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Carpentry Made Easy; Or, the Science and Art of Framing
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CARPENTRY MADE EASY; OR, THE SCIENCE AND ART OF FRAMING, was written by William E. Bell of Ottawa, Illinois and published by Howard Challen of Philadelphia in 1858. It remained in continuous publication through 1904, evidence of the book's importance to the architectural and building trades of the period. CARPENTRY MADE EASY was the first 19th century architectural trade book to popularize the transition from heavy timber frame to light balloon frame construction. Although not the first book to introduce balloon frame construction, CARPENTRY MADE EASY was the first technical book to thoroughly describe the method in such a way as to allow the skilled practical carpenter to readily apply this affordable building method. Included in CARPENTRY MADE EASY were the various major framing methods of the period for everything from small house construction through to barns, mills, church steeples and bridges. William E. Bell was a trained carpenter and joiner who described himself as an "Architect and Practical Builder", a term which at that time referred to someone who specialized in both building design and on-site construction. It was his careful selection of the 126 illustrations contained in 38 full page engraved plates, accompanied by technically precise explanations that any skilled carpenter could follow and learn from, that proved to be the deciding factor in the popularity of CARPENTRY MADE EASY.
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