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
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.
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
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.