History of Caulkers
The Phoenicians were among the great seafaring peoples of the ancient world. Mentioned in scripture dating from 1467 B.C.E. their ships were very seaworthy for their size. They were high both at the bow and at the stern, of wide beam, and could be powered by both sails and oars.
Among the special skills of the Phoenicians was their ability to voyage mighty ships to faraway places. The “caulkers for your seams,” mentioned in ancient text, kept them afloat although they shared none of the glamour or impact of other artisans specialized in ship building, metalworking, casting, hammering, and engraving objects of gold and silver. They were in the shadows of those skilled in carving wood and ivory, fashioning glassware, weaving wool and linen, and dyeing cloth.
The city of Tyre was a principal Phoenician seaport. The Tyrians skilled in the sealing and caulking of their mighty ships would find ample work and be paid with wheat, barley, oil, andwine. At present, in the 21st century no such wage will do. Today the skill artisans of sealant application can easily earn as much as $75,000.00 per year. Of course, their knowledge of sealants and their applications far exceed their Phoenician counter part. Nevertheless, to their praise, in the seventh century B.C.E., Phoenician vessels kept afloat by skilled ship builders and caulkers were still sailing to Tarshish, importing silver, iron, tin, lead, and other precious things including gold from Ophir.
What is the conclusion we should reach by all this history and heritage?
Namely this, that the importance of good seals is as important to us today, in the 21st century, as it was to the ancient world. Sealing is a minor item when the cost of a building is considered. It has none of the glamour or impact of structural concrete, structural steel, heating, air conditioning, design, solar loads, and many of the other considerations that go into a building’s design and construction. Thus, the importance of caulking and sealants is often overlooked, and the subject rarely appears in the curricula of architectural and engineering schools.
The cost of obtaining the proper sealant, properly installed by a qualified caulking contractor, in a well-designed joint is a good investment, and one that pays for itself very quickly.