MISSION AND HISTORY OF THE GYPSUM ASSOCIATION
The mission of the Gypsum Association (GA), a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1930, is to promote the use of gypsum while advancing the development, growth, and general welfare of the gypsum industry in the United States and Canada on behalf of its member companies.
Members include all the active gypsum board (panel) manufacturers in the United States and Canada. To be eligible for membership in the Association, a firm or corporation must calcine gypsum and manufacture gypsum board under the provisions of ASTM Standard C 1396.The GA is the technical center for the application, finishing, and overall use of gypsum panel products. In addition to responding to technical inquiries, the Association maintains a library of technical publications, most of which are free to architects, specifiers, builders, contractors and code officials. The code-referenced GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual, now in its 22nd edition, is the GA's flagship publication.
Few associations have a history as long as the Gypsum Association. For more than 80 years, the Association has provided technical, promotional, and statistical information to its members and interested parties.
Gypsum Association History
Late 1920sSeveral constituents of the gypsum industry agree that creating a formal association offers a number of advantages over continuing to operate as Gypsum Industries, an informal research and standard- setting group.
1930The Gypsum Association is formally established.
April 17, 1930
At the first meeting of the Gypsum Association, James Leenhouts is elected as President/Chairman and Henry J. Schweim (pictured) is hired as the “engineer of the Association.”
1930Schweim, now Secretary of the Corporation and Chief Executive Officer, establishes the Association’s first office in Chicago.
1931The Technical Problems Committee requests and receives approval to conduct four fire tests with the National Bureau of Standards.
1933The Association volunteers to participate in the National Industrial Recovery Act by developing the Code of Fair Practice for the Gypsum Industry. To assist with the development of the Code, the Gypsum Association attempts to unite all U.S. gypsum companies under the Association.
1934The Association expands its criteria for membership eligibility.
1935The Pacific Coast division of the Gypsum Association emerges.
1938The Association appoints an Advertising and Promotional Committee.
1940sThe Association works to develop a more fire-resistant gypsum board.
The Association publishes The ABC’s of Plastering, to educate contractors and architects.
1945During the post-war housing boom, the Technical Problems Committee and the Advertising and Promotional Committee seek Underwriters Laboratories labeling for gypsum sheathing and authorize $1,000 for fire testing of gypsum sheathing.
Henry Schweim retires and Lloyd H. Yeager (pictured) fills the vacancy. A decade-long public relations campaign begins that includes production of a series of films, such as Shaping the Future with Gypsum Board, and accompanying literature, including New Gypsum 2-Ply Wallboard.
Research continues as the Technical Problems Committee receives approval to spend $1,000 on the development and fire testing of a system with a 1-hour fire resistance-rating.
1947A 1-hour fire-rated system is achieved.
The Gypsum Association film, White Magic is shown in Paramount and Warner theaters, federal agencies, schools, etc.
1955White Magic airs on television to an estimated audience of over 54 million viewers. The Advertising and Promotional Committee runs a series of articles in newspapers and magazines under the “Add a Room” campaign.
With significant tests and data to share, the Technical Problems Committee recommends producing a complete reference manual on fire resistance to be known as Fire Resistance Design Data Manual.
1961The Association’s Board of Directors votes to incorporate.
December 29, 1961The Gypsum Association files for incorporation. Lloyd H. Yeager becomes the Association’s Executive Vice President
As Lloyd H. Yeager steps down, A. Victor Abnee, Jr. (pictured) takes over as General Manager.
1966In response to demand, 20,000 copies of the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual are distributed to architects and another 1,800 are provided to building officials as part of a Design Data Binder.
1968The Technical Problems Committee recommends including sound, structural, and assembly information, in addition to fire safety-information, in the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual.
By the early 1970s, the use of gypsum board in apartment and office buildings has grown substantially, due in large part to its fire-resistant and sound- attenuation properties.
1973All model building codes reference the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual as a source of fire-resistive designs.
1975The Technical Problems Committee begins work on product standards for gypsum products used in manufactured housing.
The Advertising and Promotional Committee receives approval to spend $5,000 to develop the film, Beauty with Safety, and receives authorization to begin work on a document titled Gypsum Board in Manufactured Housing.
1979The National Institute of Building Sciences releases a manufactured housing study that rates gypsum products favorably.
1980A revised version of Beauty with Safety and the film Time to Live air on cable television.
Victor Abnee retires as Executive Director and Jerry Walker (pictured) is hired as the Association’s new Executive Director. The Association moves from Chicago to Washington, D.C.
1990sThe Gypsum Association develops an educational video and interactive CD-ROM set based on GA-214 Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The Home Upgrade Program, the Grassroots Fire Resistance, and the Sound Reduction Program are initiated.
The first document to effectively instruct wallboard finishers on proper techniques associated with specific levels of finish quality, GA-214 Levels of Gypsum Board Finish, is revised and published in conjunction with a video.
2002The Association initiates funding for a multi-year program to promote the use of gypsum board in both fire-separation walls and as part of roof-underlayment systems.
Michael Gardner, Director, Promotion and Code Services, is promoted to Executive Director.
2004A four-color page insert is placed in numerous architectural trade magazines. The insert receives a favorable rating in a reader’s poll conducted by a leading architectural journal.
2005Gypsum board manufacturers in the United States ship more board than ever before—more than 36 billion square feet.
The Association relocates from downtown Washington, D.C., to the Maryland suburb of Hyattsville.
2012The Association completes a Life-Cycle Assessment Summary of gypsum board; the first of many steps in a process to accurately assess the sustainability of gypsum board.
The Association hires its first Deputy Executive Director, Stephen H. Meima.
2014The Gypsum Association publishes its first Type III, Industry Average Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Type X North American Gypsum Boards.
2014Stephen H. Meima is promoted from Deputy Executive Director to Executive Director of the Gypsum Association.
The 21st edition of GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual is released. For the first time, it is accompanied by an electronic counterpart.
2016After performing a Life-Cycle Assessment of glass mat sheathing, the GA releases Type III, Industry Average EPD for Glass Mat Gypsum Sheathing.
The Gypsum Association rebrands and introduces a new logo. The new design embraces both the traditional and the more contemporary aspects of the Association’s mission and acknowledges the full range of innovative gypsum panel products that Association members offer.
Reflecting the expansion of gypsum panel product offerings, the stack of wallboard depicted in previous iterations of the logo now suggests more: It can be seen either as a series of horizontal boards or as an entire building.
2017The Association moves to Silver Spring, MD.
The 22nd edition of GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual is released. This edition contains an expanded section on acoustics and provides the option of a more robust e-version of the Manual.
2019With the translation of technical documents GA-236-2017, GA-253-2018, and GA-801-2017, the Association expands its library of Spanish and French publications.
In conjunction with the redesign of gypsum.org, the Association releases the educational video, A Guide to GA-600-2018 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual.