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Re: History of conventional wood framing- update

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At 04:18 PM 2/22/99 EST, you wrote:
>How is the term "balloon framing" derived?
>Jeff Taner

One reply said,

>The studs were held upright with balloons until they attached the roof

But since hydrogen gas would not have been a standard commodity on the
midwestern frontier, nor would helium, this balloon explanation seems to
rely on hot air.

Prof Siegfried Giedion wrote that "balloon" was a faintly pejorative term,
that dismissed the framing as light and flimsy. Gary Wheeler's reply gives
this from the positive side.  See the Seaint Archives for May 1998 for more
on this thread based on Giedion's works. 

Prof Cavanagh now asserts that the name has a French origin:

        "A deed written in Missouri French and in a reasonably clear hand in
1804 specifies 'a dwelling place located on [the riverbank] and three miles
from this village [of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri] on which there is a
half-enclosed field, a balloon house, and a natural spring.' The official
phrasing in the document implies that *maisson en boullin* defined a
particular building technique that was in common use by the French along the
Mississippi in the first years of the nineteenth century."

We got the "vigas" name resolved recently; can anyone expand on this French

Prof Cavanagh noted that in that era, "Typically, the French constructed
houses with palisade walls--vertical wooden posts placed side by side at 16
inches center to center, with a continuous plate nailed across the top."
See the magazine for more. I subscribe, and enjoy the stories of
inventiveness very much.

There is an excellent display of early French North American construction at
the reconstructed Fortress Louisbourg on the northeast coast of Nova Scotia.
The original was demolished after capture by the British around 1755. Among
the artifacts discovered in excavating the ruins, and on display, is an iron
strap top-flange type joist hanger similar to Simpson's B-series. Palisade
walls and other framing methods are demonstrated at Louisbourg.      

Charles O. Greenlaw, SE     Sacramento  CA