The History of Drywall

In 1916, the U.S. Gypsum Company (USG) invented drywall. At that time, it was called ‘Sackett Board’, named after the USG subsidiary of the same name. Originally, it was sold in small, fireproof tiles. After a few years, it was updated as multi-layer gypsum and paper sheets. It took less than a decade of use before it transformed into the drywall we know today, made up of one layer of compressed gypsum, which was then compressed between two heavy sheets of paper. Though it didn’t take long for drywall to take the shape of the building material we know today, builders didn’t begin regularly using it substantially until almost 25 years later.


Builders were initially uneasy about using drywall. At the time of its creation, drywall was predominantly seen as a quick fix option. Most construction was employing the use of plaster, which carried with it a tradition, almost as if it were an artform, and along with it came a higher price. It was at this time USG changed the brand name of their product to something they hoped would improve its reputation, ‘Sheetrock’. At the time, this had little to no effect, despite it being a household name all these years later.


This all changed when the United States became involved in World War II. That is when the benefits of using drywall became clear. With so many materials diverted toward the war effort, a new, quick, and affordable alternative was needed. The labor shortage created with so many men being sent overseas to fight in the war made plastering no longer a viable option, and thus drywall became the more common. This allowed builders to construct everything from sorely needed factories to brand new homes in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the labor needed as well. Affordable and efficient products were viewed as quite patriotic at the time, because it allowed citizens to devote more effort and money to supporting the country’s war effort.


As of 1945, drywall was the building material of choice in the United States. Its affordability and easy installation facilitated the massive post-war building boom that took hold as service members returning home sought to put down roots and start a family. By changing from plaster to drywall, contractors found they were able to complete homes and workplaces in one-tenth the time it would have previously taken them. This allowed them to take on more projects and brought in much higher profits than they had earned before. As of 2007, USG reported net sales of over $5 billion, continuing to hold their place as one of the world’s top producers and innovators in the drywall market.


Next time, we’ll be taking a look at how drywall is made and the changes it’s gone through since its creation. If you’re looking for the best selection of the best drywall texture spray rigs, American Spray Technologies is the place to go. Whether you’re looking for parts, trailer or skid mounted rigs, or a Kodiak portable sprayer, we’ve got the perfect rig for you. Request a quote today!