Australian contributions to the Building Technology Heritage Library

The start of 2019 marked the beginning of a project to add new Australian, European and American documents to the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) supported by the APT Australasia Chapter. These documents come from the collection of Professor Miles Lewis, retired professor of architectural history from the University of Melbourne, and well-known to many of our members here in Australia.

Lewis’s passion for vernacular and urban architecture finds tangible form in his personal library of more than 2,500 documents, which includes many early European documents on building technology and construction. He is also an avid collector of architectural trade catalogues, a principal component of the BTHL. Architectural concrete and prefabricated buildings are but two topics that will be enriched by his contribution.

Professor Miles Lewis and scanning technician Meher Bahl at his office in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Miles Lewis and APT Australasia Chapter Convenor Dr Donald Ellsmore were successful in getting a grant from the Vera Moore Foundation to permit the digitisation project, which will be completed by mid-2019. Additional technical support for the digitisation was provided by the University Digitisation Centre at the University of Melbourne.

In the course of this project, the BTHL went beyond the 10,000 item mark, as described in this article from Traditional Building.

Below are samples of documents from Lewis’s collection now incorporated in the BTHL.

Advertisement for Wrought-Iron Hinges, c. 1810. Jas. Thornton & Son, Birmingham, England.

This early nineteenth-century advertisement for wrought-iron hinges is from a company in Birmingham, in the heartland of the English iron and steel industries.

Ceilings for Every Room in the Home,
1919. Wunderlich Ltd., Sydney, Australia.

The Wunderlich Company was a major building-products manufacturer in Australia. This is one of three catalogues of metal ceilings scanned during the current project.

Agco SupaLuvres in Extruded Aluminum with P.V.C. Weatherseals, 1950s. A. F. Agnew & Co. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, Australia.

This is one of the newest catalogues from the Lewis Collection, featuring jalousie, or louvred, windows.

APT is extremely grateful to Professor Miles Lewis for his contribution to the Building Technology Heritage Library.

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