This section is from the book "Building Construction And Superintendence", by F. E. Kidder. Also available from Amazon: Building Construction And Superintendence.
The abundance and consequent cheapness of wood in the United States, the ease with which it can be procured and worked, together with its strength, lightness and durability, have caused it to enter largely into the construction of all but the most costly buildings, and it will probably continue to be for many years the most widely useful material of construction.
In spite of the many substitutes for it in the shape of metal, stones, plaster, paper and other materials, the per capita consumption of wood in this country has increased at the rate of from 20 to 25 per cent, for every decade since 1860.
Considering its wide and extensive use in buildings, it is evidently important that the architect should be well informed in regard to its properties, characteristics, manufacture, treatment and adaptability, that he may use it wisely and economically.
There are so many variable conditions, however, that affect the value of wood for constructional and finishing purposes that it is quite impossible for any one but a specialist to acquire a thorough knowledge of the subject, and in a work of this character it is only possible to treat the subject somewhat superficially.