A Letter of Recommendation
October 22, 1947
Trenton, New Jersey
I am one of 56 men who constructed and then lived in the Byrd Expedition buildings (at Little America, Antarctica, for over a year in 1934-35) which were assembled from Homasote lined sections left over from the establishment of the first Little America in 1929. These sections were already the veterans of five years' storage in damp New Zealand warehouses, but were still so strong and easy to saw, fit, and assemble that we were considerably surprised. But when we had dug down to the old camp and found also that the Homasote in the original buildings was in perfect condition after one year of soaking in melted snow (1929-30) and five years under the terrific pressure of 20 feet of ice, we were completely sold. When other wallboards would have pulped, cracked or dissolved, Homasote remained firm and trustworthy insulation against blizzards and temperatures of minus 75!
I am not in the habit of using my few leisure hours to throw bouquets, I have too much to do, but I feel that merit deserves reward, so here goes - believe it or not, the above remarks are paled into obscurity by my present opinion of your fine product. When, as a technical observer, on the recently concluded Navy "Operation Highjump," I was one of the few who were privileged to dig down 12 feet to our old home 10 miles from the newest camp site. I found the 18-year old Homasote in the walls and ceilings of the "Mess Hall" and "Science Lab" ( the only buildings we could reach) absolutely unharmed by time, water, cold. Hundreds of tons of ice had forced up the wood floors and pushed down the ceilings until they met in the center of the rooms, and puddles of ice everywhere evidenced the repeated freezing and thawing of the many seasons, but the walls were straight, unbuckled and scarcely stained.
Later, when our Expedition was leaving for its return to the States (February, 1947) and I had occasion to make one last run to the old camp to mark the entrances against the future, I hacked out a piece of the mess hall wall to send to you for analysis. I am mailing it to you for whatever purpose you may wish to use it, and if you ever want to convince some doubting customer of yours, just lead me to him. At least I can assure you that when at last I build the home I've been planning throughout several years of roaming the world, the insulation will emphatically be Homasote.
Amory H. Waite, Jr.
BAE II 1934-35 and 1946-47
P.S. I forgot one item. When I was carrying your specimen up the rope ladder from the whaleboat to the ship, it fell out of my pack and drifted away to sea. To my amazement its generation-old waterproofing qualities were still intact for it kept floating! Another boat speared it with a boat hook an hour later and returned it to me, punctured, but still definitely usable wallboard. The hole, therefore, is a badge of honor rather than a defect.