Page from the 1946 HIMCO Storefront Construction Catalog available through the Building Technology Heritage Library.

The Association for Preservation Technology International has launched the Building Technology Heritage Library with support from NCPTT.  The library provides free access to over one hundred period documents on building construction. APTI has taken the initiative to locate collections and develop cooperative agreements with collection owners to digitize and share materials through the Library contained within the Internet Archive.

The first major collection to be shared is that of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which encompasses more than 4,000 architectural trade catalogs from the early19th century through 1963. Trade catalogs are important primary source materials for anyone interested in documenting the construction materials and processes of older buildings. By digitizing and sharing these rare or out-of-print materials online, APTI is not only helping to preserve the information contained within their pages but also to widely disseminate collections held by only a few parties in a few places. In addition to architectural trade catalogs, initial contributions include a large number of house plan catalogs of great interest to owners of older homes.

Page from a 1912 publication titled, "How to Build a Dairy Barn".

Digitization of materials for the Building Technology Heritage Library is an ongoing effort funded in-part by NCPTT through a cooperative agreement with APTI. The project is staffed by student interns who use a book scanner to produce copyright-free digital texts that can be read online or downloaded in several different formats, including those suitable for wireless reading devices such as the Amazon Kindle. As the Library continues to grow, APTI plans to include  contemporary materials on building conservation. If you or someone you know have technical publications in your personal collection that you would like to see scanned and included in this growing online archive, please contact APTI at

Browse the collection at

For more information about the project, visit

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3 Responses to APT launches online library of historic building trade catalogs

  1. Anonymous says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NCPTT, Will Truax. Will Truax said: RT @ncptt: APT launches online library of historic building trade catalogs […]

  2. Thank you for the lead. Some wonderful stuff there.

  3. Shelley McCafferty says:

    These catalogs are excellent resources for preservationists. I’m very pleased these are downloaded and free to the public. I look forward to the expansion your library.

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