Cheap, Quick, and Easy: Imitative Architectural Materials, 1870-1930 / Edition 1

Cheap, Quick, and Easy: Imitative Architectural Materials, 1870-1930 / Edition 1

by Pamela Simpson
     
 

ISBN-10: 1572330376

ISBN-13: 9781572330375

Pub. Date: 04/28/1999

Publisher: University of Tennessee Press

In this innovative study, Pamela H. Simpson examines the architectural materials that proliferated between 1870 and 1930. Produced by new technology, promoted by new forms of advertising, and eagerly adopted by a new middle class, these “cheap, quick, and easy” materials helped to transform building practices in the United States and Great Britain.

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Overview

In this innovative study, Pamela H. Simpson examines the architectural materials that proliferated between 1870 and 1930. Produced by new technology, promoted by new forms of advertising, and eagerly adopted by a new middle class, these “cheap, quick, and easy” materials helped to transform building practices in the United States and Great Britain.

As Simpson shows in fascinating detail, rockface concrete blocks, pressed metal imitations of stone, linoleum “marble” and “parquet,” and embossed wall coverings made available to the masses a host of ornamental effects that only the wealthy could previously have afforded. But, she notes, wherever these new materials appeared, a heated debate over the appropriateness of imitation followed. Were these materials merely tasteless shams? Or were they economical, durable alternatives that democratically extended the possibilities of ornamentation?

Simpson devotes chapters to each of the various ornamental materials, considering its precursors, invention, production, and distribution. In her final chapter, she traces the history of the aesthetic debate over imitation and analyzes the social meaning of the materials. Far from being “bad taste,” she concludes, these new ornamental forms reflected modernism, democracy, and progress—some of the most deeply held values of the period.

The Author: Pamela H. Simpson is Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History at Washington and Lee University. The author of numerous articles and exhibition catalogs, she is co-author (with Royster Lyle) of The Architecture of Historic Lexington. She was president, for the 1997-99 term, of the Vernacular Architecture Forum.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572330375
Publisher:
University of Tennessee Press
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Edition description:
1
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Cheap, Quick, and Easy: Introduction1
1Stone for the Masses: Concrete Block in the Early Twentieth Century9
2Embossed Facades: Ornamental Sheet Metal30
3Artful Interiors: Metal Ceilings and Walls54
4Fashion Floors: Linoleum, Its Predecessors and Rivals75
5Good Impressions: Embossed Wall and Ceiling Coverings102
6Grand Illusions: Other Faux Materials118
7Substitute Gimcrackery: Aesthetic Debates and Social Implications136
Notes165
Glossary189
Selected Bibliography193
Index211

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