The Gypsum Files

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Gypsum memorabilia

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Jeremy White, fellow gypsum lover, recently wrote to tell me about his terrific collection of gypsum company memorabilia. He gave me permission to share some of his collection with my readers. I think you’ll agree these items are a fascinating look at the history of the gypsum industry.

National-Gypsum-Employee-Badges-300x135

National-Gypsum-Plaster-Beads-253x300

USG-Milk-Bottle-180x300

USG-Badges-Tool-Tags-450x300

USG-Atlas-1903-300x200

Samson-Plaster-468x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by Elizabeth McCullough

September 24, 2015 at 11:29 am

Blackboard Chalk Isn’t Chalk

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Ubiquitous in many classrooms since the 19th century, chalk and chalkboards are familiar to most of us. White, powdery and prone to sticking to those surfaces where it is put and just as easy to wipe away, chalk and its accompanying board are excellent instructional aids. Notably, however, most chalk today isn’t technically chalk at all, but gypsum.

Read more at: Blackboard Chalk Isn’t Chalk.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

May 4, 2015 at 4:15 pm

The Cardiff Giant Fools the Nation, 145 Years Ago — History in the Headlines

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“What is it?” asked the ads for Barnum’s exhibition. “Is it a Statue? Is it a Petrification? Is it a Stupendous Fraud? Is it the Remains of a former Race?”

We’ve just passed the 145th anniversary of the “discovery” of the Cardiff Giant, which caused a stir throughout the United States. What’s the gypsum connection? You’ll find out in this brief and entertaining account of the madness at History.com.

via The Cardiff Giant Fools the Nation, 145 Years Ago — History in the Headlines.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

October 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Revisiting Midland, CA

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Midland, CA has been mentioned on this blog before. Recently BLDGBLOG took another look at this gypsum ghost town and its surprising connection to Hollywood:

What’s so interesting about this place—aside from the exposed concrete foundation pads now reused as platforms for RVs, or the empty streets forming an altogether different kind of geoglyph, or even the obvious ease with which one can get there, simply following the aptly named Midland Road northeast from Blythe—is the fact that the town was built for workers at the gypsum mine, and that the gypsum extracted from the ground in Midland was then used as artificial snow in many Hollywood productions.

via BLDGBLOG: The Snow Mine.

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Written by Elizabeth McCullough

July 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

The 1965 Parade of Homes

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The quality on this video is not great, but you can see a method of wall construction using sound-deadening board plus gypsum wall board that was used for the 1965 Parade of Homes in Alabama. As Boomer families grew and entertainment moved inside the home, the building industry played up the concept of the “Quietized” home.

via 1965 Parade of Homes, The – YouTube.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

June 24, 2014 at 8:00 am

It isn’t called White Magic for nothing, you know

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Here is a charming and informative little video from the Gypsum Association. It dates from the early 1950s and was shown on television and in movie theaters to promote the industry.

For contrast, here’s the Gypsum Association’s current promotional video: The Miracle Mineral. I think it’s interesting to see what has changed and what has stayed the same over the years.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

April 24, 2014 at 8:00 am

National Gypsum to close Shoals mine late this summer

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This is big news for the town of Shoals, Indiana, home to two gypsum plants:

National Gypsum, the second largest gypsum producer in the US, which runs the biggest gypsum mine in the world, will stop mining activities at Shoals mine in Indiana, where the plant will produce synthetic gypsum from flue gas desulphurisation FGD.
via National Gypsum will close one gypsum mine in the US | Industrial Minerals.

The plant will be adapted to use the synthetic gypsum, which is purer than mined gypsum, at a cost of around $15 million. The changeover will affect 21 miners.

(In case you’re curious, the “biggest gypsum mine in the world” is a quarry in Nova Scotia, which supplies rock for National Gypsum‘s East Coast plants.)

Geologists have noted the existence of gypsum in Southern Indiana since at least 1922. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that it was determined there was a substantial deposit of gypsum in Shoals worth mining. The front page of The Shoals News dated December 26, 1952, announced the news:

whitegold

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

April 15, 2014 at 8:00 am

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