1. Masonry, the art of shaping, arranging, and uniting stones or bricks to form the walls and other parts of structures, is one of the most important branches of the building trades.

The province of the mason, while not as extensive as that of the carpenter, is equally as important, especially in cities where the buildings are generally built of brick or stone, thus demanding the employment of masons.

2. Mason work may be divided into two classes: stone masonry and brickwork, one or the other of which must at some time enter into building construction.

3. Stone masonry may be considered under three divisions: stone setting, stone cutting, and stone carving.

The stone setter builds the stone walls of foundations, and lays the stone in the superstructure.

The stone cutter reduces the stone to the required form, and brings it to the face called for in the specifications for the building.

A knowledge of stereotomy, which is the geometry of stonework, as seen in vault, arch, and other complicated construction in stone is necessary to the stone cutter.

The stone carver shapes the capitals of columns and the decorative and ornamental work.

4. Brickwork is really artificial stonework; but owing to the difference in the details of its performance, it has become a separate branch of masonry known as bricklaying, and the men employed in laying the brick are called bricklayers.

The ornamental portions of many buildings - cornices, string and belt courses, panels, capitals, window caps, etc. are now molded of terra cotta, but are set by the bricklayer. Terra cotta has the same composition as brick, but is made of a finer quality of clay and in varied colors. It can be made in large sections, and therefore is more desirable, in certain positions, than brick would be.

5. Plastering is generally considered as a part of the mason's work, and is usually included in the specifications as such. Plastering may either be exterior or interior. At one time, the art of the plasterer was largely in demand for stucco and cement work on the exterior of buildings, but fortunately for truthful expression, this has largely become a thing of the past.