The Mansard roof was invented to enable the builder to pack another almost full floor into the heights permitted by the ordinance instead of a much narrower limited attic. Though the planner, Baron Hausman, under Napoleon III in the 1860s, wanted the apartment buildings along the boulevards of Paris to be of uniform height, the Mansard roof allowed the developers an extra floor above the eave line.

We have a number of good examples of Mansard roofs in Evanston. The best are in the grey stone building at the north east corner of Chicago and Grove and at the old Marshall Field building at the north west corner of Sherman and Church.

The tendency to name something after its creator, discoverer or inventor is common. This is not so, however in the construction industry. For example the cardigan and the mackintosh are all named after people. In science, remember Volt, Watt, Ampere, Farenheit or Celsius. Or the tasty and enjoyable sandwich, was named after a person: John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, English diplomat around 1792.

Sometimes the need to abbreviate is the motivating force behind the new name. “Motion picture” becomes the movie. “Metropolitan” becomes metro. A similar process lies behind using the name of the manufacturer for such products as “Formica” for the plastic laminate, or “Kleenex” for the paper tissue.

Names and their origins are fascinating. Their meanings are not obvious sometimes, and often require digging, but never without consequence. Take “round table” for instance, it implies – against square or oblong table that there are no separating corners, that everyone around it is free to move and has an equal voice. And that exactly is the spirit of the Evanston RoundTable.