Early in 2014, the NSA met in Florida to discuss and define who we are and what we stand for. The last time this happened was in 2002, in Saratoga, New York. Before that, in Bomoseen, Vermont, 1922.
Like all the best ideas, the answer was ultimately very simple: to promote slate in North America, and to promote the highest standards of materials and installation.
This Purpose Statement was achieved after much discussion, a dialectic that reflected a deep respect for the tradition and history of slate, while looking to ignite a new fervor for a national heritage that has value and relevance to the future.
The artisanal skills of quarrying and working slate were originally brought to North America by the Welsh. Techniques were developed and improved by successive waves of immigrants from all over Europe, until it grew into an American tradition. Numerous colors and styles of slate roofing, indigenous to North America alone, expanded the possibilities of design, and the early years of the twentieth century were boom years, unmatched before or since.
The maintenance and replacement of this architectural legacy is a substantial part of the slate industry, but slate is also a material of the future. Proof against fire, hail, wind and extreme weather make it the first choice for any serious architectural project. Buildings designed for extended lifespans must of necessity choose slate, the most time-tested and economical roof. Above all, slate is unmatched as an aesthetic choice. Cascading graduated roofs, and the intrigue of weathering greens and variegated roofs are unique concepts that defy imitation. Slate has done its time. It is a proven material.
The National Slate Association is the place where Quarriers, Suppliers, Consultants and Slaters meet. Technical information is shared, and business connections are made. Camaraderie is found as we celebrate our achievements, but most important of all it is our opportunity to give back to the industry. It is our efforts in this industry that have enabled us to make livings and raise families. Now is our chance to tend to the industry; to ensure it is vibrant and strong for our successors to enjoy; to ensure that standards are kept and raised, that the trade we love is held high and respected in North America.