Re: Sheetrock by Rail

Gatwood, Elden J SAD <Elden.J.Gatwood@...>


While drywall as we currently know it was not around that early, there was a
form of pre-cast "dry" (as opposed to applied in place wet plaster) wall
board/sheetrock manufactured before 1950, that is also sometimes referred to
as "button board" due to the mounting holes that were cast in its surface
that were later covered by "buttons" that were sanded down even with the
surface. This was a cast sheet with no permanent outer paper layer, and
since it used a heavy lime base, the sheets were much heavier than modern
wallboard. Their use in building required either numerous people to lift and
maneuver into place for mounting, or a special mechanical lift. I once worked
at a place that had several of these, which by my time had fallen into
disuse. One can understand how this early form of dry wall covering was
(happily) superceded by lighter drywall.

There was at least one "Dry Wall" manufacturer on my section of the PRR by
1945, which surprised me. They might have tarped loads they may have placed
on flats, if indeed they wished to risk moisture contamination, but as others
have mentioned, they did use box cars, as the early palletized loads were
considerably smaller (and much heavier), than the later huge palletized
drywall loads we are used to seeing. Interestingly, their name was changed
from "Dry Wall" to "Drywall", at some point.

The PRR began creating specially-equipped end bulkhead flats for this
service, after 1955, for the developing use of large drywall sheets being
supplied in plastic protective coverings, and loaded with fork lifts. These
flats were also used for pre-packaged (and wrapped) dimensional lumber and
plywood. These flats were taken out of the general service fleet and had
bulkheads added, without renumbering, and placed into a new sub-class to
differentiate them.

I hope this helps, at least for one situation.

Elden Gatwood


From: [] On Behalf Of Don
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 8:35 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Sheetrock by Rail

Hey fellows, I didn't think that "sheetrock" was around in the 40s or even
the early 50s. Here in the south, homes were still using the plastered walls
and ceilings. Also, during the 50s many homes and company buildings were
using beautiful "real" wood paneling.
So, I'm wondering "when" did "sheetrock" become a wide spread product?? I
have a feeling that it came around in the 60s. I know the Kaolin companies
made big advances in their field and Kaolin (chalk) is 90% of sheetrock.
Don Worthy

Dennis Storzek < <> > wrote:
--- In <> , "espeeac12"
<milesinniles@...> wrote:

How was Sheetrock (Drywall) Originally shipped by rail? When? I'm going
to have a couple of sheetrock loads for my late 1940's-1959 era layout.
Does anyone show pictures of this early operation? How was it unloaded?
In boxcars, at least prior to WWII, when my dad was working as a
driver and yardman for various lumber yards in Chicago. The transition
to bulkhead flats came after the war, when plastic wrapping technology
advanced to the point where this moisture sensitive load could be
protected. When I see Dad later this week, I'll ask him when he saw
the first bulkhead flats.


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