Between 1941 and 1945, the U.S. military mass-produced more than 150,000 distinctive metal structures patterned after the Nissen huts developed by the British military 25 years and one world war earlier. Because the British hut’s designer held a number of international patents, the American version was quickly renamed the Quonset hut, for the manufacturing plant near the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point, R.I., where the first units were produced.

The Quonset hut’s arched steel ribs were assembled from two deformed sections of steel channel tack-welded back to back, creating a serpentine nailing groove that would accept conventional fasteners for both the outer steel cladding and the interior finish of battened 3/16-inch hardboard.

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