USG Corp. is celebrating the centennial anniversary of its Sheetrock brand, developed as the world’s first wallboard panel 100 years ago and available today with modern lightweight technology. Since developing Sheetrock brand gypsum panels 100 years ago, USG has helped revolutionize the way that buildings are created by setting new industry standards for safety and efficiency.

“From the first simple wallboard panel developed 100 years ago to the breadth of high-performing panels available today, USG has led the industry in innovation,” said Jennifer Scanlon, President and CEO of USG Corporation. “We are thrilled to celebrate a century of excellence and product leadership. We are proud that USG’s Sheetrock brand is one of the world’s most recognized brands.”

USG’s Sheetrock brand has made a tremendous impact on the construction industry and is so popular that its portfolio of products are among the most well-known building supplies around the world. Sheetrock brand wallboard has enabled the built environment as we know it today, allowing buildings to be safer and taller. Wallboard is ubiquitous—it is found in buildings of all types across North America, including homes, hospitals, schools, malls and offices. USG continues to manufacture and sell Sheetrock brand wallboard, and today’s products reflect the newest technology, such as improved fire-resistance, lightweight technology, lower water usage and a reduced carbon footprint.

Wallboard was originally created by USG one hundred years ago by putting gypsum plaster between two sheets of paper. This invention provided builders a faster install process, as the long drying time associated with plaster was eliminated. It also dramatically improved building safety since the gypsum panel’s water molecules release as steam instead of catching fire when heated. This natural feature makes gypsum wallboard an inherently fire-resistant and heat-insulating product. It was originally sold as small tiles for fireproofing but within a few years took on the familiar form that is still around today: compressed gypsum between two sheets of paper.

Since its inception, USG has fostered an innovation culture that encourages employees to develop ideas and improvements to address challenges faced by its customers. Researchers at USG’s innovation center in Libertyville, just outside of its Chicago headquarters, work on developing the next generation of building products.

The company has nearly 2,000 active United States and international patents, which is a result of USG’s groundbreaking technologies. These building solutions enable customers to create sustainable, inspirational and inviting living spaces that are a part of houses, schools, office buildings and other structures.

To observe the 100th anniversary, USG is hosting celebrations across North America with its employees, dealers, and customers. Limited quantities of commemorative products celebrating the anniversary will be shared with customers and dealers.

Historical Timeline

USG is proud to have a rich history spanning 115 years. The company’s beginning was closely linked to the early American building industry and USG continues its focus on innovation today.

Early 1900s – Approximately 20 gypsum rock and plaster manufacturing companies merged to consolidate their resources and form the United States Gypsum Company, which ultimately became USG Corporation. The company developed its first building products including an early form of wall panels, made with layers of plaster and paper and Pyrobar, a gypsum-based, fireproof tile.

1916 – USG invented modern wallboard: a single layer of plaster and paper that could be joined flush along a wall with a relatively smooth surface. The first panels were manufactured in Fort Dodge, Iowa, starting in October.

1917 – USG named its wallboard panels “Sheetrock.” The name was suggested as “a strong name for this new product” by a USG sales representative.

1940s – Wallboard such as USG’s Sheetrock brand panels became the industry standard during the post-World War II building boom where builders found that installing wallboard was faster and more cost-effective due to fewer laborers than plaster.

1952 – USG invented Sheetrock® Brand Firecode Panels, composed of fire-resistant gypsum core encased in 100 percent recycled natural-finish face paper.

1960s – USG continued innovating and introduced Sheetrock brand panels with improved water- and fire-resistance.

1998 – USG launched an updated Sheetrock Brand 1/2" Interior Gypsum Ceiling Panel, which better resists sagging when used on ceilings.

2010 – USG unveiled Sheetrock Brand UltraLight Panels, redesigning drywall to be lighter and stronger, while weighing up to 30 percent less than traditional drywall.

Fact: In the average year, USG manufactures enough Sheetrock brand wallboard to reach the moon or circle the equator twelve times.