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Painting Barns Red

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The number one obvious answer is that red paint was the cheapest to make. On a farm things get dirty very easily and a dark burnt-orange/burgundy color looks clean longer.

Now it still seems possible that someone might want a different color besides red, but there is more to make red a dominant trait. These paints were made on the premises with the little the farmers had. The recipe for the sealant is skim milk, linseed oil, and lime. This was common knowledge among barn painters, but fungus, moss, and mold were big problems that had to be dealt with. Ferrous oxide is the ingredient used to combat these wood eroding growths. Where did they get such a chemical? Rust chips.


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