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Author Topic: frame house colors of the 50s  (Read 8143 times)
SteamGene

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« on: March 28, 2009, 05:15:50 PM »

You other other timers - what is your memory of normal colors, other than white, of frame houses in the '50s - especially rural. 
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
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HO-Ron

Noware & Nevrwas RR


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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2009, 05:28:46 PM »

Well Gene, actualy they were mostly white. The trim varied, but the houses were painted with white lead paint as that was the cheapest way to go. Colors cost money and were just about only used for trim. Now there were brick houses and stone houses. Obviously those were the color of the region's brick/stone color. The trim on these also varied, but most of time I remember that being white...... Smiley
In the city the houses had more color. Lots of blue, tan (light brown) and I do remember one house that was purple. with white trim.
In the rural areas I never really saw more than white. I grew up in Wisconsin so others may have a different prespective on this. All those rural houses were "row houses" or farm houses.
Just my memories from 60 or so years ago.
HO-Ron
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RAM

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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2009, 06:14:01 PM »

Yellow.  A lot would depend on the type of construction.  I also remenber some red houses.
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 06:22:17 PM »

When I was a kid we used a lot of whitewash. Lime was cheap, worked great on brick or soft woods such as cedar. Add a little portland for durability, even color it with pig's blood for a nice "Suffolk Pink".   Cheesy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitewash
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SteamGene

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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2009, 06:31:32 PM »

It may be dialect, but a "frame house" to me is a wooden house, made with boards.  I know white was the predominate color, but I'm looking for a bit of variety.  OTOH, I've done enough "variety," and maybe this will stay white.  Cheesy
When I was a teenager I had two female cousins (far enough removed to be dateable) named Martha and Le-le, who lived in a pink stucco Mexican style rancher. 
Gene
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2009, 07:25:26 PM »

Yes, a "frame house" might be built up with wood studs, as opposed to a concrete block construction, however it might be finished with a brick or stucco veneer over plywood or celotex (tar board). Cedar has traditionally been an excellent choice for exterior siding and roofs.

Stucco is again becoming very popular, especially on single or double story commercial buildings. By mixing pigment in the stucco the color lasts a long time.

Yeah, I had several "kissin' cuzzins", like 32nd variety. Two were twins, double the fun.  Cheesy
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Stephen D. Richards

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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2009, 07:35:00 PM »

Gene, I grew up in Central West Virginia and our house was whitewash.  However, There were several frame houses in the hollow that had tar based shingles or siding on them.  Usually a dark color.  We only painted the barns red!  lol  The problem with the whitewash was it was a chore every year.  Painted the metal roof with a tar based silver paint.    Stephen
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Paul M.

T&P Railway in the 1950s


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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2009, 09:06:14 PM »

In older parts of the city, I still see some old frame houses built in the 40's and 50's. They're usually white, but trim varies wildly. Almost none are their original tan, and most have been repainted into gawdy colors such as pink, purple, cherry red, royal blue, yellow or even a lime green.
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Atlantic Central

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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2009, 09:55:01 PM »

Gene,

While many where/are white, many other paint schemes have remained popular over the years. One of the best ways to understand paint colors is to go to your local paint store, like Sherwin Williams (not the big box center), and they will have brochures on traditional paint schems from various eras.

Colonial Revival, Craftsman and Victorian styles of Architecture all have their own "history" of paint colors and all have stayed "in use" since those styles came into their own and then progressed to the next.

Earth tones and greens have always been popular and Colonial Revival colors like yellow and light blue with white trim are also very timeless and quite popular in the 50's.

Sheldon
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2009, 10:02:06 PM »

       My old neighborhood when I was growing up had a lot of 2 story Asphalt shingled homes, 2 tone brown, some gray, some off white and a few still had wood siding, mostly browns and whites. Very generic looking.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2009, 12:47:01 AM »

The house where I grew up in the 40's and early 50's had light yellowy tan coloured wood siding.  I can remember my Grandfather mixing the paint - white lead (lead carbonate), whiting (calcium carbonate), boiled linseed oil, raw linseed oil, and turpentine.  This made white paint, some of which he set aside for the trim.  The rest he coloured with tubes of 'colours in oil' which were a lot like artists oil paints.  I believe he used both yellow ochre and an earth brown (umber? burnt umber? raw sienna?)

The same house had lattice work that closed in the space below the front and back porch.  This was made of rough cut lathe (like the stuff used to hold the plaster on the walls inside the house.)  Instead of paint, my Grandfather used a reddish brown stain made of linseed oil, iron oxide and a thinner, probably Stoddard's solvent.  Iron oxide was cheap compared to white lead which was the reason it was used on barns and railroad equipment.  While we think of barns today as being bright red, apparently in the late 1800's they were box car red.  I can remember the neighbour's barn and garage as being a much darker red than barns today, roughly the colour of my Grandfather's rusty old burning barrel, but even darker.

In the mid fifties, my family moved into a new house which was finished with white asbestos/cement shingles with white trim.  The first house I owned was built around that time and was finished with white stucco.  Over the years, the stucco was repainted white and was still white the last time I saw it, about two years ago.  And yes, all three of these houses were wood frame construction, the oldest was a two story built in 1908 using balloon construction, the two newer houses were bungalows built using platform construction.  I had the pleasure of doing maintenance and alterations on all three and knew their construction very well.
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2009, 02:19:36 AM »

Today, contractors use the term "stick built" to differentiate from modular or factory assembled homes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_(construction)

I don't remember what my Dad used to paint the barns and grain cribs, but it was, as Jim noted, a very dark red.

My job was to keep the picket fence around the house whitewashed, but I didn't have any friends living close by I could "con" into doing it for me.  Cheesy
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 02:26:15 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Rangerover

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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2009, 10:00:08 AM »

LOL...I live in North Central West Virginia, Elkins, I just painted my house built in the 30's last summer, white with black trim. Most of the homes are at least 20-80 years old and still painted white with black, green or red trim. some foundations that are out of the ground are painted a brick reddish brown. Though I was born and raised in North Jersey most of the houses I lived in there were also white with the same color trim. My grandfather's house, built in the late 1800's was a very dark brown, but it was cedar shakes, with a white trim. His storm screen and window's were painted green. He used to remove the screens late fall and install the storm windows.
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Jhanecker2

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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2009, 12:07:48 PM »

I lived in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago in the Fifties . There were some frame houses but not many, most of the housing at that time were multi-story brick houses of two to four stories.  There were brownstone , greystones , brick of many colors  for some reason painted  some shade of red with contrasting trim .  In the sixties it became fashionable to have the brick fronts to be sand blasted and tuckpointed and the natural face brick colors to be revealed again. A lot of the frame buildings were covered with sometype of shingles in various shades. The color I remember most  is grey usually used on garages in the Alleys. It was then a great neighborhood to be raised in if you were a child . We lived in Lincoln Park and the Beach in the summer as it was less than a mile away , walking distance .
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SteamGene

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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2009, 01:18:08 PM »

The house I'm thinking about is the old Revell/Heljin/Con-Cor farm house kit, with house, shed, chicken coop, and outhouse.  The house itself is obviously wood plank.  The one reason for painting it something other than white is that what's called for - protect it from being the same color as every other kit of its type.   I guess it would be possible to cover the walls with shingles or something like that, but that's more than I want to do. 
I need to find a barn for it - but I think I know where that'll come from.
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
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