A Short History of House Painting

Today, paint is ever-present on the walls of every home and building in the world, but did you know that humans have been using paint to decorate their homes for tens of thousands of years? When you repaint your home with Carroll Painting, you are participating in a human cultural tradition as old, or even older, than human civilization itself. Today, let’s fire up our time machines and take a colorful journey through the history of house painting. 

Cave Paintings: The History of House Painting Begins

Scientists estimate that the history of house painting started 30 to 40 thousand years ago, when humans began to create cave paintings. Early humans applied paint to stone and other surfaces in order to brighten up their living spaces, leaving handprints, depictions of animals, and images of people. Ancient people created paint using ingredients they could find in their immediate environment, like mixed animal fat, spit, and natural pigments. Many of these paintings have persevered into the modern day because they are isolated underground. Modern above-ground homes that are exposed to the elements need to be repainted much more often than once a millennium. When your home needs to be repainted, be sure to reach out to Carroll Painting. 

House Painting in Ancient Egypt and Greece

The Ancient Egyptians decorated their tombs and sarcophaguses with vibrant colors. Over 4000 years ago, this civilization was making use of decorative paint, and much of this paint has survived to the present day. The Egyptians used gypsum as a pigment for their paint, and they added elaborate bonding agents like resin and egg tempera. This allowed for a wider variety of paint colors then previous eras had. The Egyptians would also add a layer of dried plaster to the surface they were painting on, rather than painting directly onto stone walls. They also added a layer of protective resin, which helped paint last longer. 

Across the Mediterranean, in Greece, new paint innovations were also being made. The Greeks began painting the outside of their homes and buildings white in order to keep their homes cooler during the hot summers of the region, counteracting the dark heat-trapping building materials used in the region at the time. No matter what color you want to paint your home, be sure to reach out to Carroll Painting for all of your home painting needs. 

Middle Ages and Early America

The role of house painting as a profession emerged in Europe during the 1200s. By the 1400s, house painting guilds began emerging in England. English paint guilds set standards for house painting and established the job as a respected profession. Guild members also created mixing techniques for creating colors, and they kept these formulas as closely guarded trade secrets. The painters’ guilds did not only paint houses, but they also painted everything from wooden barges to portraits. 

In the early American colonial era, pilgrims avoided painting their houses for religious and cultural reasons. The pilgrims viewed house painting as an ostentatious demonstration of wealth, vanity and arrogance, and they discouraged it. Despite the opinions of the pilgrims, demand for paint within the colonies continued to grow. The first recorded American paint mill was reportedly established in 1700 in Boston by Thomas Child. In this time, the base materials of paint were oil and water. These ingredients were combined with metals and fruits to create different colors and paint types.

House Painting in Modern Times 

In 1833, the famous paint company, Benjamin Moore, opened its doors. In 1866, Sherwin-Williams & Co of Cleveland, Ohio was founded. These two companies changed the paint industry forever. Sherwin-Williams & Co soon became the first company to produce ready-to-use house paint. Benjamin Moore, meanwhile, invested immense resources into developing chemicals designed to improve paint mixing. In 1982, Benjamin Moore created the computer-based color matching system, which is now an indispensable tool when it comes to paint color selection that modern homeowners and painters rely upon.

The vibrant history of house painting has allowed us to benefit from techniques and materials perfected over time. Today, you do not need to worry about English painters’ guilds or disapproving pilgrims when you have your house painted; you can just call Carroll Painting for all of your home painting needs. With the abundance of color choices and paint types out there, thanks to the evolution of paint over the centuries, we’ll paint your home in a color you love that lasts many years. When the time comes for you and your family to participate in the millennia old tradition of painting your house, reach out to us at Carroll Painting for all of your painting needs.