Updating tongue and groove oak panel
During the postwar housing boom, the pine industry promoted its use with lots of advertising.
It was very accessible for handy, thrifty do-it-yourselfers.
In nearly seven years of blogging, we also have seen it used in basements, attics, porches — even bathrooms and ceilings — see our 2012 uploader of readers’ interiors full o’ the knotty.
Why the popularity of the decorative pickwick pine pattern in midcentury America?
Pine — including knotty pine — is a classic, vernacular material that was critically important, it seems, to many generations of American homes for many generations. Vorhees knows this material well — and his company still mills and sells pickwick pine paneling.
Moreover, in midcentury America, knotty pine was not only considered practical — it was downright fashionable, said to to Ed Vorhees, who has owned Tidewater Lumber in Greer, S. I asked Vorhees if he knew where the name Pickwick Pine came from, but he did not know.
Here’s the original cover illustration by Robert Seymour — could it be that “Pickwick Club” typography is faux bois — it sure looks like it. So now — just like we wrestled the etymology of the term “hudee” ring to the ground — we’re on a pursuit to answer the question: Update We have an answer for why this was called “Pickwick”: Steven Jarvis, author of the forthcoming novel, Death and Mr.
The catalog we found from 1960 also called WP-2 “butterfly pattern” (this terminology spotted in the yellow area of text in the image above). And likely, their grandma and grandpa’s, too — we have some reason this profile goes back to the early 20th century — maybe even earlier.
Thank you, Steven, we will feature your book when it comes out — and I for one plan to read it.
Hey, I’m also going to my library today to get a copy of The Pickwick Papers to read. There is no doubt in our mind that pickwick pine paneling was massively popular in American homes after World War II — we will venture to guess it was the #1 most popular pine paneling pattern.
Pine was also a favorite tree of loggers since pine logs can still be processed in a lumber mill a year or more after being cut down. Fast forward to the middle of the 20th century, fast-growing pine remained an easy wood to obtain.
In contrast, most hardwood trees such as cherry, maple, oak, and ash must be cut into 1” thick boards immediately after felling or large cracks will develop in the trunk which can render the wood worthless. It’s a relatively soft wood — so it’s easy for lumber mills, pattern makers and installers to work with.