Volume 46, Issue 8 - October 2007

Moulding the Future
From the wmmpa
by Kellie A. Schroeder, Executive vice president of the Wood Moulding and Millwork Producers Association. Mrs. Schroeder’s comments are solely her own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

Moulding Vs. Molding
Secondary Manufacturers Seem to Have Invented Their Own Language

If you are in a serious mood, I would stop reading this article right now. The subject matter outlined in the title alone should scare off those who fail to laugh at life or themselves immediately. 

Questions Abound
I am writing this narrative to address those inquiries I receive on an ongoing basis as to the reason behind the two slightly different spellings of the word moulding/molding. I field numerous questions on this topic; incredulous people ringing my phone line who want to know why the WMMPA has misspelled the word moulding in our organization’s name and in our literature. Inquiring minds want to know: is it a marketing trick, tool or catchy word?

Usually, I pretend to be stricken with surprise and then grief when the caller informs me of the spelling mistake. I take a full pregnant pause as I suck air in loudly enough for them to detect it, and then confide in them that someone’s head is going to roll around our office floor because we just printed hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature with the word m-o-u-l-d-i-n-g. And then I gasp, mutter some “oh no’s” to top off the performance and thank them profusely for calling. 

The moulding vs. molding question also has come from my membership, but in another form. One member called to ask why his computer spellchecker kept insisting that “moulding” was not a word and queried whether I had ever delved into its spelling background. I retorted that every sane person knows that moulding is the Old English way of spelling the word and molding is the modern version. However, some feel moulding refers to wood mouldings and molding represents poly moldings. Not satisfied with that answer, I decided I had better research the matter.

What Does the Research Say?
At this point in my quest for knowledge on the subject, I must say that I am convinced that the woodworkers invented their own language. I give to you my one and only reason behind this superfluous statement: the word molder is not classified as a noun that states it is a machine for the manufacture of wood in my dictionary, as my good friends at Weinig Group would have us believe. It is but a verb, and I quote, “to become or cause to become rotten or unsound.” Ew!

As far as hard research goes, I visited several websites addressing American versus Britain spellings (or Old English and, yes, it is called Britain spelling). Not being a wordsmith in my youth per se, I perused the comparison list over only to discover that I should have attended school in Great Britain. We Americans spell s-k-i-l-l-f-u-l, whereas our English counterparts spell s-k-i-l-f-u-l. Fullfil versus fulfil. How many youngsters do you know who would most assuredly win the National Spelling (speling) Bee if only they were enrolled in a London academy for girls and boys? I am outraged. I could have been a Rhodes Scholar!

In order to wrap up my thoroughly scientific data, I e-mailed an acquaintance of mine in London who is a true Brit and works in the wood industry. I explained my predicament of wanting to know why two spellings of the word exist, and he had the most academic reply: “Americans are lazy when it comes to the English language. They have butchered it up for hundreds of years, and there is no real explanation other than they just do not want to take the time to spell the word moulding properly.” And that, my friends, is that. 

The only real answer is both spellings are correct—it just depends on your continent.  

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