The History of Slate Roofing

Slate Roofing is deeply rooted in both american and welsh culture and history.

Slate Roofing got it’s start in 1283, having been used to roof the eight towers of Conwy Castle it quickly gained popularity among the peerage(nobility). it is possibly due to this popularity that when roofing slate gets cut to size it is given names by the quarrymen, these names include: Queen, Princess, Duchess, Marchioness, Countess, and Viscountess.

As progress marched on so did the size and influence of the welsh slate quarries, By the late 1700′s Welsh slate quarries were exporting over 450,000 tons of slate. Most of this Slate would be used for Slate Roofing or flooring.

Along Came the Industrial Revolution, and with innovation in both slate roofing tile transportation and slate mining, suddenly slate roofing became much more affordable, this influx of affordable slate roofing stones meant Across Britain millions of Victorian and Edwardian houses received slate roofing from the slate quarries in North Wales.

Across the Pond in the USA the first solid record of slate roofing being introduced is in 1654 in boston, although in jamestown virginia archeological excavations have discovered roofing slate in strata dating as far back as 1625.

During America’s colonial period nearly all examples of slate roofing appears to have been imported from the slate quarries of north wales. the First American Roofing Slate Quarry was opened in Peach Bottom Township, Pennsylvania.

Seventeenth Century Building Ordinances in both New York and Boston Massachusetts recommended using Slate Roofing or Tile Roofing to Help Prevent Fire Damage. Because of Roofing Slate’s Legendary Fire Resistance this makes very good sense.

When the Roofing Slate Quarries of Vermont Opened up in the mid 1840s the biggest obstacle to getting quality roofing slate to the rest of the united states was transportation. it wasn’t until 1950 that the Rutland and Washington Railroad, which had started in 1845, extended its lines to Poultney, VT. This extension of the railroad to the primary roofing slate producing area in the us allowed for slate roofing to become prevalent across the united states.

Much of the roofing slate that originally traveled along that railroad still adorns houses across america to this day, a testament to the durability and dependability of Stone.