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"Corrugated Iron Use" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Aredlancer02 Jul 2020 3:34 a.m. PST

It had been around since about 1820, but how common was it? most towns i see real/hollywood don't seem to have used corrugated iron, but i have read about it in a couple of historical books on the old west as being common. Was this just as roofing, are there any known examples of cow towns with corrugated iron use.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2020 6:23 a.m. PST

Roofing of historic buildings:


If you want some light reading on the subject:


I imagine roofing would depend on the size and permanence of the town, the availability of natural roofing materials, and the distance from transportation hubs.

Cloudy02 Jul 2020 7:00 a.m. PST

Thanks for those links – I have an interest!

Dagwood02 Jul 2020 7:12 a.m. PST

Was it more likely to be used for animals and other sheds, rather than for houses /

Aredlancer02 Jul 2020 8:22 a.m. PST

Thanks for this, very interesting (in a weird way)

coryfromMissoula02 Jul 2020 8:30 a.m. PST

I have done historical renovation in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. In these areas corrugated was unusual prior to late 1890s When it did turn up it was often on mine buildings as they were the primary ones with money.

Shingles were the societal aspiration, not as expensive as iron, and could be produced locally, important as shipping charges were not insignificant.

Sheds and such were usually board and batten, roofing tar was popular after the mid 1880s.

DyeHard02 Jul 2020 10:07 a.m. PST

I have no data to site,

But I suspect in the "Old West" corrugated metal roofing would be, at first a luxury item, and only be used near rail lines.

First we need to consider what "Old West" means. 1870's to 1920's sounds like a good start. Pressed metal was a common decorative item used inside structures as a show-off luxury. Tin ceilings allowed decorative patterns like plaster but that could withstand the wild weather of the USA.

But such items needed to be shipped a long way. Either by rail from the Eastern US or by ship around the tip of Chile to the west coast cities and then in by rail. If you were going to go to that trouble you got copper or soldered tin roofing custom fit to your roof.


Commonly this standing seam style:

Near the end of the West, 1910-Dust Bowl, corrugated metal was brought in at huge amounts for agricultural buildings:


Used to stabilize the siding and roofs made of more locally sources materials. I think corrugated metal was always viewed as a low class covering in the USA, so only poor housing would tend to use it.

Henry Martini03 Jul 2020 7:33 p.m. PST

Its use was very widespread in Australia and southern Africa; almost a distinguishing feature of vernacular architecture in those regions.

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