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Oil and canvas on wallboard
MFA# 69.1066


Any rigid sheet of material used for covering interior walls and ceilings. Wallboards are used as a substitute for Plaster, as decoration and as quick or temporary support surfaces. Wallboard has been made from a variety of materials over the years. Originally, wallboards were a laminated Pasteboard made from wood pulp, waste paper, Bagasse, or rags. The paper panels were soaked in linseed oil, dried, then painted or lacquered. In 1926, the Masonite® process for producing a thin, dense Fiberboard, or Hardboard, was developed. A third type of wallboard made from Gypsum is called drywall or plasterboard. It is composed of a gypsum core sandwiched between two layers of paper. Gypsum board is fire resistance, dimensionally stable, and inexpensive. Examples of some types of wallboard are: Beaverboard; Upson board, Masonite®; Iso-board; Medex, Particle board, Duron®, Waferboard, Drywall, and Sheetrock®.

Synonyms and Related Terms

wall board; gypsum board; drywall; dry-wall; fiberboard

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 386
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Thomas C. Jester (ed.), Twentieth-Century Building Materials, McGraw-Hill Companies, Washington DC, 1995
  • 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