MATSE 81
Materials in Today's World

'Plaster of Paris'

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Originally, the term ‘plaster of Paris’ was coined in the 1700s to describe plaster produced from gypsum located outside of Paris. Over time, the term ‘plaster of Paris’ has become the generic term for gypsum-based plaster. Many ancient Egyptian tomb paintings are created on plaster. It is produced in a way that is similar to lime mortar, except gypsum is used in place of lime and much lower temperatures are needed. The resulting plaster is not as hard as lime mortar. Plaster vessels dating from 6000 BCE have been found from ancient Egypt.

John Cranch's artwork of a plasterer
Early 19th Century plasterer at work.
Credit: Original artwork by John Cranch (1751-1821), image is Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons