Old House Journal - - Restore -

Metal ceil­ings are a uniquely Amer­i­can story. Mass-pro­duced, em­bossed steel pan­els were first avail­able in the U.S. dur­ing the 1880s and mar­keted as eco­nom­i­cal, fire­proof ceil­ings. These early metal ceil­ings were tin-plated to re­tard rust­ing. The stamped pat­terns were com­plex and or­nate, meant to stand in for dec­o­ra­tive Euro­pean-style plas­ter­work ceil­ings (at a frac­tion of the cost). Later de­signs ex­tended to Art Deco and Colo­nial Re­vival pat­terns. Easy to in­stall and need­ing only min­i­mal main­te­nance, they were pop­u­lar across the coun­try. “Tin ceil­ings” re­mained pop­u­lar un­til World War I, when man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ef­forts were directed else­where. Their cur­rent pop­u­lar­ity dates to the Vic­to­rian Re­vival of the 1980s. Since then, metal ceil­ings have been used in com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial in­te­ri­ors, painted or even clear-fin­ished for a more in­dus­trial look.

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