The Little World – Internet Lists

There is nothing more boring than reading an internet list of lumber sizes…or advertisments from roofing firms in the state of Washington. Unless you are trying to find out something that everyone takes for granted and no-one bothers to record.

I will say that today has had a happy ending – I did find out the measurements for siding on houses in Washington in 1959…and I did find out the forms of cheap mastic roofing sheets that were in use at the time. No-one else in the world cares a damn but at least I can use some of the innumerable facts in storage to do something useful. It is going into the construction of my new model building – a house I lived in as a child.

There must be a whole universe of practical facts that we have come to live with and depend upon…but take no notice whatsoever of. The capacity of concrete trucks…which determines how much concrete they can carry…which determines largely how big a concrete structure is.

This does not apply when you are building flak towers in Vienna and have the slaves of the Todt organisation to make the concrete – then you can make the walls metres thick and impossible to remove, even now. But when you are making a cost-limited structure like a basement for a tract house I would be willing to be a fair amount of the planning and design is predicated on concrete loads per se. Fewer is better, and even numbers of loads are desireable to cut down on wastage.

That’s concrete – I was researching siding and found that there were really only three lengths supplied – all of which are shorter than modern practice. Why? Because the delivery trucks were shorter. There was no sheet siding used as it was just before the era of the vinyl cladding. I would also be willing to bet that it might have been James Hardy asbestos siding as well – sourced from the Canadian plants rather than the Australian ones. Good thing the paint finish was unblemished and I didn’t breathe heavily.

I was terrifically impressed with the roofing sites – mastic is a large sheet of heavily filled tarpaper with patterns impressed upon it but the use of it rather than shingles, tiles, or metal sheets argues that the house we lived in was a cheap-built kit job. As a kid I never had that impression – it was big and complex. I had little to compare it to – all the rented houses we lived in were of the same construction, and none of them home for long enough to form a distinct impression. Perhaps the entire world lived in simpler houses then…

All the same, I wish they had used longer pieces of siding for the thing – this gluing 150mm strips in is getting tedious.

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