Celebrating 100 years - 71

WORLD

The 1950s saw a buildup of troops. The
military increased by 1 million in 1951
alone. The armed forces totaled 3.5 million
when President Harry S. Truman gave his
1952 State of the Union address. "[The free
world] is passing through a period of grave
danger," he said. Truman promised to "keep
up the fight" in Korea, "until we get the
kind of armistice that will put an end to
the aggression." Peace came in 1953 when
President Dwight D. Eisenhower moved
nuclear warheads to Okinawa, Japan, effectively forcing China to sign an armistice
and end the Korean War.
The Korean conflict had stimulated
economic output. Gross National Product
grew 4 percent annually from 1950 to 1953.
Consumer spending rose 38 percent from
$216.8 billion to $298.1 billion during the
1950s, Encyclopedia of American Economic
History says. The average American allocated 5 percent of their disposable income
to automobiles. To advance transportation,
Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway
Act of 1956. The federal government built
more than 40,000 miles of roads, "paying 90
percent of the costs," the encyclopedia states.
Culturally, Americans welcomed a new
sense of individual self-expression. Rockand-roll had arrived. Sam Cooke, Fats
Domino, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley
reached a young generation and introduced
guitar solos to the world. They established a

new genre for marketing products. And as
family formation increased, people wanted
new homes.

INDUSTRY

Construction boomed during the 1950s.
Congress funded public housing. It guaranteed mortgage loans to veterans and gave
mortgage debt favorable tax treatment.
Housing expenditures doubled between
1940 and 1960, Encyclopedia of American
Economic History says. Tract housing
projects surged outside of the big cities;
Levittown, Long Island, was a notable
example.
The 1950s saw new directions in architecture. Glass and steel buildings appeared,
such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Lake
Shore Drive Apartments (1951) and S.R.
Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of
Technology (1956) in Chicago. Frank Lloyd
Wright completed his cylindrical Solomon
R. Guggenheim Museum in New York
City (1959).
The construction industry introduced several innovations. The Lever House in New
York City (1952) featured false ceilings that
contained services. The Seagram Building
in New York City (1958) had a glass and
bronze curtain wall exterior.
Here are five innovations that stood out
in the 1950s:
Fireproofing. Fireproofing with lath, plaster

and lightweight aggregate appeared in the
market in the 1940s and grew during the
1950s. The use of lightweight vermiculite
and perlite "led to one of the greatest eras
in the history of lath and plastering," said
Plastering Industries, the association's official journal.
In May 1951, building codes approved
self-furring metal lath and lightweight
aggregated plaster for fireproofing beams
and columns in Class-A buildings. In 1953,
McNulty Brothers used lightweight plasters
in the Alcoa Building in Pittsburgh.
Mechanical tools. The 1950s saw the introduction of plastering pumps and applicators.
In May 1951, Joseph M. McNulty and Andi
Schiltz received U.S. Patent 2,555,238 for a
plaster spray gun. The E Z On Corporation
was the assignee. The invention could spray
on a thick coat of plaster that "may exceed
a major fractional part of an inch or may
even be an inch or more."
AWCI members Orville P. Huntley
and R. Terry Blazier of East St. Louis,
Ill., may have been the first contractors to
spray plaster on exterior walls. In 1954, the
Huntley and Blazier Company used metal
lath and a machine-applied plaster system
to create curtain walls on several East St.
Louis schools.
Many plaster machines came to market
during the 1950s. They include the Plaster
Master, Sand Hog, Gun-All and, in 1957,
71



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Celebrating 100 years

AWCI's 100th Anniversary Video
i. Table of Contents
ii. Forward
iii. Acknowledgements
Chapter 1. 1918-1919 : The Master Minds
Chapter 2. The 1920s: Choosing Sides
Chapter 3. The 1930s: Unity Prevails
Chapter4. The 1940s: Dormancy and Revival
Chapter 5. The 1950s: Plaster vs. Drywall
Chapter 6. The 1960s: Other Lines of Endeavor
Chapter 7. The 1970s: Consolidation
Chapter 8. The 1980s: The Growth Years
Chapter 9. The 1990s: Money
Chapter 10. The 2000s: Exceptional Times
Chapter 11. The 2010s: We the Industry
Chapter 12. The Future
Chapter 13. The Sponsors
Appendix 1. AWCI’s Presidents
Appendix 2. AWCI Awards (the E.F. Venzie Award and the Pinnacle Award)
Appendix 3. Lifetime Members
Appendix 4. Longtime AWCI Members
Appendix 5. AWCI Board of Directors
Appendix 6. The Organization Behind the Leadership
Celebrating 100 years - AWCI's 100th Anniversary Video
Celebrating 100 years - Cover1
Celebrating 100 years - Cover2
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Celebrating 100 years - i. Table of Contents
Celebrating 100 years - ii. Forward
Celebrating 100 years - 9
Celebrating 100 years - 10
Celebrating 100 years - iii. Acknowledgements
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 1. 1918-1919 : The Master Minds
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 2. The 1920s: Choosing Sides
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 3. The 1930s: Unity Prevails
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter4. The 1940s: Dormancy and Revival
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 5. The 1950s: Plaster vs. Drywall
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 6. The 1960s: Other Lines of Endeavor
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 7. The 1970s: Consolidation
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 8. The 1980s: The Growth Years
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 9. The 1990s: Money
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 10. The 2000s: Exceptional Times
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 11. The 2010s: We the Industry
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 12. The Future
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 13. The Sponsors
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 1. AWCI’s Presidents
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 2. AWCI Awards (the E.F. Venzie Award and the Pinnacle Award)
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 3. Lifetime Members
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 4. Longtime AWCI Members
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 5. AWCI Board of Directors
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 6. The Organization Behind the Leadership
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