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The modern use of Gypsum as a building material was discovered in 1888 when the American Augustine Sackett invented a machine for producing plasterboards (also known as wallboards and dry-walls) composed of several layers of paper with Gypsum in-between.
The word gypsum is derived from the Greek word γύψος (gypsos), "chalk" or "plaster". Because gypsum from the quarries of the Montmartre district of Paris have long furnished burnt gypsum (calcined gypsum) used for various purposes, this dehydrated gypsum became known as plaster of Paris. Upon addition of water, after a few tens of minutes plaster of Paris becomes regular gypsum (dehydrate) again, causing the material to harden or "set" in ways that are useful for casting and construction.