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THE WORK here respectfully submitted to the Public will be found to comprehend the PRESENT PRACTICE OF THE ART of Building, reduced to PURELY SCIENTIFIC and GEOMETRICAL PRINCIPLES, and yet explained in a manner so simple, as to be easily intelligible to any attentive Reader. To facilitate this important object, the Author has commenced with a short Treatise on GEOMETRY, theoretical and practical, peculiarly adapted to the general object of the Work, and containing such theorems and problems only as are absolutely necessary to be understood by every person connected with the leading departments of the art.
And here the writer cannot refrain from adding a few words, with a view to impress upon the minds of WORKMEN engaged in the construction of buildings, whether CARPENTER, JOINER, MASON, or BRICKLAYER, the PARAMOUNT and UNSPEAKABLE IMPORTANCE of obtaining some knowledge of the PRINCIPLES of GEOMETRY; since, of all the numerous classes, concerned in mechanical arts, THEY require the most intimate acquaintance with this science.
The execution of the design of the architect is generally left to the skill of the workman; who is, of course, presumed to be fully competent to the performance of the task which he undertakes. Now, if he be not practically acquainted with the geometrical construction of the object to be executed, he is not only unfit for the undertaking, but, at every step
that he takes, he will manifest his ignorance and inability, and eventually overwhelm himself with confusion and disgrace. While persons of this description draw down upon themselves such merited degradation, those who, by assiduous application, have made themselves masters of the principles of geometry, and have obtained a clear and comprehensive view of the practical application of these principles, will not fail to enjoy that intellectual satisfaction which results from a successful termination of efforts, conducted with scientific skill, and crowned with general approbation; and, at the same time, open for themselves a legitimate path to that reputation which directly and naturally leads to opulence and independence.
The articles on CARPENTRY and JOINERY are treated at great length, as their superior importance demand. Indeed, it has been the chief study of the Author's life to give to these two branches the utmost degree of scientific connection and development of which they are susceptible.
In MASONRY, the artist will find an ample detail of the methods of cutting stone, illustrated by several plates, answering to most purposes which present themselves. And since the principles laid down in this Work are every where of a general tendency, the judgement of the workman will enable him to apply them wherever difficulties may occur.
The art of BRICKLAYING is but little connected with the study of geometrical lines; since the texture of bricks is such as will not admit of their being moulded to the different shapes which the ingenuity of the architect might devise. However, in order to render the present Work complete, and to obviate, as far as possible, every difficulty, several plates are introduced, illustrative of the various forms of arches, niches, &c.
Few things are more important than a clear idea of the mutual connection of the various parts of a building. The author has, therefore, introduced a section, in which he has endeavoured to show, from first principles only, the dependance which each part has upon some other.
The various trades connected with building, as PLASTERING, PAINTING, GLAZING, PLUMBING, &c. will be found to be treated of in as complete a manner as was practicable; these branches not admitting of any very scientific development.
A comprehensive Treatise on the FIVE ORDERS is subjoined to the trades accessary to building: these Orders, with their appropriate embellishments, form the basis and superstructure of architectural decoration. The parts of the Orders are drawn on a scale which speaks to the eye, and renders all farther detail unnecessary. The parts are given in modules and minutes; this being the best mode of exhibiting their proportions, so as to be most readily and clearly comprehended by the workman and student.
In order to increase the utility of the Work, to the BUILDER and CONTRACTOR, a select series of designs, in the modern style, accommodated to the various ranks of society, have been introduced; and, for the use of the ARCHITECTURAL STUDENT, that no accomplishment which might facilitate the operations of the draughtsman, or furnish the designer with more correct ideas, or more extensive views, may be wanting, the RULES of PROJECTION, and the PRINCIPLES of PERSPECTIVE, are presented; and in the most familiar and simple manner in which the subject could be conceived.
The Work concludes with a copious GLOSSARY of the most useful terms employed by architects and builders.
On the whole, the following Treatise will be found to contain a much greater variety of subjects than any similar work; and, in the method of treating the various articles, the studious reader will discover many things entirely new. Thus, for example, in the designs for roofs, several modes are brought forward, for the first time, interesting, both with respect to the disposition and joining of the timbers; and the examples which are given
will be found of the greatest utility to the practical builder, in regulating his ideas with respect to any design under consideration, however much differ from any of the forms exhibited here.
The schemes or diagrams are proportioned in their size to their probable utility; and the strictest regard has been paid to giving to all the parts of each figure their respective and just proportions..
Finally, from the important information collected, the natural arrangement adopted, and the numerous and valuable illustrations exhibited in the course of this Work, the Author flatters himself that he will be found to have rendered an important service to a numerous and highly meritorious class of his fellow-subjects; whilst even the most inattentive observer cannot but acknowledge that the Publisher has spared no expense to render the Work deserving of extensive patronage and general approbation. The grand principle of the undertaking is obvious: it is equally calculated to instruct the untaught, and to assist the intelligent; to promote a generous emulation, and at once to incite and satisfy enquiry into the elements and practice of those branches of science, than which no others are more conducive to the comfort and happiness of mankind.