dreamstime_xxl_24704379Here at Erick’s painting, we’re dealing with paint every day. And while we take it home with us on our hands and clothes, it’s not often that we think about its history and some of the more interesting facts about it. Let’s take some time to investigate some of the more interesting bits of trivia. Interested in any of these paint colors? Here’s the history!

Why Are Barns Painted Red?

Head through any midwestern or northeastern farmland and you’ll drive past many red barns. But why red? Where did this tradition come from?

There are actually many competing theories. Some suggest it was a Pennsylvania Dutch lucky color to ward off evil. Others believe that it was the easiest way to make covered bridges, and subsequently barns, stand out in a snowstorm.

Two more scientific theories suggest that rust (ferrous oxide) was added because it has anti-fungal qualities, which would help prevent mold from growing on the barn boards. This rust would end up turning the paint red. Similarly, it might have been simple cost issue: iron is the most common metal in the universe, and its abundance as rust would make the cheapest paint colorant around!

Why Is Purple Such A Royal Color?

White paint will take on the hue of what you add to it, and most of today’s colors are made from synthetic colors. But when you look at the natural world there aren’t many sources of purple. Thousands of years ago the only way to get a purple dye was from a specific type of mollusk (think underwater snail) that only lived in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea. Because 10,000 mollusks were needed for just one gram of pigment, purple items could only be afforded by the super-rich elite of Persia, Egypt, and Rome.

The association with nobility lasted for centuries and retained its status as a sign of royalty or nobility through the kings and queens of Europe. It wasn’t until a chemist in 1856 discovered a synthetic version of purple (while working on an antimalarial drug, of all things) that purple could be afforded by the masses.

(You might ask yourself why they didn’t just mixed red and blue pigments, which would make purple. We’ve wondered that too, so let us know if you find the answer!)

What Color Is The Golden Gate Bridge?

internalThe Golden Gate Bridge’s color is International Orange (and yes, it’s capitalized). To replicate the color with traditional 4-color CMYK printing techniques, it would be: Cyan: 0%; Magenta: 69%; Yellow: 100%; Black: 6%. It’s true that the bridge is constantly being painted, but not end to end and back as sometimes stated. It has been stripped and been completely repainted as more advanced paints are invented. Its current paint job requires constant touch-ups because of the salt-heavy corrosive air and spray, causing some areas to need more painting than others. Currently 34 professional painters maintain the paint aspects of the bridge.

The color was chosen by the architect because it matches the warm colors of the land and sunsets, and as a color that contrasts the blues of the sky. It’s also a more visible color for passing ships in the thick San Francisco fog.

There you have it: interesting facts about paint that you probably didn’t know. If you’re interested in International Orange for you bedroom (probably not) or want a library painted royal purple (we can do that!) give you local painter a call and we’ll get you the color you’re looking for. Contact us for professional painting today!