The history of roof trusses

Updated April 17, 2017

Wood trusses are triangulated lumber that's been made into frames, joined by galvanised steel connector plates, or truss plates. Once trusses were built on a job site. While the shape of trusses has always been the same, the make-up, spans and safety of trusses has changed.


A. Carroll Sanford invented the modern wood truss in 1952 in Pompano Beach, Florida. While playing around with plywood gusset plates, glue, staples, nails and screws, Sanford stumbled upon idea for the first metal plate-connected wood truss and patented that system.


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, prefabricated roof trusses were introduced. One common brand was Gang-Nail. These trusses used a multi-nail plate connector and companies could quickly and cheaply mass-produce them.

Modern Trusses

Today, roof trusses have a larger span between walls. This allows household rooms to have a more open design. Wood trusses are used in every kind of building, from residential homes to agricultural construction.

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About the Author

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.