Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Clement, Winston Wallace (2014). Standardization in the Lumber Industry: Trade Journals, Builder's Guides and the American Home. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


This thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of the technical and structural changes that occurred within the American lumber industry in the half century after the Civil War. The format of this thesis is as follows: a review of relevant literature pertaining to all aspects of American wood-frame residential construction; a description and analysis of the lumber industry in America, focusing on how and why it reacted slowly to changes in demand for building supplies and was hesitant to adapt and incorporate new materials and technologies; an overview of the changes that occurred to residential wood-frame construction, e.g. the transition from heavy timber framing to light wood frame or “balloon”-style construction; an analysis of the varied ways in which the American lumber industry and others promoted standardized building materials. This thesis concludes by analyzing the impact that impact these changes had on American residential architecture. This thesis also acknowledges the ways in which this is relevant within the larger field of historic preservation, and how this information can be used to better understand, interpret and conserve wood-framed residential architecture in America. The purpose of this thesis is to offer a productive and useful document that will fill a void within the existing scholarship.


balloon framing, deforestation, transportation technology, grading, nail technology



Date Posted: 03 September 2014