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George Barnett Johnston

American indexed catalog of building components and manufacturers published annually since 1906. This multi-volume series, which organizes building product information, details, and specifications, is a standard reference for architecture, engineering, and construction industry professionals. It was launched as “Sweet’s” Indexed Catalogue of Building Construction in 1906 by Clinton W. Sweet, founder and editor of the journal Architectural Record, in response to an industry need for a more systematic and scientific approach to the organization of building product data.

During the 19th century local and craft-based building traditions in the United States were gradually displaced by the rise of industrial production and the establishment of integrated transportation and distribution networks. The concomitant formation of a national market in building products, combined with new printing and marketing techniques, yielded an onslaught of manufacturers’ advertising brochures and catalogs inundating architects’ offices. By the early 20th century, this widely recognized “catalog problem” overwhelmed architects’ libraries and stymied the increasingly complex task of selecting and specifying building products. ...

Article

Jan Jennings

(b Decatur, GA, Nov 18, 1885; d Decatur, GA, Nov 13, 1967).

American architect. Georgia’s first registered female architecture, Wilburn designed single-family houses, two-family houses and apartments in the plan book tradition. Wilburn and Emily Elizabeth Holman were the only early 20th century female architects whose published plan books have been documented. A plan book was a catalog of building designs; each design, or stock plan, was represented on a single page with an exterior perspective line drawing or exterior photograph, a descriptive paragraph and a floor plan. Home builders who chose a plan and paid a fee received construction drawings in the mail. Wilburn produced at least ten plan books. As Atlanta grew, Wilburn’s houses defined whole suburbs, a sphere of influence that can be measured on the landscape with thousands of buildings from Atlanta’s center in 1910 outward to districts built in 1965, and encompassing small towns in the region.

A drafting apprenticeship from 1906 to 1907 with the Atlanta architectural firm, B. R. Padgett and Son who designed “fine residences” influenced Wilburn’s choice of domestic architecture as a specialty. In ...