Owen Biddle.

An improved and enlarged edition of Biddle's young carpenter's assistant : being a complete system of architecture for carpenters, joiners, and workmen in general, adapted to the style of building in the United States ; revised and corrected, with several additional articles, and forty-eight new des online

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Online LibraryOwen BiddleAn improved and enlarged edition of Biddle's young carpenter's assistant : being a complete system of architecture for carpenters, joiners, and workmen in general, adapted to the style of building in the United States ; revised and corrected, with several additional articles, and forty-eight new des → online text (page 3 of 7)
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doors ; that is, the bottom to be wider than the top, the jambs having the same incli-


A design for a single door, in proportion with a house from eighteen to twenty-
three feet front, in the modern style of finish. The proportions of its several parts
can be ascertained by referring to the annexed scale of feet and inches.


A design for an external folding door, calculated for a double house, drawn to a
scale of inches and feet.


Two designs for the dressings of internal doors. The Fig. 1 is adapted for the
parlor and drawing-room floors; and the example Fig. 2 most appropriate for the
chamber rooms. The doors may be arranged with three, four, or five panels, to corre-
spond with the bold or light style of its adjoining features ; and the folding doors of
the same room would look better to be finished with the additional height of a panel
ranged with those of the single doors.


PLATE 18, 19.

Ten designs for the pilasters of parlor and chamber doors, drawn full size.


Five designs for the architraves of internal and external doors, showing their pro-
files, full size.


In this Plate are given the lines of a pitch pediment frontispiece. In this the
column is made ten diameters in height. This is on a supposition that the door is
for a town house with a narrow front ; in which case the true proportion of the
Orders may be dispensed with, and regard had to the general proportion of the build-
ing ; but in country houses, where the front may be well proportioned, the nearer
we adhere to the Orders, the better will be the appearance in general. In fixing
on the size of a door for the front of a house, it is better to make it rather too
large than too small, as few things will make a house look meaner, than a contract-
ed front door ; and, where it will admit of it, the door should be as wide as half its


In this Plate, the foregoing subject is shaded. I will here observe, that the light
should always come from the left side, and at an angle of forty-five degrees, or on a
mitre both horizontally and vertically, by which the shadows of projecting moulding,
&c. will be always equal to their projections. This will be better understood, by
examining the Plate.

As in geometrical drawings, the relief or projection of the object can only be shown
by the shading, the Student should make it his business to understand the efiects of
light and shade. In those parts that stand forward, or project, the shade should be
strong, and the part receiving the light should be bright ; and, as the distance in-
creases, both lights and shades should be weaker. All moulding, whether swelling
or coving, will have both a stronger light and shade, than plane surfaces exposed to
an equal degree of light ; and all surfaces on the same plane, not in a shadow, should
have the same tint or degree of shade.




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In this Plate is given a flat pediment frontispiece. The observations made on the
preceding example, with respect to general proportions, Mill apply to this.

After tiie Student lias fixed on the size of his door, he will draw the arch, and
divide the half-round of that into six parts ; one of which is the width of the key
at bottom, and two of them will be its height, which is also the top of the col-
umns. He may then find the diameter, and make a scale for proportioning the


Is the foregoing, shaded.


Windows (from the Danish vindue, or the Welsh wynt-dor, a passage for the
wind), those apertures in walls through which light is transmitted to the interior of
the building. Windows are generally of a rectangular form, the sides or jambs being
vertical, and the bottom and lintel horizontal. Semicircular windows have a very ele-
gant effect, particularly in circular buildings, as was generally the practice of the Ro-
mans ; but those that are finished with segments, or semi-ellipses, are not so beautiful ;
and much less so are such as are constructed of entire circles or ellipses, for which
few or no precedents are to be found in the buildings of the ancients. Windows must
be proportioned in height and width to the principal rooms. The dressings of win-
dows are the sill, and the insisting architrave, surrounding the upper part, crowned
by a cornice and frieze. The breadth of the architrave may be one-sixth of that of
the aperture ; the frieze the same ; the height of the cornice will depend upon the
number of mouldings ; if very few, it may be of less height than the cornice, Win-
dows should be so placed with respect to the principal rooms, or dining and drawing
rooms, as to be equally distant from each end of the apartment, and equidistantly
distributed in the principal front, of one size, with their edges or sides in the same
vertical lines. This adjustment will frequently be attended with difficulties ; and to
accommodate the principle, an alteration of the proportions, in a small degree, will
sometimes be necessary. In houses of the middle class, where economy is an equal
consideration with elegance or beauty, the windows frequently reach as high as the
cornice, or even so high as to cut the cornice, wholly, or in part ; a mutilation that
destroys the beauty of the finishing. In such cases, it would be better to have more
lofty stories or lower windows. In large edifices, where proportions are considered,
the spaces above the windows are more ample, and allow a more elegant finish, with
a greater repose for the eye.



Windows ought to be made vertically one above the other, and not too near the
angles of the building ; and in large edifices where the m alls are thick, their jambs
ought to be splayed or bevelled, for a more full distril)ution of light. Lofty w indows,
descending to the floor, or nearly so, with a projecting balcony in front of the build-
ing, defended by a railing of cast or wrought iron, are both healthy and agreeable.

Sky-lisJits, in cold climates like ours, are productive of many inconveniences, as
they admit of cold air, damps, rain, and snow, and thereby waste the heat generated
in the house. They ought therefore never to be admitted, except for stairs and halls :
v.hen this admission is necessary, their apertures should increase in dimensions, so
as not to hinder the passage of the rays.

Sash (from the French chassis, a frame) a chequered frame for holding the squares
of glass or windows, and so formed as to be let up and down by means of pulle3's.

Sashes are either single or double hung.

Sash-Frame, the wooden frame in which the sas-hes are fitted for the convenience
of sliding up or down, or side-ways, as the nature of the apartment to be lighted may
require. When one or both sashes are to be moved vertically, they are commonly
equipoised by weights ; and the weights are made to run in vertical trunk?, or cases,
formed in the sides of the frames, which are therefore said to be cased ; but when
the sides are not made hollow for weights, the frame is said to be solid. In a sash-
frame, the under side of the head is most commonly disposed in the same surface as
the soffit, or intrados, of the stone or brick head of the window on the outside ; con-
sequently, it partakes of the shape of the head of the window, whether straight or
circular. In a cased sash-frame, each case consists of four pieces ; the inside piece,
on each side, or that next the aperture, is most commonly disposed in the same plane
with the jamb of the stone, or side of the aperture, on the outside, the tw o sides
forming parallel : these two pieces are called Pu/lei/-Picces, from their containing
pulleys, over which the ropes pass, by which the sashes and weights are suspended. The
other three parts of each trunk are called linings ; that parallel to the pulley-piece,
and next to the jamb, on either side, is called the back lining; the one next the out-
side, and parallel to the face of the wall, is the outside lining ; and the remaining one,
next to the inside of the room, is denominated the inside lining. The best made
sash-frames have the pulley-pieces tongued into the outside and inside linings : the
back lining is generally tongued into the outside, and nailed to the edge of the inside
lining : on each pulley-piece two channels, of equal breadth, for the edges of the
sashes to run in, are formed by nailing a slip of wood round the inner margin of the
pulley-piece, and suflering the outside lining to project within it; between which a
narrow slip is inserted in a groove, left in the middle of the intervening space. As
the edge of this slip is generally rounded, it is called the parting bead ; and the inner
slip, for the same reason, is termed the inside bead; while the edge of the outer
lining is called the outside head. Within the case, there is also a vertical slip, sus-
pended from the head, and passing longitudinally through the middle of the hollow
space, for separating the two weights, which is therefore called the parting slip. The
head, sill, and inside linings, have generally each a groove next to the inside of the
room ; the groove in the head and sill is commonly three-eighths of an inch from the
edge next to the opening ; that in the head is for inserting the edge of the soffit, and
that in the sill for receiving the edge of the capping bead, upon the upper edge of
the back. The grooves, in the inside lining, are for the edges of the back lining of


the boxing ; the distance of these grooves from the inner edge of the inside Hning,
depends upon the depth of the boxing and the distance of each line of hinges from
the inner edge of the inside hning, or of that next to the opening. The hne of
hinges is generally about the eighth of an inch from the inner edge of the inside
lining ; so that the shutters, soffit, and capping bead, may have tiieir terminating
edges with the sash-frame of the same margin all round ; that is, at the same dis-
tance as the inner edge of the sash-frame : this, however, is not positively neces-
sary ; but may be varied at the discretion of the architect, or workman.

The line of hinges being determined, the depth of the boxing is found by adding
to the thickness of the wall, that of the inside finishing, whether of plaster alone, or
of lath and plaster (the former requiring about an inch, and the latter two and a
quarter inches) ; and subtracting from the sum, the thickness of the sash-frame, and
its distance from the outside of the wall ; then, if the remainder be equal to, or exceed
half the distance of the hinge-line, such half distance is the breadth of both the box-
ing and the shutter: it must, however, be observed, that the outer edge of the
shutter must not be rebated, as that would prevent the edges of the lathing coming
close to the architrave, or margin style, which forms the side of the boxing, opposite
to the inner lining of the sash-frame, when each shutter consists of one piece only ;
to remedy this, each shutter must consist of two folds, viz. a front part, and back
flap ; and the breadth of the boxing must be contracted, either by introducing a
margin style at the edge of each boxing, or, if one was necessary before, by making
it broader: then the thickness of the two folds will be the neat distance of the
groove from the line of hinges. If, on the other hand, the remainder before men-
tioned be less than the half distance of the hinsfe lines, it is the breadth of the boxing :
divide the half distance between the hinge lines, by the breadth of the boxing, and
the quotient will give the number of folds ; and if there be a remainder, there must
be one fold more than is shown by the quotient.

The aggregate, or sum of all the folds, is the neat depth of the boxing: but, in
order to make the folds clear each other, and the back of the boxing, add the
eighth or tenth part of an inch for each fold. Thus, suppose the wall to be of
eighteen-inch brick-work, and the finishing, within, to be lath and plaster ; suppose,
also, the breadth of the window to be four feet, the sash-frame six inches thick,
and its distance from the wall four inches : then 20i inches is the thickness of the
wall and finishing ; the thickness of the sash-frame, and its distance fi'om the face of
the wall, are together 10 inches: this, taken from 20] inches, gives lOj inches for
a remainder, which is the breadth both of the boxing and of the shutter, because
lOf inches are less than 24 inches, the half distance between the lines of hinges:
IOt is contained twice in 24 inches, with a remainder ; there are, therefore, three
folds, viz. a front fold and two back flaps : suppose the front fold to be lA inch
thick, each back 1 j inch thick ; then li + li + 1| = 4 inched ; and because there are
three folds, add 3-10 of an inch more, and the depth of the boxing v.ill be 4J inches.



A design for a dormer window.


A desiorn for a single window with its external shutters, showing the manner of
finishing the panels, &c. on both sides.


Five designs for sash window bars, full size : —
Fig. 1. Gothic astragal and hollow bar.
Fig. 2. Simple metal bar, for shop fronts.
Fig. 3. Quirked astragal and hollow bar.
Fig. 4. Cima recta and square bar.
Fig. 5. Quarter round and square bar.
Fig. 6. Section of the meeting bar, with a small proportion of the style fixed

to each.
Fig. 7, shows the method of joining the intersecting bars, with the method of

doweling them together.
Fig. 8, the elevation of the intersection, showing a part of each branch or bar.


A design for a Venetian window : the panel and pilaster represented in the lower
front, show the interior finish, and are of course omitted on the external side.


Is a dormer window. The circular part of the sash is Gothic ; in drawing which,
the compasses should be kept at the same extent as in drawing the arch, and the
centre carried out on the top of the impost. If fluting or dentils are used for dor-
mers, they should be larger in their proportions than in common work ; and the pitch
of the pediment may be rather steeper than in frontispieces, as the height will take
otr something from the pitch.



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Is a Venetian window of the Ionic order. In giving a design for a window of this
kind, the size of the glass should be made to correspond with the entablature, so
that it will be equal in height to one or two lights ; and the sashes in the side-
window, to range with the middle one.


The four Orders of Architecture have been selected from such of the remains of
ancient buildings, as are supposed to be the most beautiful ; and Palladio has been
generally allowed to have been the best judge among the moderns, who have given
the proportions of the remains of Antiquity. The proportions in this book are
pretty nearly the same as his. The differences are principally these : There being
no remains of Antiquity in the Tuscan Order with an entablature, and Palladio
having given a very poor one ; succeeding Moderns have given that Order an entabla-
ture near the proportion of the others, which I have adopted. The Doric Order has
no example of a Pedestal among the Ancients ; and in the most admired buildings
of Antiquity, in that Order, the Columns have no base; and I believe there is no
example remaining of the Ionic Order having modillions, but dentils only ; though, of
late, modillions have been as frequently applied as dentils. In the foregoing
examples, I have given to the Tuscan and Doric Order one-fifth of the height, exclusive
of the Pedestal, for the entablature ; the Ionic and Corinthian each have one-sixth.
In situations where there are one or more Orders over another, this proportion in
the upper should be altered ; the richer Order always being uppermost. The Ionic
and Corinthian may then have one-fifth, for the entablature. These proportions are
all for small buildings ; but if the buildings are large, exceeding 40 feet in height, the
entablature should increase proportionally. If one Order only is used, the Tuscan
and Doric may have one-fourth ; Ionic and Corinthian, one-fifth ; and if several
Orders are used, the Ionic and Corinthian may have each one-fourth of the height
of the Order, exclusive of the Pedestal, for the height of the entablature.


As the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, to whom architecture is so much
indebted in other respects, lived in warm climates, where fires in the apartments were
seldom or never necessary, they have thrown but few lights on this branch of archi-
tecture : amongst the antiquities of Italy, I do not recollect any remains of chimney-
pieces. Palladio, indeed, mentions two, the one at Baise, and the other near Civita-



Vecchia, which stood in the middle of the rooms, and consisted of columns support-
ing architraves, whereon were placed the pyramids, or funnels, through which the
smoke was conveyed, much after the manner of the fire-place in the Rotunda of
Ranelagh Gardens. Scammozzi takes notice of three sorts of chimney-pieces used
in Italy in his time. One of these he calls the Roman, the aperture of which is
surrounded only with a clumsy architrave: another he calls the Venetian, which is
likewise adorned with an architrave, upon which are placed a frieze and cornice, and
on the sides thereof are pilasters with consoles ; the third sort he calls a padiglione.
This last he particularly recommends when the walls are thin, it being not hollowed
into the wall, as both the other sorts are, but composed of a projecting entablature,
supported by consoles, termini, or caryatides, on which the pyramid is placed. This
sort of chimney-piece is still very common in Italy ; the Dutch are very fond of it ;
and we find it in many of our old English country-houses. Neither the Italians nor
the French, nor indeed any of the continental nations, have ever excelled in the com-
positions of chimney-pieces. I believe we may justly consider Inigo Jones as the first
that arrived at any great degree of perfection in this material branch of the art.
Others of our English architects have, since his time, wrought upon his ideas, or fur-
nished good inventions of their own ; and England being at present possessed of many
ingenious and very able sculptors, one of whom devotes himself to the execution of
magnificent chimney-pieces, now happily much in vogue, it may be said, that in this
particular we surpass all other nations, not only in point of expense, but likewise in
taste of design, and excellence of workmanship. Scammozzi mentions a chimney-
piece in one of the public buildings at Venice, executed from his design, as a most
uncommon piece of magnificence, having cost upwards of a thousand crowns.

The size of the chimney must depend upon the dimensions of the room wherein
it is placed. In the smallest apartments, the width of the aperture is never made
less than from three feet, to three feet six inches : in rooms from twenty to twenty-
four feet square, or of equal superficial dimensions, it may be four feet wide ; in
those of twenty-five to thirty, from four to four and a half; and in such as exceed
these dimensions, the aperture may be extended to five, or five feet six inches ; but
should the room be extremely large, (as is frequently the case in halls, galleries, and
saloons,) and one chimney of these last dimensions will neither afford sulliciont heat
to warm the room, nor sufficient space around it for the company, it will be much
more convenient, and far handsomer, to have two chimney-pieces of a moderate size,
than a single one exceedingly large, all the parts of which would appear clumsy and
disproportioned to the other decorations of the room.

The chimney should always be situated so as to be immediately seen by those who
enter, that they^ may not have the persons already in the room, who are generally
seated about the fire, to search for. The middle of the side partition wall is the
properest place in halls, saloons, and other rooms of passage, to wliich the principal
entrance is commonly in the middle of the front, or of the back wall ; but, in draw-
ing-rooms, dressing-rooms, and the like, the middle of the back wall is the best
situation, the chimney being then farthest removed from the doors of communication.
The case is the same with respect to galleries and libraries, where doors of entrance
are generally either at one or at both ends. In bed-chambers, the chimney is always
placed in the middle of one of the side partition Malls; and in closets, or other very
small places, it is, to save room, sometimes placed in one corner.


Whenever two chimneys are introduced in the same room, they must be regularly
placed, either directly facing each other, if in different walls, or at equal distances
from the centre of the wall in which they both are placed. The Italians frequently
put their chimneys in the front walls, between the windows, for the benefit of look-
ing out while sitting by the fire : but this must be avoided, for by so doing, that side
of the room becomes crowded with ornaments, and the other sides are left too bare ;
the front walls are much weakened by the funnels ; and the chimney shafts at the top
of the building, which must necessarily be carried higher than the ridges of the roofs,
have, from their great length, a very disagreeable effect, and are very liable to be
blown down.

In large buildings, when the walls are of a considerable thickness, the funnels are
carried up in the thickness of the walls, but in small ones this cannot be done; the
flues and chimney-pieces must necessarily advance forward into the rooms, which,
when the break is considerable, has a very bad effect : and therefore, when room can
be spared, it will always be best, either in show or state apartments, to make niches
or arched recesses on each side ; and in lodging-rooms, presses, or closets, either
covered with the paper, or finished in any manner suited to the rest oi' the room.
By these means, the cornice, or entablature of the room, may be carried round with-
out breaks, the ceiling be perfectly regular, and the chimney-piece have no more
apparent projection than may be necessary to give to its ornaments their proper

The proportion of the apertures of chimney-pieces, of a moderate size, is gene-
rally near a square ; in small ones a trifle higher, and in large ones somewhat lower.
Their ornaments consist of architraves, friezes, cornices, columns, pilasters, termini,
caryatides, consoles, and all kinds of ornaments of sculpture, representing animal or
vegetable productions of nature ; likewise vases, patera?, trophies of various kinds,
and instruments or symbols of religion, arts, arms, letters, and commerce. In design-
ing them, regard must be had to the nature of the place where they are to be em-
ployed. Such as are intended for halls, guard-rooms, saloons, galleries, and other
considerable places, must be composed of large parts, fe\v in number, of distinct and
simple forms, and having a bold relief; but chimney-pieces tor drawing-rooms, dress-
ing-rooms, bed-chambers, and such like, may be of a more delicate and complicated

1 3 5 6 7

Online LibraryOwen BiddleAn improved and enlarged edition of Biddle's young carpenter's assistant : being a complete system of architecture for carpenters, joiners, and workmen in general, adapted to the style of building in the United States ; revised and corrected, with several additional articles, and forty-eight new des → online text (page 3 of 7)