Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Mechanic's Companion

It's interesting to browse through Nicholson's book, which is available on Google Books here  One of the surprising things about it is the extensive section on geometry.  It is quite sophisticated and technical.  Even if a joiner didn't have a formal understanding of geometry, having the ability to make use of geometrical concepts could be extremely useful.  If you scan the last part of the geometry section, you'll see what I mean.  I am wondering how common it was in the early nineteenth century for woodworkers to have this skill.  Anybody know?

1 comment:

  1. My guess is that it was a common skill for tradesmen of the period. Measuring devices were fairly coarse and inaccurate, making them unreliable for anything but rough estimates. Dividers were a very common item found in most period inventories though. Usually several pair. An awful lot can be done with little more than a square and a pair of dividers. I think this knowledge was probably pretty common among tradesmen.