Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Unsuspected Dangers of the Past

Dusty D is often taken aback to see examples of practices that took place before we understood how dangerous they are.

Here's a gentleman nonchalantly painting a pillar with pure lead paint, and doubtless inhaling atomized droplets off of his brush. Of course lead paint for residential use was banned in 1977, though it's still in use by the military and industry.

Chicago's National Lead Company here offers to send you an informative paint booklet free of charge. It's interesting to note the large size of this ad from not a local but a distant company--a very powerful one, formed to control the price of white lead across the nation. Two years after this 1905 ad it would begin marketing its paint under the famous Dutch Boy label. By 1920, the National Lead Co. was the subject of an investigation due to lead price-fixing.

In the meantime, however, the National Lead Company's "Pure White Lead Sterling" likely went up in houses across Ypsilanti, sold from the Huron Street drugstore Rogers-Weinmann-Matthews. How many houses still bear vestiges of this long-ago paint? Was it a problem in your old house?

--July 25, 1905 Ypsilanti Daily Press


cmadler said...

I will always remember laughing, when we bought our house (built in the 1920s) about the disclosure that there might be lead paint in the house, and that the seller was not aware of whether there was or was not. I would be quite shocked if, among the many layers on our walls, there was no lead paint! It's a simple fact of life in most older houses.

Dusty D said...

Absolutely; I also had to repaint my entire interior as well (1948 house). Just the standard M.O. back then...