and HOMASOTE COMPANY
Homasote® structural fiberboard products are used in residential and commercial building. Among its applications are exterior vertical sheathing, sound control, roof decking, concrete forming, expansion joint, insulation and, under the Pak-Line® brand, industrial packaging.
HOMASOTE COMPANY HISTORY
An internationally known environmental icon, Homasote Company is the oldest manufacturer of building products made from recycled materials in the U.S., and the only manufacturer of its kind in the Americas. Our 750,000 square-foot factory complex in New Jersey, is a few miles from the spot where George Washington crossed the Delaware on his way to the Battle of Trenton.
day we recycle (and keep out of landfills) up to 250 tons of post-consumer
paper, including all the curbside recycled newspaper from New Jersey's
capital county. Every production year our unique manufacturing process
helps conserve nearly 1.4 million trees and eliminates more than 65 million
pounds of solid waste that otherwise would go into landfills.
commitment goes beyond raw material recycling. Homasote Company is the
first manufacturer in the United States to recycle nearly all water used
to manufacture our products. The Company's process water, hundreds of
thousands of gallons per day, is completely reused in a closed-loop system,
a recycling feat recognized in 1956 by an award from the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers (the precursor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
The Company has
a fascinating history that began with its 1909 inception as the last offshoot
of the original Bermuda Trading Company. Today architects, builders, specifiers,
hobbyists, and others across the globe know Homasote Company for its exceptionally
environmental, structural building and packaging products.
Eugenius H. Outerbridge
founded Homasote Company in 1909 as the "Agasote Millboard Company."
An industrialist who brought Homasote's secret manufacturing process to
the U.S. from England, Outerbridge was the first chairman of what is now
the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Those who have traversed
the "Outerbridge" between New Jersey and Staten Island, New
York will recognize our founder's last name. The 8,800-foot-long Outerbridge
span, which opened in January 1928, is named in honor of Outerbridge the
man - not because the bridge is "out" in the water or attached
to the "outer" part of either state.
Eugenius H. Outerbridge's
Agasote Millboard Company first manufactured sanded panels for the lining
and sides of railroad carriages. In 1915, the Company found that Agasote
was suitable for automobile tops and for the next 10 years we also supplied
board for the tops of Ford, Buick, Nash, Studebaker, Dodge and other automobiles.
A derivative product, called, "Vehisote," was developed for
delivery truck panels and it became a standard for Dodge and other trucks.
first was introduced in 1916, as "Versatile Homasote Board,"
an un-sanded panel, strong and lightweight with excellent weather-resistant
properties. Because it was impervious to weather extremes the board caught
the eye of U.S. military officials who used Homasote® for the exterior
of field hospitals and military housing in France during World War I.
In 1925 a shift
to canvas tops for automobiles reduced demand for Agasote® panels,
so the Company responded by promoting Homasote® board's building and
insulation properties. In a short time Homasote® became our most important
product. Outerbridge recognized the long-term value of the growing Homasote®
brand and officially changed the Company's name to Homasote Company.
Admiral Richard E. Byrd relied upon Homasote® for his 1928-1930 Antarctic
expedition. At his Winter Headquarters on the frigid continent the exterior
and roof of executive offices, laboratories, radio station, clinic, mess
room, kitchen, bunkhouses, machine shops, and magnetism observatory were
covered entirely with Homasote®; its internal walls were insulated
with Thermasote®. Byrd's structures were transported, knocked-down,
on boats and sleds then assembled at the barren base. When the base was
evacuated some of the buildings were knocked down and the board transported
to New Zealand for storage.
Today, the Pak-Line®
Division of Homasote Company creates custom packaging from structural
and non-abrasive Homasote® for shipping mechanical, electrical, and
high-tech materials. Pak-Line® custom containers can meet highly complex
packaging needs. Examples include all components for assembling a new
truck, or delivering a replacement auto engine. Both were shipped overseas
in Pak-Line® containers. After the parts were removed the Homasote®
panels were knocked down and returned to the U.S., again to be filled
with parts and re-shipped. This sustainable property appeals to exporters
whose destination countries now impose import restrictions on wooden and
cardboard packaging for environmental or insect- prevention reasons.
During the Great Depression Homasote Company became a victim of its own success. The nation's economy stagnated and retailers had difficulty making repeat sales. Ironically, the strength, quality and reliability of Homasote® may have affected repeat sales. Homes and other structures built over the years remain standing today, as much as seven decades after their construction.
In 1935, after
a major market research effort, the Company launched a new strategy to
insure repeat sales, developing a new system of prefabricating housing
called the "Precision Built System of Construction." Its first
"modular" housing project was in Valejo, California, where 977
houses were built in just 73 working days.
With war around
the corner, the construction demand for Homasote® increased significantly.
The Precision Built System of Construction was used in a massive 5,000-home
World War II housing project in at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth,
Virginia. A May 1942 Homasote Company newsletter described it as, "
largest [residential housing project] that [was constructed] at the fastest
speed ever attempted in the history of the world." World War II absorbed
all of Homasote Company's output for military housing and base work across
The Iron Curtain
was raised after the Second World War and Homasote® had another cold-climate
assignment. It's ability to resist weathering prompted the Government
to specify Homasote® in construction of the Distant Early Warning
("DEW") line - radar sites along the Arctic Circle that swept
the sky to alert Western forces to an impending Soviet sneak attack in
enough time to mount a response.
Responding to architects
and specifiers who needed more than our assurances that Homasote®
controls sound, the Company invested in a battery of independent laboratory
tests. The results proved Homasote® to be an excellent sound-dampening
product that reduced ambient and through-the structure sound. The tests
gave our panels the imprimatur that allowed them to be specified with
confidence by architects. We responded by marketing and advertising the
panels as 440 SoundBarrier®. Now it is regularly specified by architects
for floor and wall assemblies.
is the newest Homasote product, an interior panel of 440 SoundBarrier®
sanded on both sides to create an elegant looking and uniformly smooth
tackable surface. Ready for immediate use for all display applications
with no additional finishing necessary, PINnacle is ready to receive fabrics,
wall coverings, paint or dye. It is the latest generation of Homasote®
panels that have been the benchmark for pin-retention characteristics
for nearly a century.
In 2003, Oriented
Strand Board ("OSB") and plywood prices began to escalate. By
early 2004 they had skyrocketed to new heights. Builders looking for an
alternative have put 440 SoundBarrier® back into focus as an exterior
sheathing, a use for which it dominated in many markets over the years.
costs the same or less than OSB or plywood and it's a superior exterior
vertical sheathing as demonstrated by independent laboratory tests showing
greater shear, permeance, nail pull and other physical factors. Building
products suppliers are recognizing Homasote®'s superiority and making
sure that they have enough 440 SoundBarrier® in stock.
The unique Homasote®
manufacturing process begins when tons of post-consumer paper and newspaper
are delivered to our plant and pulping employees separate cardboard from
paper to be processed. The cardboard is bailed and resold to another recycler
since its long fibers are not compatible with the Homasote®.
removes non-paper material down to very small particles that are removed
centrifugally in cyclone devices. Finally, a small amount of wax emulsion
and biocide are added to the slurry which, at that point, is comprised
of 98 percent water and 2 percent pulp. The slurry is pumped into holding
tanks, ready to be molded into Homasote®.
To create Homasote®
board the slurry is pumped into 8' x 12' forming molds that shape the
product by squeezing nearly 25 percent of the water out of it. A squeezed,
formed "mat," now 75 percent water and 25 percent pulp, is moved
on rollers into giant presses where it is receives from 1,600 to 2,200
lbs-per-square-inch of pressure before it is transported through a 300
ft. enclosed dryer. Prior to drying the board is approximately 25 percent
water. At the end of the drying process finished Homasote® board is
approximately 5 percent water, 3 percent less water content than plywood.
No other fiberboard
is manufactured like Homasote, nor does any other board match its physical
properties. The result is a weather-resistant, structural, insulating,
extremely durable board with two to three times the strength of typical
light-density wood fiberboards.
To see more about how Homasote® is made. Click here.