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Blueprint Numbers?

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Joined: Jun 11 2003

Hi,
I just bought an Eichler in Palo Alto on California Ave. In the blueprint section of this site, it mentions a model # to order. How do I find out the model # of my house? Do all Eichlers have a model #? Is there any way in general to find the building plans for a specific house so that I can find out specifics. I am particularly interested (and so is my homeowner insurance agent!) to know if the radiant heat (and the rest of the plumbing) in mine is copper or galvanized.
Thanks for any help!

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Hi,

we traded messages on the tear-down thread. I live south on Greer about a mile from you. Your house is an evolution of the Jones and Emmons design typified by these two plans, the first from 1955 (nearest example is over at Channing and Newell) and the second from 1956 (this example is a 3 bedroom shown in the San Mateo Highlands brochure, identical models at Channing and St. Francis and Edgewood):

http://www.eichlerarchives.com/home.html

click on "Channing Park"

and

http://www.totheweb.com/eichler/brochures/lexington/images2/plans_SM100_...

see SM 223.

The basic layout, with Living or Living/Dining at the rear, galley kitchen in front of that, and Multi-Purpose room in front of the kitchen sandwiching an open air entry court with the narrow and deep bedroom wing, and garage in front partly secluding the entry court, was a long lasting and much tinkered-with scheme for Eichler and Jones&Emmons. The first example I can think of is in Greenmeadow circa 1954 (see a version with an open patio in front of the kitchen where the MP room later was placed in the Greenmeadow brochure on the Eichler Archives site).

Alas, to answer your question about blueprints, none are available for Jones&Emmons designs. Word is that Jones' widow does not want to release any Eichler plans from the office archive. To your question about copper versus steel radiant pipes, the best way to tell is to look at the pipes going between your boiler and the slab, and at the valve network that is (likely) in the hall coat closet. Sometimes the pipes at the valve network were painted black, but you can scratch through and see what color the base metal is. If your house was built in late 1957 or 1958, as your neighbor (across the empty lot where the tear-down was) says hers is, then it should be copper.

Let us know what you find and if you have any other questions, best regards.

/te

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Sorry, forgot to answer your other questions.

1. Domestic water supply pipes in Eichlers are copper, certainly from 1955 on in my experience and most definitely in your era, which is the same as mine, ~1957. Further evidence is found on the Eichler Archives site with the archival materials published by Eichler on materials, etc. Blueprints would not likely proove anything about the pipe materials, so tests can be done if you are in doubt, but Eichler definitely used copper for domestic water supply. The only reason he didn't use copper for radiant was the Korean war copper shortage and lasting restrictions from same, which hurt his company hugely when they used a supplier for galvanized steel who shipped large quantities of defective pipe. It took years for the problem to surface, but once it did, it resulted in an expensive class action lawsuit and a lot of bad PR. As soon as the problem surfaced and the PR got bad, and copper was definitely more available by this time (mid-1957), Eichler homes switched radiant piping back to copper for the rest of the company's history.

2. Eichler used a lot of model/plan number systems it seems, some involving letters representing the town where built or first built, others (like Greenmeadow I) using the architects initials, eg JE-XXXX. Look for a plywood board nailed up high near the front of your garage, usually to the outside bare stud-wall. Often these are long gone, but they seem to have included lot number, plan number, and tract info as the house was being built. As I say above, I am certain that you have a Jones&Emmons plan and the blueprints for that firms Eichler work are not currently available.

/te

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