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Ix writing the present treatise, my object has been to produce a work dealing comprehensively with the subject of materials and their use in certain branches of constructive art, viz. the massive works usually intrusted to civil engineers and architects, and throughout I have carefully avoided the introduction of the higher branches of mathematical investigation; and in so doing I have not omitted problems of the classes usually treated by high mathematical processes, but have substituted simpler, but equally convincing, lines of argument for the more abstruse processes of analysis.
It will be found that algebraical arithmetic, or simple forms of equations, supply the basis of calculation, and this basis is indeed amply sufficient for all the theoretical reasoning that is called for in the consideration of the practical problems engaging our attention.
From the above remarks it will be seen that the work is designed especially for all those readers who desire to become thoroughly acquainted with the theories of structures and the practical application of results in the simplest way, and not as a mathematical exercise. It may be advisable to say a few words in explanation of the stress I lay upon the importance of this simplicity of calculation.