Brooklyn interior demolition company finds horsehair but no head
Have you ever found animal hair stuck to the walls of your house?
Horsehair was stuck on the walls of an old house in Brooklyn, where, years ago, I was hired to give an interior demolition estimate.
Back in the early 18th century until the mid 20th century, animal hair was often used to help bind plaster mixtures that covered interior walls. Lime plaster was made of lime, aggregate, fiber and water. Animal hair provided the fiber, as well as a cohesive power that other materials simply couldn’t live up to.
For every ton of plaster, 8 pounds — yes, 8 pounds!!! — of animal hair were added to the mixture. Walls were covered using lath and plaster techniques, where horizontal strips of wood were nailed to a vertical upright wooden framework. Three layers of a lime putty mixture, which included the animal hair, would be applied to the walls.
Goat hair was considered the best type of animal hair to use because it was super fine and would leave the best finish on the walls.
When plaster is smushed through the openings of lath rows, it creates stiff glops that ooze out and create what are called “keys.” The keys hold the plaster to the wall. If you look carefully at the photo above, you can see the lime stains on the wood lath where there were glops of plaster coming through and keys were formed.
As a garbage guru, I’ve grown accustomed to encountering some weird stuff on the job, but this animal hair is by far the most unusual item I have added to my collection!
Check out these cool uses for horse hair: