Since the publication of the first edition of this work, six subsequent editions have been issued; but, although from time to time many additions . to its pages and revisions of its subject-matter have been made, still its several issues have always been printed substantially from the original stereotype plates. In this edition, however, the book has been extensively remodelled and expanded, the greater portion of it rewritten, and the whole put in a new dress by being newly set up in type uniform in style with that of the late author's recent work, Transverse Strains. To this revision - a labor of love to him - he devoted all the time he could spare from his other pressing engagements for a year or more, and by close and arduous application brought the book to a successful termination, notwithstanding the engrossing nature of his customary business avocations. Although essentially an elementary work, and intended originally for a class of minds not generally favored with opportunities for securing a very extended form of education, either in the store of information acquired or in the discipline of mind which culture confers, still it has been his aim to embody in its pages so complete and exhaustive a treatment of the various subjects discussed, and so practical and useful a collection of data and the rules governing their application, as to make it also not unworthy the attention of those who have been more highly favored in that respect.
Temple Of Neptune, At Paestum.
In all the various trades connected with building it is the intelligent workman that commands the greatest respect, and who receives in all cases the highest remuneration. As apprentice, journeyman, and master-builder, his course is upward and onward, and success crowns his efforts in all that he undertakes. There is a kind of freemasonry in the very air that surrounds the skilful, intelligent man, that gives him a pass at once into the appreciation and recognition of all those whose regard is valuable. We admire and respect the plodding toil of the honest, patient laborer, whose humble task may tax his muscles though not his mind, but we yield a deeper homage to the skilful hand and tutored eye that accomplish wonders in art and science through perseverance in aspiring studies. It was to excite in the minds of workmen like these an ambition to excel in their calling, and to point out to them the surest path to that consummation, that the preparation of this volume was undertaken; that all its tendencies are in that direction, and that it cannot well fail of its purpose when judiciously used, must be the conviction of all who will take the trouble to examine its pages.
In the first part of the book matters more particularly relating to building are treated of. The first section is in the nature of an introduction, serving by its historical references to excite an interest in the general subject, while in the second are presented the methods of erecting edifices in accordance with the acknowledged principles of sound construction. In the remaining sections of Part I. the several well-defined branches of house-building, as stairs, doors and windows, etc., are illustrated and explained. In the second part the more useful rules and simple problems of mathematics are reduced to an easily acquired form, and adapted to the necessities of the ordinary workman. By studying the latter, the young mechanic may not only improve and strengthen his mind, but grow more self-reliant daily, demonstrating in his own experience that scientific knowledge gives power. By carefully studying this part of the book he will see how easy it is to acquire the knowledge of solving problems by signs and symbols, commonly called Algebra (although looked upon by the uninitiated as almost incomprehensible), and thus find it easy to understand all the illustrations of the various subjects wherein those condensed forms of expression are used. Useful problems in geometry, described in simple language, and hints upon the subject of drawing and shading, are also to be found in Part II. A glossary of architectural terms and many useful tables are provided in the Appendix, and finally, an Index is added to aid in referring to special subjects. The full-plate illustrations are inserted to make it attractive to the general reader, and at the same time to serve as explanatory of the historical portion of the volume.
It will not be denied that the class of information herein furnished is one of the most instructive and useful that can be presented to the practical mind of a workingman, or to any mind engaged in mechanical pursuits. The impress stamped upon it by the author's peculiar line of study is not to be effaced, but this has given it characteristics of originality and strength not to be found in a mere compilation.
New York, 31 Pine Street,
January 6, 1880.
The Parthenon, Athens.