Dome Construction of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh
Transcribed Text of Historic Correspondence

By Glenn A. Walsh

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History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh:
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Electronic Mail: dome3@planetarium.cc

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Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Transcribed Text of Particular Pages of the
Correspondence of Frank T. Bretherton to
Rafael Guastavino, Founder of the R. Guastavino Company

The following are transcribed text of particular pages from the historic correspondence sent during the construction of the outer dome of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh, during October and November of 1938. The transcribed text, which follows, comes from the carbon copies of the original correspondence which are difficult to read from the scanned jpeg images on the Historic Correspondence web page.

Correspondence of November 10, 1938, page 3[Letter 11, rear of sheet #2]

" Yours Truly
F.T.B. "


Correspondence of November 19, 1938, page 1[Letter 16, sheet #1]

" R. Guastavino Co ************************** Buhl Planetarium
New York N.Y. ******************************* Pittsburgh Pa 11/19/38
Att'Mr Guastavino

Dear Sir:

I have your letter of yesterday(Friday)
may I say in regard to the cost of setting the
rods, you will not find it in our payrolls
as they were set by The Ironworkers now
working on the job. I engaged them through
the Trimble Company and we will be
billed for this work through them. I have
of course a contractors slip for the
time they worked which I had to sign
each day I have therefore the total time
they put in. I based my price on the
amount they are paid which is $1.50
per hour, their total time was 46 hours
at this rate you will readily see that a
total of 2,300 leniel feet of rod would
cost 3 cents per foot; I dont believe that
Trimble will charge any more than that
which they are paid. here-to-fore they have
been exceptionally fair with us.

The Photographer will be on the job
monday morning. I posponed it untill
then because the new work in the
post holes looks like patch-work "


Correspondence of November 19, 1938, page 2[Letter 16, sheet #2(front)]

" R.G. Co ********** Sheet #2 **********Buhl Planetarium
****************************************Pittsburgh Pa 11/19/38
and I dont think they would look so good
in the picture. I figured by leaving it
untill monday it would have a chance
to dry out sufficient, that the whole
dome would [likeliast ?] look alike, however
it has rained continually for the past
24 hours and no sign of it being fair
This of course will delay those spots from
drying, and I may have to take the pictures
regardless. to illustrate what I mean I am
enclosing one of my small snap shots. You
may wonder why they are black looking
This is because they are filled with the tile
we had at Knox Strauss+Bragdin's yard
+ they where made by Whitacie Greer Co
and are almost white. I had the masons
smeer them over with cement after filling
the holes in order that they may dry out
more nearly the color of the rest of the work
as I figured this dome would be exposed
for a long time yet, and it wouldn't
give a very good appearance from the
street below.

The cement hanging below the soffit
of the dome is cleaned off as far as we have ** over "


Correspondence of November 19, 1938, page 3[Letter 16, rear of sheet #2]

" stripped the loose Field centers which is a
little more than half way up from the
bottom, the remainder will be done
on Monday after Final stripping.
Very Truly Yours
FT Bretherton "


Other Images of Construction of Buhl Planetarium's Dome

Other Photographs of The Buhl Planetarium Construction Project(1937-1939)

Other Photographs of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector

More Information Regarding the Theater of the Stars,
The Planetarium Theater of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science

Cross-section of Buhl Planetarium Building
Showing Distance Between Outer Dome and Inner Dome

Other Architectural Plans of Buhl Planetarium Building

History of the Lower North Side of Pittsburgh
Including Buhl Planetarium and Carnegie Library


Return to Historic Correspondence Web Page

Return to Dome Construction Cover Web Page

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh


Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh
Including the oldest operable, major planetarium projector in the world !

History of the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago
America's First Major Planetarium !

History of Astronomer, Educator, and Optician John A. Brashear
Friend of Andrew Carnegie

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

History of The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh
Historic Cable Car Railway Serving Commuters and Tourists since 1877 !

Antique Telescope Society
And, information regarding the Society's September, 2001 Convention in Pittsburgh.

Other History Links



Disclaimer Statement: This Internet web page is not affiliated with the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, or The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all web pages in this web site are Copyright 2001, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Additions and corrections to: dome3@planetarium.cc