Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

July, 2003

Word War II Paint Specifications

Q. I was wondering if you knew, or know where to find, information regarding paint specifications used by the military during World War II? Thanks.

A. Most of the specs have long been discontinued but to the best of my knowledge they were listed under Federal Standards, e.g., "Fed Std TT-P-636, Primer". I don't know that Mil-specs as we now know them existed back then.

You can still purchase the Federal Standards, but I doubt that you will able to find the discontinued ones.

The Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH might have some of the older specs. I have been to their refinishing paint facility at Wright Patterson AFB, and it is possible that they might have something for you. The Army might also have a museum similar to that of the Air Force, and the paint shop that does their historical refurb might also have what you are looking for. Unfortunately, I don't have any contacts for you.

The Army does have a coatings lab at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and it is possible that they still have the original specs in their archives. You might write to John Escarcega at who heads that lab.

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