Where Those 20,000 lbs of Wallpaper Went in Days Past

Referring back to my previous post, back in those days (1920’s-’50’s), like I said, every room in the house was papered, and every surface…. Kitchens, bedrooms, living and dining rooms, hallways, bathrooms, ceilings, and even closets.

Many homes had shipplapped wood structure, and “cheesecloth” was tacked over the uneven wood, to provide a smooth surface to attach the paper to. I don’t know what they did with plaster walls; possibly put the paper directly on the plaster.

That was back when wallpaper was just that – paper. No plastic coating, no vinyl, no woven cloth backing… just paper and ink, and a selvedge edge, too, that had to be trimmed of and / or overlapped on the wall.

My father said they would put layer over layer, each time they redecorated, until finally there were too many layers, and then the paperhanger would use a steamer to get it back down to the bare wall. Boy, I remember those steamers!

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