These papers, I am led to believe, were among the
first that were ever issued devoted entirely to describing the
uses and applications of the square, and so well did they meet
with the appreciation of workmen
who were interested in the steel square, that the
writer was urged personally and by letters from
all sides to put the papers in book form, and
this was done in 1879, with the result that
several hundred thousand copies of the work
have been sold, and the demand has not yet decreased.
Since the first appearance of the little book
above named the writer has been requested by
hundreds of the readers thereof to still further
pursue the subject and embody in one work all
that is known of the square and that can be
accomplished with it so far as can be gathered up to the present
Partly in response to this request, and partly because I
am informed of several other writers having intimated their
intentions of filling the gap if I failed to do so, have been
persuaded to prepare the following volumes, which I hope will be
of sufficient value and contain enough merit to warrant the
appreciation of all workmen who may have on some occasion or
other, to make use of the steel square.
It is not necessary
for me in this preface to remind the young workman of to-day of
the necessity of arming himself with all the resources of modern
methods and appliances for the performance of his work, if he
desires to stand in the front rank of his trade.
so evident that he who runs may read it on every street corner.
It is the bright, well-informed young man that wins the race,
and the fellow who drops his tools at the first clang of the
bell at quitting time and gives no further thought either to his
work or his tools until the commencement of work again the
following day, always remains at the foot of the ladder, and
wonders how it is he does not prosper and thrive at the same
rate as his more energetic and studious fellow workman.
few hours quiet study each week during the winter nights makes
the difference between poverty and
sufficiency, for be it known the employer soon discovers the
superior qualities of the man who employs his brains as well as
his hands in the performance of his duties, and advancement and
higher pay are sure to follow sooner or later.
In the whole course of
practice in the building arts there is no tool the artisan
possesses that lends itself so readily to the quick solution of
the many difficult problems of laying out work as the steel
square. Therefore, it is essential the workman should have
a thorough practical knowledge of its capabilities and
applications, and it is to aid him in acquiring that knowledge
that this work is prepared.
It will be my endeavor throughout to
place everything presented in as simple and plain a manner as
and avoid mystifying the workman with a redundancy of formulae
and figures, giving
graphic explanations where possible, and cutting
out surplus figures where such can be done
without vitally affecting the sense of the subject
As a matter of course I have drawn from
many recent writers on the steel square, both
as regards illustrations and descriptions, and in
a number of instances it may be necessary for me to repeat the
solutions of some problems,
showing different methods employed by different
writers to arrive at the same results; and in
doing this I am anxious to give credit to each
individual whose matter I have made use of.
It will be impossible, however, to give credit in
each case, so I give the names herewith, and,
should I omit any, I will be pleased to hear of
them, and will see they are not overlooked in
the next edition.
The first in importance are
J. O'Connell, St. Louis, Mo.; Wm. Croker,
Orillia, Ontario; Wm. E. Hill, Terre Haute, Ind.; A. W.
Wood, Lincoln, Neb.; F. Lascy, San
Francisco, Cal.; J. P. Hicks, Omaha, Neb.; E.
Stoddard, Indianapolis, Ind.; W. George, England; J. R.
Gill, Hamilton, Ontario; W. G. Penrose, Trafford Park, England; H. Parker, England,
and H. D. Cook, Philadelphia.
these a number of paper and magazines have
been laid under contribution for matter and
illustrations that are embodied in this work,
among which may be mentioned the following: "The American Builder," "The Builder and
Woodworker," "Scientific American Supplement," "Canadian Mechanics
and Building," "California Architect," ''National Builder," "Illustrated Carpenter and Builder"
(English), "The Carpenter," and "The
Building World," and one or two other journals.
Many of the items taken from the foregoing
have been changed, corrected and simplified
and put in such a shape that the ordinary workman
will find but little difficulty in grasping
them to such an extent as to render them
In presenting a work of this kind to the public
the author feels that he is making a somewhat
hazardous venture, as he must naturally go over
a great deal of ground that has been trodden by
others, and it may be thought by many that a
good portion of the matter put forth is a work
It must be remembered, however,
that a new generation "that knew not
Joseph," crops up every few years, and it is for
these, and for future generations that this work
is compiled and written, while it contains much
that is new and much that will be acceptable to
active men now engaged in the building arts.
The author begs it to be understood that no
literary merit is claimed for this work. Practical
works offer but little opportunity for literary
culture. To be exact, practical, clear and concise
is perhaps the best that can be expected in a
book of this kind, and, if I succeed on these grounds and have
so couched my language that
the ordinary practical mind of the working man
can thoroughly understand what I have meant
to convey, I shall be well satisfied.
So far as the
financial success of the work is concerned past
experience on these lines assures me of favorable
results, and for this I am pleased for the
publishers' sake, as they have advised me to "spare no expense" in making this book a "standard" for all time. Whether my humble
abilities are equal to the task will be for the
public to say. However, be this as it may, if
the work fails of being what it is intended it will
not be because of any parsimony on the publishers'
behalf, but rather because of the inability
of the author and compiler.
FRED T. HODGSON