The first document on the Test Wall was written by the NBS (National Bureau of Standards) team that was in charge of the design and building of the wall, Daniel W. Kessler and R. E. Anderson: Stone Exposure Test Wall, Building Materials and Structures Report 125, Sept. 1951. They kept specimens taken during the cutting of the rectangular pieces of stone that compose the faces of the wall and organized other documentation in files. During the 1960s the specimen stones were rearranged and sorted in cloth bags and boxes.

The present documentation of the Test Stone Wall is based on building a modular database that allows the insertion of new types of information as they become available. In the first stage of the project, three fundamental components of the database were developed:

  1. Descriptions and numbering of all the stones in the Test Wall as were described with building of the Test Wall. This includes the original introduction and explanation of the features of the wall as described by D.W. Kessler and R.E. Anderson in their report from 1951.
  2. Imaging the wall from different angles and taking close ups of each single stone on the wall.
  3. Re-sorting and imaging the archive specimens. Three kinds of specimens can be seen in the following pictures.

Archive Collection of stones

Collection.jpg (88710 bytes)


Rectangular Block Specimens

Random Shaped Chips

Cylindrical Specimens

blocks.jpg (99834 bytes)

chips.jpg (141717 bytes)

Cilinders.jpg (73847 bytes)








Imaging the wall

Images of the wall were made in May 2000. The front face images were taken of groups of six stones, then processed and cut to images of individual stones.
The pictures of the back face and the side faces were taken more irregularly because the diverse size of the stones did not allow a more systematic procedure. 


Front face, row 7 - Right side

Front face, row 9 - Center

Back face - Left side

Row7Right.jpg (117933 bytes)

Row9Center.jpg (156667 bytes)

BackLeftSide.jpg (155645 bytes)










References on the Stone Test Wall Collection:

G.W. Hawes, "The Building Stones of the United States and Statistics of the Quarry Industry," in Report of the 10th Census of the United States, Vol. 10, 1880, 399 pp.

G.P. Merrill, "The Collection of Building and Ornamental Stones in the U.S. National Museum: A Handbook and Catalogue," Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, Part II, 1889 481 pp.

D.W. Kessler and R.E. Anderson, "Stone Exposure Test Wall," Building Materials and Structures Report 125, 1951, National Bureau of Standards.

P.E. Stutzman and J.R. Clifton, "Stone Exposure Test Wall at NIST," in Proceedings of Degradation of Natural Stone, J.F. Labuz, ed., American Society of Civil Engineers Annual meeting, Minneapolis, MN, 1997.


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