In items left by original owner we found this color selection chart. our home is a Gordon Van Tine catalog house but we feel that the color palette is probably typical for many houses built in the 1920's. I have the original and have scanned the images at 600dpi if you want a better quality image to go by. My hope is to compare this to Benjamin Moores historic color selections and see if I can cross reference.

See the images at

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What a great find. Thanks for sharing. Our 1920's Prarie Box was wallpaperd head to toe, so we don't have much notion as to the original palate. This helps a lot.
Wallpaper was an easy fix we have spent hours removing wallpaper from our house. I am glad this was helpful. My daughter is an art major and has promised to help me work out a cross reference with Benjamin Moore paints during her thanksgiving break. N
As promised here is the cross reference for the Gordon Van Tine color chart with Benjamin Moore's Historic paint pallet. Note not all of the colors match a historical color so in some cases we used our best estimate or substituted a color from another Benjamin Moore grouping.

Sanitary Kalsomine
Brown = HC-50
Cream = HC-33
Pale Blue = HC-146
Pink = 2172-60
Lettuce Green = HC-127
White = Int Rm
Terra Cotta = HC-62 or 2173-40
French Gray = HC-110
Ivory = HC-9


Brown = HC-71
Nile Green = HC-116
Olive Gray = HC-127
Silver Gray = HC-117
Pea Green = HC-118
Tan = HC-7
Light Blue = HC-143
Shell Pink = 2173-50
Colonial Yellow = HC-9
Light Bluff = HC-8

Hope this is helpful. In repainting a room in our house the design guide called for a pea green and at the time I had not found the color chart. Picked a close color but wish I had this to pick a different shade of green. Nick

Thanks to my Daughter for her help check out her pottery at
Yes, thanks to you both for the work and trhe sharing.
What do you and your daughter know about colors fading on the chart?
I know very little about the composition of 1920's colors, but the ones from the 1700's have faded so much that we used to think those people liked dull, gentle colors. Then with the research that has been done, we found that the colors used in 1750, for example, are garish by today's standards.
I volunteer at a museum which has boxes and boxes of Victorian, and later (1860-1930), clothing worn by the family - lots of the colors have faded - you can only see the original colors on the inside seams. It's due to sunshine, cleaning, and dyes. Of course, paint pigment is different from clothing dye. Still I wondered what you have found.
I really appreciate the question and agree that you have to always keep fading in mind when you evaluate historic colors. Another aspect to remember is that color print technology was not as advanced as it is today so the color cards may not have been as accurate as we have become accustom to today. I found the color chart in an envelope, that was in another envelope, which was in a box, stored in a window seat. I think it was in pretty pristine condition.

My research of paint colors from the 1890 - 1920 have made me realize that often conservative colors on the outside of a house, except for victorian house that seem to be vibrant on the outside, tended to have vibrant colors on the inside in public places. Bedrooms, kitchens, and upstairs living areas, which were considered private or family areas, were often very pastel in color. I have even seen advertising with doctors claims that pastel and soft tones are good for your health and nerves. Todays research backs up that color does effect mood.

Thanks for the reply and for giving me the opportunity to think and share.

You are lucky to have such a great resource -- However if you have the original chart (and if you can determine that it has not faded) you would be better off having a paint store custom mix a color to match rather than going with close "matches" from a standard set of colors, especially since what a lot of paint companies call historic colors are what they think their customers will consider historic and what will sell and not based on research. Some local and state historic societies do have period historic paint charts in their collection and that might be one way to check on the condition of your chart as well as to see what other colors were available during that time.

Sorry for the delay in my reply we have been traveling, I had not thought about color matching and that is a great idea!  Since I have the original document it is easy for me to take it to get color matched but my thought in providing the conversion to Benjamin Moore was to help others since they may not have access to the color chart for color matching. I may try and find a paint store with color matching and see if they could give me the combination so I could share that....   Interesting idea will be interesting to see if a paint store would match the color and share the mix instructions.

I'm sorry to tell you that this brochure is practically useless to find the exact historic colors.  Matching paint colors to print colors is never accurate.  Paint pigments vs printing's CMYK are totally different color systems.  In fact it is almost impossible to match paint colors brand to brand because they don't have the same base colors.  Forget that computer matching, it is totally bogus.  I speak from 30 years experience.  It is like when you try to print a picture from your computer screen on you printer.  Close maybe but no cigar.

Just look at the colors for stain.  Stain will never look like that.  Same goes for the other colors really.  Best bet, if you like a color is to find a similar looking color that is not too bright because it will get out of hand if it is.  You want a softer, muddier version of the color to make it behave on the walls.  Also with most paint will be different from the color printed on the chip depending on the brand.  Your use of Benjamin Moore is good as their printed colors are maybe the most accurate especially on the 4x6 samples.

The stain colors for floors is great. I was trying to figure out what color my 1907 heart of pine floors might have been. They were painted when I bought house. There are  also old color charts for Benjamin Moore, Devoe, Sherman Williams,etc on line. Actually all the major brands we now today,were around early 1900. 1st stain chart I've seen. Designer308

... yet most people paint their historic homes white ...

    Yeah.  I was really surprised when the alum, siding came off and there was all this white paint.  But not for much longer.  Charleston, SC robin's egg blue here we come.


My house is a 1907 folk Victorian. I wanted to paint historic colors for that time period. The house is a 1&1/2 story. Roof slopes towards you,then a flat porch roof. There are 2 sets of bay Windows with an inverted bay entry between. Entry has a lot of detail as well as door. My painter said using a deep main house color would not let all the details pop out,like ones with peaked or more open roof lines. Porch & huge live Oak didn't let enough light in. I did try different color combos. The one that seemed to work best for this house is a white(with a slight pink under tone. You would say it is white if you saw it. All the accent colors are a deep purple(porch ceiling,door ) a fern green on porch facial &floor. Windows trimmed in purple,green & pale blue. Eves purple & blue,under roof line. Doorway panels mauve trimmed in purple. Support length of porch mauve,under floor. Red brick stairs with fern green tops. Roof material is silver stamped roof shingles,original.. I'm trying to figure another color to add maybe a coral. My point to all this is that white isn't necessarily a bad thing. Its what you do with it that counts! Did I mention I hate white walls,houses etc? In this case it was the right thing to do. Also my neighbors house is Aqua. Didn't want to clash! Also all the other houses are what I call, wanta be,blue,green,gray etc. Pale &washed out. I wanted to stand out,not stick out.


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