The art of building has grown by evolution, like other things in this world. The carpenter who builds in wood to-day builds according to certain customs which come down to him from centuries of carpenters. Modern methods of constructing the small house have all human history for their background. When we speak of modern methods, we merely refer to those which are used at this time, as they have evolved from past experience and been considered satisfactory. To hear some architects and builders talk, one would think that modern America had the monopoly on good construction, and that our system of building was newly invented. How often have we heard remarks like the following from the self-styled practical man: "The genius of the present age is eminently practical and constructive. Improvements of every kind and ingenious contrivances for easily effecting results, which in past ages were only accomplished by slow, laborious effort, . . . etc."
But they were saying this kind of thing in 1858, for the above is quoted from a book of this date, so that even the practical man is traditional in his remarks about building.
There are also too many young men to-day wasting their time discovering what they think are new ways of building, but which have been known for centuries and discarded as unsatisfactory. If they would only study what had already been done, they would save themselves a lot of trouble.