Dating the ventilation system

1. Schoolhouse Floor Plan

Table of Contents

Dating the ventilation work

Dating things helps to determine sequences of events and works done, which can help determine if and how things should be restored or removed etc. It provides other insights as well into how people lived and worked.

None of this is authoritative, I'm working it out as I go with a lot of placeholder [temporary] facts and so the following will change constantly as my research continues.

Trademarks used in dating

With flat sheet there is really only one way to date things and that is using the trademarks printed on the sheets. If you're lucky they will include actual dates or batch numbers or even variations in the images etc. These don't, but they do indicate where the sheets were produced.

Research, mostly done by others including Spennermann who have made it available on the web, has established the following:

  • Lysaght started rolling "Queen's Head" sheets in Australia in 1921 - marked with letters [LNWL] (Lysaght Newcastle Works Limited) in the corners of the stamp, no dates. The letters changed later, possibly when Port Kembla opened, to [LWPL] (Lysaght Works Pty Ltd), sheets being dated 1940's onward. There are also Australian sheets marked with [LNLW] (Lysaght Newcastle Limited Works?), dated and not dated (earliest dated sheet seen is 1937), which may have come into effect with the major upgrades at Newcastle that occurred in 1934.
  • Lysaght produced sheets at Port Kembla, Wollongong, NSW, beginning sometime between 1936 and 1939 - marked [LWPL] (Lysaght Works Pty Ltd) with a K under the name LYSAGHT, or possibly, as some have reported seeing, [LWWL] (presumed to be Lysaght Wollongong Works Limited) in the corners of the stamp.
  • The last recorded imports of Lysaght "Queen's Head" sheets was 1924, marked SPECIAL FLAT with letters [JLBL] (John Lysaght Bristol Limited) in the corners of the stamp.

Supposed datings of marks:

  1. [JLBL] - 186? to 1924 (imported)
  2. [LNWL] - 1921 to 1934 (never seen one with a date)
  3. [LNLW] - 1934 to at least 1944 (seen with dates (1936 and 1944) and also without dates (my example))
  4. [LWWL] - I need to find one example.
  5. [LWPL] (with or without [K]) - pre 1937 onward (seen with dates (1937 to 1961) and also without dates)

The marks pictured below were found on the section of horizontal duct joining the two register boxes. This section is made from two sheets, soldered together, each bearing a different mark:

2a. Top of first mark, on the horizontal section.

2b. Bottom of first mark, on the horizontal section.

3. Second mark, on the horizontal section.

4. Third mark, on inside of register box.

5. Fourth mark, on neck of register box.

6. Fifth mark, on "T" piece.

  • First mark: Image 2 - "LYSAGHT QUEEN'S HEAD AUSTRALIA", no dates and only the third letter clearly distiquishable [W] and the fourth identified as [L] more by a process of elimination. It is therefore assumed to be very early [LNWL] (Newcastle) because there is no date and I assume anything marked [LWWL] (guessed by others to be Wollongong) and therefore much later would have the date included also.
  • Second mark: Image 3 - Only the bottom of the mark is seen showing clearly the third letter [B], fourth letter [L] and the words SPECIAL FLAT. It is therefore assumed to be [JLBL] (Bristol - imported)
  • Third mark: Image 4 - "LYSAGHT QUEEN'S HEAD AUSTRALIA", no dates and letters [LNLW] (Lysaght Newcastle Ltd Works). There is an image online of a sheet marked [LNLW] with the date 1937 so must post date sheets marked [LNWL], which date from 1921. There was an upgrade of the Newcastle works in 1934 so I wonder if they changed the letters at that time. When the Port Kembla mill started in 1937 I assume that is when they added [LWWL] and probably changed to [LWPL] after WWII with or without the [K] under LYSAGHT to differentiate the now two mills.
  • Fourth mark: Image 5 - "LYSAGHT QUEEN'S HEAD AUSTRALIA", no dates and letters [LN(W?)L] (Newcastle)
  • Fifth mark: Image 6 - "FLEUR DE LIS AUSTRALIA", no dates. (Newcastle)

Clearly this ventilation was made from whatever was available in the shop or around town.

None of the marks are dated so all the sheets pre date 1937 (not sure about the Fleur De Lis Australia sheet - in 1942 Lysaght introduced sheets with different coatings (namely "terne") to conserve tin and zinc for war munitions and I would not be surprised if FLeur De Lis was dropped around that time, certainly by 1950). Sheets that were terne coated were marked as such and as not suitable for drinking water storage while the zinc coated sheets with less tin used were marked as "WAR FINISH". The fabrication post dates the introduction of sheets marked [LNLW], which may be around 1934 or 1936.

Tracing the fabricator and installer

One other clue is that the "T" piece has the name "BAXTER" written on the inside (image 7). Under that the letter "B" is clearly written preceded by what appears to be half the letter "O", the missing beginning of the word having been cut away to fit the stem of the "T". The complete two line note I would posit is "BAXTER JOB", which is underlined. This would most likely be the name of the fabricator to whom this sheet or the bundle of sheets were supplied. There is only one possibility in the local area.

Baxter Bros are the first of only two entries under Crookwell in Wise's New South Wales Post Office Directory of 1927 Country Directory. The other entry being one of the brother's. Baxter Bros were motor engineers with considerable fabrication facilities in Crookwell. They held dealerships for International Harvesters farm machinery, several makes of motor vehicle, sound equipment sales and repair, and also commissioned the building of Crookwell's Crown Theatre which opened in 1926. These are good credentials for fabricating some ventilation.

As a public school building all work should have been open to tender administered by the [post-1901 Federation] NSW state government. I have yet to find any record or advertisement connected with this work.

Baxter Brothers

According to online records the Baxter Bros business was operating under that name from before 1898 until at least 1941, even though two of the three brothers left the partnership in 1909 and 1911 respectively.

"Baxter" (James. J) was the teacher at the schoolhouse from 1882 to 1900, in residence with his family.

Baxter Bros partnership were the sons of J.J Baxter:

  • Walter Joseph
  • James Sydney
  • Albert Sylvester

Baxter Bros farm was named "Cotta Walla" (described in 1906 as 157 acres of mixed production), and the present day "Cotta Walla" farm, presumed to be the same farm, adjoins the schoolhouse property.

The ventilation fabrication dating is post-1921 to sometime around 1934 at the latest, with a good probability of circa 1934.

7a. Possibly the name of the local fabricator.