Compression is one of the most common of all stresses and everywhere things are seen undergoing compression. The foundation walls of the shop, the legs of the table, the foundation of the lathe, the shaper, the drill press, or the planer, the posts or columns that support the shop roof - are all in compression.

If the length of a piece is not more than five times its least transverse dimension, the laws of compression are similar to those of tension, and the strain is proportional to the stress until the elastic limit has been reached. Upon reaching the elastic limit, the strain increases more rapidly than the stress, as in the case of tension.