In 1872 I contributed to a mechanical journal a
few short papers on "The Use of the Carpenter's Steel Square."
A few years later, i.e.,
1875-77, I wrote on the same subject a series of
papers for "The American Builder," the most
prominent building magazine at that time published
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.
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 time.
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 merit to warrant the
appreciation of all workmen.
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 his work.
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
FRED T. HODGSON