THE AMERICAN BUILDER'S GENERAL PRICE BOOK AND ESTIMATOR, TO ELUCIDATE THE PRINCIPLES OF ASCERTAINING THE CORRECT VALUE OF EVERY DESCRIPTION OF ARTIFICERS' WORK REQUIRED IN BUILDING...
by Gallier, James
Boston: M. Burns, 1836. ,130,,78,pp. plus folding frontispiece. Contemporary marbled boards, neatly rebacked in calf, stamped in giltquarter roan and marbled boards. Spine heavily chipped and worn, corners worn. Contemporary ownership inscription on front flyleaf. Some foxing and light soiling. About very good. "Second edition, revised and improved." A scarce architectural work, bearing the endorsement of four prominent Boston architects - Alexander Parris, Isaiah Rogers, James McAllister, and Gridley Bryant. The folding frontispiece - not present in the first edition - is a view of the facade of the Suffolk Bank in Boston, designed by Isaiah Rogers. This work is extremely practical and exhaustively detailed. Part I includes the work of mensuration, bricklayers, masons, stonecutters, plasterers, carpenters, joiners, plumbers, painters, paper hanging, Connecticut Brownstone, oil mastic and slaters. The plumbing section is noteworthy due to its content on indoor plumbing and water closets, a remarkable building innovation introduced in 1829 at the Tremont House in Boston, the very first American hotel with indoor plumbing. This section states, "In all cases, the greatest care should be observed in constructing water closets and laying pipes inside of houses...when properly executed, there need not be the slightest apprehension of this kind." There follows information on the pricing of lead work for water closets - Pan closet with valve complete is priced at $50, and Pan closet with patent valve and apparatus complete at $60. Part II consists of tabled and memoranda pertaining to weights and measures, gases, strengths of materials including under stress, tables of squares and cubes, and a section on "Laws regulating buildings in the city of Boston" from 1818 to 1830, mostly having to do with regulation of wooden building construction and fire prevention thereof. This copy with the ownership inscription of Minot Pratt (1805-1878). Pratt was a friend of Henry David Thoreau, a printer, botanist, and member of the utopian community at Brook Farm. Pratt's son married Anna Alcott, the daughter of Bronson and Abba Alcott and sister of Louisa May Alcott. The Pratt family lived at the utopian community at Brook Farm from 1841 through 1845. A work such as this would certainly have been extremely useful in such a setting. Brook Farm, an abolitionist community, was also committed to equal education opportunities and equal pay. Community members chose work on the farm based on personal affinity; people switched jobs frequently to avoid boredom. Thoreau considered joining, but later wrote, "As for these communities, I think I had rather keep a bachelor's room in Hell than go to board in Heaven." Around 1845, the Pratt family left Brook Farm and settled in Concord, Ma., where Minot Pratt joined the Concord Farmer's Club, which encouraged sharing information and experimentation with techniques and equipment. Pratt developed his expertise on the local plant species in part during his walks with Thoreau. A scarce work with an interesting provenance. HITCHCOCK 486.
(Inventory #: WRCAM51746)
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