Nightingale floor: building a squeaky floor – on purpose

March 19, 2012 in Wood Products - #trusjoist

Weyerhaeuser and Trus Joist have a history of creating silent floors, but have you ever heard of purposely creating a squeaky floor?

“Nightingale” floors were a type of flooring system designed to make a chirping sound when walked upon. The most famous example lies within Nijō Castle. Built in the 17th century, Nijō Castle is a large fortification in the old Japanese capital, Kyoto.

Dry boards naturally creak under pressure, but these floors were designed so that the flooring nails rubbed against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises. In the photo above, supplied by photographer Oliver Sharpe, you can clearly see the type of fastener used to create this unique sound.

But the answer remains, why would you ever design such a thing? The squeaking floors were used as a security device, assuring that none could sneak through the corridors undetected. According to myth, these floors were developed as a means of defense against ninjas. Ninjas!

When a ninja (or anyone else) places their weight upon a floor board, the surface lowers slightly, causing flooring nails to rub against a jacket or clamp, producing an audible creak, vaguely reminiscent of the songbird’s chirping. This unexpected sound would alert any guards and force the Ninja to flee. Many were installed in the corridors of the rich and cautious while others were installed to safeguard treasures in temples.

Explore your inner ninja and take a walk around Nijo Castle in the YouTube clip below: