume 7, Issue 4 pp. 80

Roofing Material
September 1875 Volume 7, Issue 9 pp. 208
Article about roll roofing & Slate Paint

Egyptian Roofing
January 1876 Volume 8, Issue 1 pp. 10
Another alternative roofing material

Cast-Iron Roofing
March 1876 Volume 8, Issue 3 pp. 52
Small blurb about the dangers of using painted cast iron roofing

New manufactured roofing
June 1876 Volume 8, Issue 6 pp. 140
A small blurb about new roofing for $3 per square

Metallic Roofing
November 1877 Volume 9, Issue 11 pp. 250
An article about decorative metallic shingles with drwings

Elastic Soapstone Roofing
February 1878 Volume 10, Issue 2 pp. 40-41
An interesting alternative roofing material

July 1878 Volume 10, Issue 7 p. 166
A Small blurb about the use of slate for stair steps

Eastern Roofing Slates
October 1879 Volume 11, Issue 10 pp. 236
Small Blurb about Monson and Brownville Maine slates

Metallic Shingles for Roofing and Siding
February 1880 Volume 12, Issue 2 pp. 32
An article about decorative metallic roof shingles (with drawings)

How Slate Pencils are Made
March 1880 Volume 12, Issue 3 pp. 59-60

Sheet-Iron Roofing
June 1880 Volume 12, Issue 6 pp. 125
General article about metal sheet roofing

Sheet-Iron Roofing and its Advantages
October 1880 Volume 12, Issue 10 pp. 222
In depth article about sheet iron roofing with drawing

Metallic Shingles for Roofing
December 1880 Volume 12, Issue 12 pp. 269
An article about installing decorative metallic shingles (with drawings)

Rendle's Systems of Glass Roofing
May 1881 Volume 13, Issue 5 pp. 101
An article about greenhouse style roofing with drawings

An Improved System of Glass Roofing
September 1881 Volume 13, Issue 9 pp. 208-209
A new system for making glass (greenhouse) roofs with drawings

Products of the Indiana Paint and Roofing Co.
January 1882 Volume 14, Issue 1 pp. 5
More information about slate paint and rubber roofing

Graphite Roof Paint
May 1882 Volume 14, Issue 5 pp. 116
A small blurb about one companies roof paint and pencils

A Double Fire-Proof Roof
June 1882 Volume 14, Issue 6 pp. 121-122
A great article detailing the installation of wrought iron shingles over lath (with drawings)

Roofing Linen
November 1883 Volume 15, Issue 11 pp. 248
A small blurb about Using fabric roofing sealed with roof paint

Corrugated Sheet-Iron Roofing, etc.
April 1884 Volume 16, Issue 4 pp. 78
A nice article with drawings

Iron Roofing
August 1884 Volume 16, Issue 8 pp. 173
An article describing various forms of metal roofing including metalic slates (with drawings)

Slate-Making in Pennsylvania
November 1884 Volume 16, Issue 11 pp. 252-253

The Uses of Slate in Building
January 1885 Volume 17, Issue 1 pp. 14

Improved Tin Roofing
January 1885 Volume 17, Issue 1 pp. 5
An article about tin shingle roofing with drawings

Application of the Electric Light at the Angers (France) Slate Quarries
January 1885 Volume 17, Issue 1 pp. 12-13

The Manufacture of Roofing Slate
February 1885 Volume 17, Issue 2 pp. 38

Determining the Quality of Slate
March 1885 Volume 17, Issue 3 pp. 61-62

Slate and its Uses
May 1885 Volume 17, Issue 5 pp. 109

Red Slate
August 1885 Volume 17, Issue 8 p. 181

Paper Preparations for Roofing, Sheathing and Miscellaneous Uses
July 1886 Volume 18, Issue 7 pp. 150-151
An article about the use of felt paper under roofing and siding

The Quality of Roofing Plates Again
October 1886 Volume 18, Issue 10 pp. 234
Another blurb about quality stamps on roofing plates

Roofing Materials
October 1886 Volume 18, Issue 10 pp. 236
Interesting article about Manufactured roofing, Rubber roofing, and Slate Paint etc

Guaranteeing the Quality of Roofing Plates
September 1887 Volume 19, Issue 9 pp. 212
A short article about quality stamps for metal roofing

Uses of Slate
December 1887 Volume 19, Issue 12 pp. 276-277

Some Truths about Tin Roofing Plates
December 1887 Volume 19, Issue 12 pp. 284
Letter to the editor about tin roofing

Coating Drain and Roofing Tiles with Coal Tar
February 1888 Volume 20, Issue 2 pp. 41
A short article about using coal tar to waterproof drain tiles

Spacing Lengths for Corrugated Roofing
May 1888 Volume 20, Issue 5 pp. 103
A small public notice about roofing stock

Facts about Roofing Plates
May 1888 Volume 20, Issue 5 pp. 113
Article about metal roof coatings

Facts about Roofing Plates and Good Roofs
June 1888 Volume 20, Issue 6 pp. 127
An article about the manufacture of metal roofing

The Subject of Roofing Plates Again
July 1888 Volume 20, Issue 7 pp. 162
A letter to the Editor about Tin roofing

A Large Block of Slate
September 1888 Volume 20, Issue 9 pp. 202-203

Roof Slates
October 1888 Volume 20, Issue 10 pp. 227
A small blurb about testing the durability of slate with boiling water

Guaranteed Roofing Plates
December 1888 Volume 20, Issue 12 pp. 284
Another short article about quality stamps for metal roofing

Among the Pennsylvania Slate Quarries
February 1889 Volume 21, Issue 2 pp. 35

"A Tin Roof"
February 1889 Volume 21, Issue 2 pp. 31

The Removal of Roof Water from Buildings
July 1889 Volume 21, Issue 7 pp. 160-162
A very in-depth article about rain removal systems (gutters and leaders etc) with drawings

How Slate Pencils are Manufactured
August 1889 Volume 21, Issue 8 pp. 173

Painting a Tin Roof
February 1890 Volume 22, Issue 2 pp. 36
A short blurb about ingredients for roof paint

Abuses in the Roofing-Plate Trade
July 1890 Volume 22, Issue 7 pp. 161-162
An Article about poor business practices in the metal roofing industry

The Garry Improved Standing-Seam Iron Roofing
September 1890 Volume 22, Issue 9 pp. 199
A great article about standing seam roofing with drawings

Peach Bottom Slate
October 1890 Volume 22, Issue 10 p. 225
Small blurb on Peach Bottom slate - as if it were not listed for over a decade?

Gum-Elastic Roofing
November 1890 Volume 22, Issue 11 pp. 260
A nice article about early roll roofing (with small drawing)

Statistics of Slate Production in the United States
February 1891 Volume 23, Issue 2 pp. 37-38

Stan -Alumin: A New Non-Corrosive Metal for Roofing and Similar Purposes
May 1891 Volume 23, Issue 5 pp. 101-102

Slate Channeling by Machinery
November 1891 Volume 23, Issue 11 pp. 254

Slate in Vermont
July 1892 Volume 24, Issue 7 pp. 158

Repairing a Tin Roof
October 1892 Volume 24, Issue 10 pp. 237
An article about soldering a tin roof

Slates and Slating
November 1892 Volume 24, Issue 11 p. 255

Roofs and Roof Coverings
May 1893 Volume 25, Issue 5 pp. 117
General thoughts about roofing

Red Slate
November 1893 Volume 25, Issue 11 pp. 253

Review of the Slate Trade of Pennsylvania
January 1894 Volume 26, Issue 1 pp. 14-15

Slate Production of the United States
March 1894 Volume 26, Issue 3 pp. 62-63

Paint from Slate Dust
November 1894 Volume 26, Issue 11 pp. 255-256

Cornell also has this article in its archive

Harper's new monthly magazine
Slate and its Uses
December 1852 Volume 6, Issue 31 pp. 79-81

At some point in the early days of the Manufacturer and Builder journal (October 1873), the editors started to compile a column called "Latest Market Report of Building Materials" to track the ever changing price of the builder's neccessities. They included everything from wood (by size & sepcies), to bricks, cement, nails, and even hair (pig & goat) by the bushell for the plastering trade. The earliest listings do not include slate, however, in June of 1874 Slate became important enough to be added to the list.

The first listing:

Purple roofing slate per square....$8.50 a 9.00
Green slate.................................8.50 a 9.00
Red slate..................................14.00 a 15.00
Black slate. Pennsylvania.............6.50 a 7.00
Peach bottom...........................11.00 a 12.00
Intermediates..............................6.00 a 7.00
Royal Blue Leigh Valley...............6.75 a 7.00

The list would change a bit over the years, mostly by eliminating some of the varieties. Red slate seems to have always been the most expensive in the NYC area followed closely by Peach Bottom. Intermediates & Royal Blue Leigh Valley would make their last appearance in Jan 1875 and some time later Peach Bottom woule also be dropped from the list. Sometimes Slate is not even included in a particular issue (September 1875 for example). Eventually the publisher would eliminate the market report altogether (year?). As it stands though, there is a tremendous value in being able to track the price fluctuations of building materials during this time period. They even had a listing for workers hourly wages at one point.

Have fun

Jeff Burks in Connecticut
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Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 07:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow! Thanks, Jeff. This should make for some good reading.

Joe Jenkins

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