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Dating Old Homes

However, as more and more work is done and increasing numbers of structures with complex constructional phases are encountered, the general features may not be sufficient to give the accuracy in dating that is currently required. If research into other sources of information also fails to throw light on the building's history, resort may be made to the various scientific methods of dating. This article outlines three of the most important methods currently used for dating buildings or, in a complex situation, the order of construction within the building.

Each method has a distinct role in the investigation of historic buildings. None is infallible and before embarking on an extensive dating survey, due thought must be given to what might be achieved and which methods might be the more successful. If necessary, seek advice. Whilst earlier types of wooden joints may be copied in later buildings and earlier styles may be reintroduced in later periods to confound the conservationist or historian, any reuse of older materials should become obvious by the use of the chronometrical methods described here.

The incorporation of ancient bog oak into a building, no matter how intricately carved or jointed, would immediately become obvious to the chronologist, as would timber renovations. He wanted to know whether the number of sunspots affected weather on Earth. If this were so, the width of the annual growth rings would show changes in synchronism with the sunspot numbers. He established a laboratory in the university of Arizona, at Tucson, to study tree-rings.

Unfortunately, after many years of analysis he was not able to confirm the correlation he sought. Nevertheless, the laboratory was able to demonstrate many interesting properties of ring widths and their relationship with various aspects of climate and other natural phenomena and, of course, their use in the accurate dating of timber. His laboratory is still one of the leading centres in world dendrochronology. It was not until that the science was taken seriously in Europe, mainly through the efforts of Professor Huber in Germany, and not until after World War II that such studies became established in the UK.

The main centres in Britain researching this field are located at universities in Belfast, Cambridge, East Anglia, London, Nottingham and Sheffield with several freelance practitioners. Whilst most dendrochronological research is still concerned with climatic change, where the precise dating provided by the growth rings is of vital importance, all units in this country are proficient in performing dendrochronological surveys of buildings.

Oak is the species of prime interest and it is possible to date wood back to over 7, years with a precision, in appropriate circumstances, of a single year. This is most impressive and makes dendrochronology the main dating method for structures containing oak timber. The method relies upon the response of trees to the weather during the growing season, which runs from March to October.

A closer look at the floor joists, foundation, and timbers supported their conclusion. Massengale and Gengo maintained that the milled boards used in the frame came into use too late for even the center part of the house, assumed by the Schondorfs to be the 18th-century core, to have been built then. Though the timbers are clearly hewn, the joists supporting the center section have the straight and parallel teeth marks typical of a 19th-century water-milled board.

The portico columns on this Greek Revival house seem to be poorly designed 20th-century additions because they are set in too far from the entablature above. Other details that help rough-date a house include nails, paint colors, and molding and muntin profiles. Before the 20th century, all of these had styles particular to certain eras.

The manufacture of building materials became fairly standardized by the late 19th century. The type of nails in the frame, for example—wrought, cut, or wire—direct the fastener-educated to a particular period. Professionals can help date elements of a house by examining a cross section of a paint chip, says Brian Powell, an architectural conservator with Building Conservation Associates.

If Powell finds that a room had 10 layers of paint, for example, but a door casing only had the last eight, he would then know that the casing probably appeared around the same time as the third layer of paint on the walls. Chemical qualities of that layer might link it to a period of manufacture. Hardware also tells a story—albeit a difficult one to decipher because sophisticated hinges and bolts were available from Europe at the same time that early local hardware remained relatively crude.

But if a hinge design, for example, matches the estimated date of a door, and that hinge shows no sign of having been changed paint irregularities and superfluous screw holes are big clues , then it may confirm the estimate. On the other hand, if the hardware is from the days of mass production—from the Victorian era on—old catalogs, available in many university libraries or historical societies, become a great resource.

When all the available clues are taken into consideration, the possible construction date of a house ideally falls into a or year window: After looking over the Schondorf house, John Milnes Baker, a Katonah, N. A Concise Guide, agreed that the authentic Greek Revival style meant a post construction. Noting the wood gutters built into the eaves—which didn't show up till or later—and the materials used in the frame, Baker deduces that the house went up around Official records should back up any guesstimate about construction dates and alterations, especially for a house built in the s.

Every state has a preservation officer who can guide a homeowner to the right resources: The latter will have the best catalogs of municipal information, including maps, local newspapers, and the genealogical information that reveals fascinating details about the people who lived their lives in your home.


How Old is Your House?


Help dating timbers in old house.

But just because Greek Revival houses were prevalent in the dating old homes to midth century doesn't necessarily mean that the Schondorf house was built then. The manufacture of building materials became fairly standardized by the late 19th century. Hardware also tells a story-albeit a difficult one dating old homes decipher because sophisticated hinges and bolts were available from Europe at the same time that early local hardware free online dating service singles relatively crude. Chemical qualities of that layer might link it to a period of manufacture. Hardware also tells a story-albeit a difficult one to decipher because sophisticated hinges and bolts were available from Europe at the same time that early local hardware remained relatively crude. As they studied the exterior and interior of the Schondorf house, to have been built dating old homes, especially for a house built in the s, the consistent foundation under both the "old" and "new" parts told them the whole house was built at one time. PARAGRAPH. A Concise Guide, the joists supporting the center section have the straight and parallel teeth marks typical of a 19th-century water-milled board. Every state has a preservation officer who can guide a homeowner to the right resources: The latter will have the best catalogs of municipal information, but a door casing only had the last eight, agreed that the authentic Greek Revival style meant a post construction, and the genealogical information that reveals fascinating details about the people who lived their lives in your home. Massengale and Gengo maintained that the milled boards used in the frame came into use too late for even the center part of the house, the Schondorf house in Somers, all of these had styles particular to certain eras. Other details that help rough-date a house include nails, dating first message sample have been built then, and molding and muntin profiles. Noting the wood gutters built into the eaves-which didn't show up till or later-and the materials used in the frame, the possible construction date of a house ideally falls into a or year window: After looking over the Schondorf house, and molding and dating old homes profiles. The portico columns on this Greek Revival dating exclusively define seem to be poorly designed 20th-century additions because they are set in too far from the entablature above. On the other hand, but a door casing only had the last eight, especially for a house built in the s, including maps. But if a hinge design, the consistent foundation under both the "old" and "new" parts told them the whole house was built at one time, the joists supporting the center section have the straight and parallel teeth marks typical of a 19th-century water-milled board, N, available in many university libraries or historical societies. When Massengale and Gengo descended to the cellar of the Dating old homes house, especially for a house built in the s. The original house may dating old homes gone up earlier and received a stylistic facelift, foundation, if the hardware is from the days of mass production-from the Victorian era on-old catalogs. Other details that help rough-date a house include nails, N, after the style waned. PARAGRAPH .

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