Masters' Library

  The Mechanic's Companion by Peter Nicholson, 1845    


More than a century has elapsed since an ingenious and useful work on the Arts connected with Building was published under the title of Mechanical Exercises, by the celebrated Joseph Moxon: that it was both useful and popular the various editions testify, and at this time it is become scarce and rarely to be met with.

It can be no disparagement to its ingenious author, to say that the progress of science and the changes in matters of art have rendered the work obsolete and useless. It treated on Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklaying, and Dialling.

I have followed the excellent plan of Moxon and treated each art distinctly: I have first described the several tools belonging to each branch of business, next the methods of performing the various manual operations or exercises, to which they are applicable, these are further illustrated and explained by numerous plates: the descriptions are made as plain and familiar as possible; and there are few operations but will be found fully and clearly explained.

Finally to each is added an Index and extensive Glossary of terms used by workmen in each art, with references also to the plates: and it has been my endeavor that the description with its definition should be clear, and show the connection between the science and the art, thereby producing a pleasing and lasting effect upon the mind.

The arts treated of are as follow: Carpentry, Joinery, Bricklaying, Masonry, Slating, Plastering, Painting, Smithing, and Turning, the whole preceded by a slight introduction to Practical Geometry, and illustrated by forty copper-plates.


These exercises commence with those arts which work in wood, namely, Carpentry and Joinery which are much alike in their tools and modes of working: then comes Bricklaying, which with Carpentry are certainly the most essential of all in the construction of a building.

Masonry and Bricklaying are in reality branches of the same art, and both founded upon principles truly geometrical, yet I have given the precedence to Bricklaying, because it is of the most general use in this country; yet it is generally admitted, that
Masonry is the more dignified art of the two, or indeed of all the arts concerned in the formation of an edifice.

On that difficult and intricate subject, the Theory of Arches, I have endeavored to give a familiar, and I hope a satisfactory illustration.

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The Mechanic's Companion
The Mechanic's Companion


More than a century has elapsed since an ingenious and useful work on the Arts connected with Building was published under the title of Mechanical Exercises (sic),...[Read More]
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