History of Painting in the United States
History of the Painting Trade in the United States
House painting in America got off to a rough beginning. The Pilgrims, known for austerity, believed painting your house was a sign of pride and vanity. A Charleston priest in 1630 was charged with the “sacrilege” of committing the sin of painting the interior of his home.
Once the colonies developed and people became more prosperous, their perspective about paint and color changed. The expenses of importing paint was significant, so early pilgrims made crude items produced using plans that included things from nature. Whitewash was produced using lime and shellfish shells. Copper oxide created striking greens. Red oxide from iron was utilized to manage houses and paint stables. Different plans may have included skimmed milk, egg white, espresso, or bubbled rice. It appears to be an expertly painted home has consistently been an indication of success and status.
The first paint mill in America opened in 1700 in Boston, Massachusetts. Thomas Child was the man behind the task. The mill consisted of a granite trough inside which a granite ball rolled.
American culture is laced in nature and natural materials, so it’s no big surprise that many American homeowners wanted a specific look for their paint at first. Some would request the painter to make their walls look like they were made of wood. Some would also go for a marble or bronze option.
Some homeowners even asked house painters to paint their ceilings to resemble a blue sky with white clouds. Painters during that time would normally go ahead with these requests, which would sound fairly unusual by modern standards.
The 1700s saw several technological innovations in this area, paint production transformed even more drastically than before which effectively changed the way people made and use paint for houses. One example of such innovations is Marshall Smith’s “Machine or Engine for the Grinding of Colors” in 1718. This invention enhanced the efficiency of grinding pigmentation by a significant amount. Not much is known about its exact operation, but it would probably have reduced the burden of grinding by hand.
By the time the 1800s rolled around, most of the paint mills in the United States were steam-powered. During that time, roller mills had begun grinding pigment (aside from grain). This development enabled the mass production of commercial paints. Linseed oil, a cheap binding agent, made paint production even easier.
In 1866, the future titan of the paint business was created. The Sherwin Williams Paint Company, which is now one of the American Fortune 500 company.
Founded by businessmen Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in Cleveland, Ohio. Sherwin was also the one who developed metal cans that would allow consumers to reseal the paint. We’re all familiar with this canned packaging today, as it’s considered the norm for house paint in most of the industry.
The production of paint has improved incredibly over time. Paints today are more eco-friendly. With low VOC (volatile organic compound) options, paints that reduce the gas emissions in your home, which can affect the overall health of your family. Another trend is the regionalization and customization of a paint to tolerate local weather conditions. Homes in the Northeast don’t withstand the same kind of weather as the Southwest, for example. Northeast homes face extreme weather conditions, from the deep freeze of winter to the rain and sunshine of summer.