Tinplate iron, commonly called "tin roofing," was used
extensively in Canada in the 18th century, but it was not as common
in the United States until later. Thomas Jefferson was an early
advocate of tin roofing, and he installed a standingseam tin roof
on "Monticello" (ca. 1770-1802). The Arch
Street Meetinghouse (1804) in Philadelphia had tin shingles
laid in a herringbone pattern on a "piazza" roof.
However, once rolling mills were established in this country,
the low cost, light weight, and low maintenance of tin plate made
it the most common roofing material. Embossed tin shingles,
whose surfaces created interesting patterns, were popular throughout
the country in the late 19th century. Tin roofs were kept well
painted, usually red; or, as the architect A. J. Davis suggested,
in a color to imitate the green patina of copper.