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CarpentryMadeEasyBell
Carpentry Made Easy:
The Science And Art Of Framing
by William Bell
1858

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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.

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. Carpentry Made Easy includes the various major framing methods of the period for everything from small house construction to barns, mills, church steeples and bridges.

The popularity of Carpentry Made Easy was due to the careful selection of 126 illustrations contained within 38 full page engraved plates, each accompanied by technically precise explanations that any skilled carpenter could follow and learn from.

William E. Bell was a trained carpenter and joiner and 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.

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Toolemera Press (December 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780989747783
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches

Introduction by Gary Roberts: Publisher; The Toolemera Press

William E. Bell, of Ottawa, Illinois, published Carpentry Made Easy; Or, The Science And Art Of Framing, Or A New And Improved System, in Philadelphia in 1858. Carpentry Made Easy remained in print from 1858 through 1904. Revised and enlarged by 18 pages in 1875, this reprint is of the first and most influential edition of 1858.

Carpentry Made Easy was the first 19th century architectural book to popularize the transition from heavy timber frame to light balloon frame construction. Includedare the various major framing methods of the period for everything from small houseconstruction through to barns, factories, church steeples and bridges. Although not the first book in the United States 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 buildingmethod to everyday use.

Bell described himself on the title page 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. As noted in his biography, Bell was a trained carpenter and joiner who was experienced in building everything from small houses to churches andbridges. It was Bell’s careful selection of the 126 illustrations contained in 38 full page engraved plates, each accompanied by technically precise explanations that any skilled carpenter could follow and learn from, that proved to be the deciding factor inthe popularity of Carpentry Made Easy.

NOTE: The Toolemera Press edition of Carpentry Made Easy contains two additional cutout paper designs, original to a period owner of the book, between Plate 19 and Page 73.

Biography from: History Of La Salle County, Illinois; Vol. I; Inter-State Publishing Co., pp.508-509; 1886

"William E. Bell is a native of Berkley County, Va., born June 5, 1815, a son of Vincent and Rachel (Chenoweth) Bell. In 1832 Vincent Bell moved to Seneca County, Ohio, and bought land on the Seneca Reserve, where he lived until his death in 1856. His wife died in 1858. He raised a company for the War of 1812, and was commissioned its Captain, but arrived in Baltimore after its evacuation by the British,and therefore too late to participate in active service. His grandfather, Jeremiah Bell, was a member of the company known as Washington’s life-guards in the war of the Revolution.

William E. Bell was seventeen years old when his parents moved to Ohio. He was soon apprenticed to learn the carpenter and joiner’s trade, working in the summer and teaching school in the winter. He worked three summers when his employer said he was as good a mechanic as ever went out of the shop. He then went to Michigan City, Ind., and went into a shop where there were thirty workmen, and was surprised to learn how little he knew about his trade.

In December, 1836, he came to Illinois and located at Tiskilwa, Bureau County,where he remained ten years, and in 1846 moved to Ottawa, where he has since lived.He was employed two years in La Salle County by Josiah Pope, his first work being on a Congregational church. For thirty years he worked for the Rock Island and Northwestern Railroad companies building many of their bridges and shops.

Mr. Bell is thoroughly conversant with every detail of his trade, and is one of the best mechanics in the State. In 1858 he published “The Art and Science of Carpentry Made Easy,” which was revised and enlarged in 1875.

Mr. Bell was married in Tiskilwa to Almira Hadley, a native of Muskingum County, Ohio, born May 27, 1823, daughter of Henry Hadley. They have had six children; but three are living - William S., Frank E., and Ermina, wife of J. A.Hossick. Mr. and Mrs. Bell are members of the First Baptist Church of Ottawa."