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A thin strip of wood or metal used in construction of houses to support shingles, plaster, or tile. Lathes were commonly used as a base for plaster walls in the U.S. from 1720. The early lathes were hand split with irregular sizes in two directions. After 1820, lathes were sawn from wide planks then split into thin rails, producing irregular widths but stable thicknesses. Lathes sawn in two directions were introduced in 1825 and widely used by 1835. Expanded metal lathes were patented in England in 1840 and made in the U.S. after 1896.

Synonyms and Related Terms

lathes (pl.); lathing; latte (Fr.); ripa (Port.);

Additional Information

M.Ferro, "New Directions in Architectural Conservation: The Role of Physical Evidence" Technology & Conservation, 1/76, p. 14-17.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998