Critical Measurements Needed

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by tmak, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. tmak

    tmak New Member

    Good Morning Group,

    I will be scratch building a number of structures from historical photos. The structures were built late 1800's and early 1900's. What would have been the measurements between floors (and floors to ceilings). Does anyone have a sense of what they varied during this time period?

    The same thing for doors. What would have been their heights during this time period?

    Tom Makofski

    NorthEastern Wisconsin Free-mo
    Total Membership of 2 and Growing!
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think that it depends on what kind of structure you are looking at. Doors in barn foundations are quite a bit shorter than doors to homes, which are shorter than doors to shops or office buildings. And it varies by floor too...

    I once lived in a house built in 1880 - the doors were probably a "standard" 7 feet, but the ceilings on the ground floor were close to 10. Upstairs, every room had a sloping ceiling, with the highest point probably 7 feet. Doors were 6.5 feet.

    When calculating thickness of floors and walls, etc (if needed) remember that much of the lumber would have been "rough sawn" and close to true dimensions, rather than the dressed "nominal" lumber we have today.

    A thought - DPM has a downloadable pdf file of their "Modular" building sections. Those might give you some ideas for industrial type buildings, as well as guidelines for houses, etc.

  3. tmak

    tmak New Member

  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    There's two things that might help:

    1) There seem to be people in quite a few of them. If you assume average height for them in the 1920s (I am sure google has this answer ;)), then you can extrapolate.

    2) Unless you have a very big layout room, you will have to use some selective compression to fit even a few of the buildings in. In that case, you need to get something that looks right, not necessarily totally accurate.

    If you do want to go totally 100% accurate, you might need some additional information. You may be able to get fire insurance maps of the buildings/area in question.

  5. hiscopilot

    hiscopilot Member

    you might be able to find it in some older firefighting publications...

    I know we studied building construction to our area. it included that information.
  6. Wabash Banks

    Wabash Banks Member

    Check out the Library of Congress' Historical American Building Survey. You can search for various types of industrial buildings and get some good line drawings that often show heights and such.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I noticed the pic on the first page titled "Butter Tub Production" showed three women working just inside of a large door. If we assume the women are between 5' and 5'6" tall, I would estimate that doorway at 8'. If you can get a full on view of a side or end and have a known dimension of a door or window, then you could interpret the rest of the dimensions pretty closely.
  8. tmak

    tmak New Member

    Thanks everyone for your help. Here's the structure that I am working with. I just recently found this photo of the John Strange Paper Company at the Menasha Public Library. This will be my first structure for my Menasha Canal Module. (See, I haven't given up!) Here's the link for
    the photo:
    I also have some updated photos for the Neenah Icehouse on my "work
    bench" gallery.
    Tom Makofski
    NorthEastern Wisconsin Free-mo
    Total Membership of 2 and Growing!
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    That is a good shot to work from. Those are standard outside braced wood 40 foot boxcars. If you can blow the picture up so that the obxcars are ho scale then you can take measurements right off the picture. If you can't blow thing up enough to make it ho scale, print out a bunch of copies to mnark up. Now measure the outside height of one of your boxcars with a scale rule so that you can tell exactly how tall the side of the box is in scale feet.Let's say for sake of argument that you find your boxcar has exactly 9 foot tall sides from the floor to the edge of the roof. Just measure the distance from the floor to the roof edge of ne of the boxcars in the pic and divide by 9. Now you have a scale for 1 foot, and your should be able to measure it. Another trick if you can't blow it up to ho scale is to make it 1/2 ho scale. Then if you lay the picture out flat on your desk and measure with your ho scale ruler, every foot on your ruler will equal 2 feet. If you end up being 6 inches off, what difference does it make. I doubt if anyone else has access to measure the building any better than you do.

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