Working Wednesday – When Blueprints Really Were Blue

I’m just back from a short trip to North Carolina that involves a long story I won’t get into, but I thought you might enjoy seeing this…

These are the original 1950 plans for the house I was working on.  Aren’t they beautiful!?!  Being a draftsman back then involved a LOT of hand writing and line work, along with attention to detail.  The blueprints truly were blue, and an amazing shade of it too.  The color was the result of the chemical reaction of ammonium ferric citrate impregnated paper to light.  Areas of the paper exposed to light turned a deep blue, while areas blocked from light exposure (most often from laying india ink drawings on thin tracing paper between the paper and the light source), stayed white.  Of course, there was a nasty smelling chemical bath that the blueprints had to go through to get the blue areas to develop, but after 62+ years there wasn’t a whiff of it.

I’m trying to convince the homeowners to have the drawings scanned for future use, and then have the floor plans framed as art for their walls.  What a conversation piece, no?

Thanks for visiting (and more about the new business next week when I can catch my breath)!


2 Responses to “Working Wednesday – When Blueprints Really Were Blue”

  1. earth friendly landscapes Says:

    I remember one time in 2001 when I was interning for landscape architect I had to make blueprints of 25 or so sheets using an old school blue printing machine in an unventilated room. Wow takes me back.

  2. lauren Says:

    Thanks, Rachel! I adore old blueprints- I have the original set from the 20′ of the home where I grew up in Laguna. They’re absolutely charming- an interior elevation even shows a sketch of a mural that was handpainted on one of the walls. And I’ve been planning on doing the same thing you mentioned- scanning and framing them. They just don’t make (or draw, in this case) them like they used to… ;)

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