Few associations have a history as long as the Gypsum Association. For more than half a century, the Association has provided technical, promotional, and statistical information to its members and interested parties.
Born in the depths of the Great Depression, the Gypsum Association has endured for more than 80 years, and is now one of the premier building materials organizations in North America. Formally established in 1930, the Gypsum Association represents the interests of all gypsum board manufacturers based in the United States and Canada.
The timeline, below, illustrates the Association’s rich history.
- Late 1920s
- Several constituents of the gypsum industry agree that creating a formal association offers a number of advantages over continuing to operate as Gypsum Industries, an informal research and standard setting group.
- The Gypsum Association is formally established.
- April 17, 1930
At the first meeting of the Gypsum Association, James Leenhouts is elected as President/Chairman and Henry J. Schweim (pictured) is hired as the “engineer of the Association.”
- Schweim, now Secretary of the Corporation and Chief Executive Officer, establishes the Association’s first office in Chicago.
- The Technical Problems Committee requests and receives approval to conduct four fire tests with the National Bureau of Standards.
- The Association volunteers to participate in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) by developing the Code of Fair Practice for the Gypsum Industry. To assist with the development of the Code, the Gypsum Association attempts to unite all United States gypsum companies under the Association.
- The Association expands its criteria for membership eligibility.
- Pacific Coast division of the Gypsum Association emerges.
- The Association appoints an Advertising and Promotional Committee.
- The Association works to develop a more fire-resistant gypsum board.
The Association publishes,The ABC’s of Plastering, to educate contractors and architects.
- During the post-war housing boom, the Technical Problems Committee and the Promotional Committee seeks Underwriters Laboratories labeling for gypsum sheathing and authorizes $1000 for fire testing of gypsum sheathing.
Henry Schweim retires and Lloyd H. Yeager (pictured) fills the vacancy. A decade-long public relations campaign begins that includes production of a series of films, such as Shaping the Future with Gypsum Board, and accompanying literature, including New Gypsum 2-Ply Wallboard. Research continues as the Technical Problems Committee receives approval to spend $1000 on the development and fire testing of a system with a 1-hour fire resistance rating.
- A 1-hour rated system is achieved.
The Gypsum Association film, White Magic, shows in Paramount and Warner theaters, federal agencies, schools, etc.
- White Magic airs on television to an estimated audience of over 54 million viewers. Promotional committee runs a series of articles in newspapers and magazines under the “Add a Room” campaign.
With significant tests and data to share, the Technical Problems Committee recommends producing a complete reference manual on fire resistance to be known as Fire Resistance Design Data Manual.
- The use of gypsum board in apartment and office builds grows substantially due in large part to its fire-resistant and sound attenuation properties.
- The Association’s Board of Directors votes to incorporate
- December 29, 1961
- The Gypsum Association files for incorporation. Lloyd Yeager becomes the Association’s Executive Vice President
As Lloyd Yeager steps down, A. Victor Abnee, Jr., (pictured) takes over as General Manager.
- In response to demand, 20,000 copies of the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual are distributed to architects and another 1,800 are provided to building officials as part of a Design Data Binder.
- The technical committee recommends including sound, structural and assembly information, in addition to fire safety information, in the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual.
- All model building codes reference the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual as a source of fire resistive designs.
- The Technical Committee begins work on product standards for gypsum products used in manufactured housing.
The Promotion Committee receives approval to spend $5,000 to develop the film, Beauty with Safety, and receives authorization to begin work on a document entitled Manufactured Housing Recommendations.
- The National Institute of Building Sciences releases a manufactured housing study that rates gypsum products favorably.
A revised version of Beauty with Safety and the film, Time to Live, air on cable television.
- Victor Abnee retires as Executive Director and Jerry Walker (pictured) is hired as the Association’s new Executive Director. The Association moves from Chicago to Washington, DC.
- The Gypsum Association develops an educational video and interactive CD-ROM set based on GA-214 Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The Home Upgrade Program, the Grassroots Fire Resistance, and Sound Reduction Program are initiated.
Levels of Gypsum Board Finish, the first document to effectively instruct wallboard finishers on proper techniques associated with specific levels of finish quality, is released.
- The Association initiates funding for a multi-year program to promote the use of gypsum board in both fire separation walls and as part of roof underlayment systems.
- A four-color page insert is placed in numerous architectural trade magazines. The insert receives a favorable rating in a reader’s poll conducted by a leading architectural journal.
- Gypsum board manufacturers in the United States ship more board than ever before—more than 36 billion square feet are shipped.
- The Association relocates from downtown Washington, D.C., to the Maryland suburb of Hyattsville.
- The Association completes a Life-Cycle Assessment Summary of gypsum board (LCA); the first of many steps in a process to accurately assess the sustainability of gypsum board.