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Practical Treatise on the Steel Square, Vol.1 & 2 by F. T. Hodgson, 1903


Vol. 1

Vol. 2

 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 in America.

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 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.

This is 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. 

A 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 possible, 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 under discussion.


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Vol. 1

Vol. 2



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