The Art of Splitting Stone: Early Rock Quarrying Methods in Pre-Industrial New England 1630-1825

Second Edition

By Mary Gage and James Gage


The Art of Splitting Stone is a detailed study of the history, tools, and methods used to split, hoist, and transport quarried stone in pre-industrial New England (1630-1825). It is an invaluable resource for historians, archaeologists, and stone masons interested in identifying, dating, or experimenting with early stone splitting and quarrying methods. The amateur researcher and avid outdoors person will find the book useful as a field guide to identifying split boulders and stone quarries abandoned in the woods.

88 pp. 36 illustrations. 8 ˝ x 11 inches. Trade Paperback.

ISBN-13: 978-0-9717910-2-2
ISBN-10: 0-9717910-2-3

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
EGYPTIAN, ROMAN, AND BRITISH QUARRY HOLES
EGYPTIAN
ROMAN
BRITISH
STONE QUARRIES IN NEW ENGLAND 1630 - 1825
BOULDER FIELD QUARRIES
SURFACE LEDGE QUARRIES
EARLY ROCK SPLITTING METHODS IN NEW ENGLAND
SANDSTONE QUARRYING METHOD (1600’S)
SLATE AND SCHIST QUARRYING METHOD
FIRE SPLITTING METHODS
Fire and Iron Ball Method
Fire and Hammer Method
Fire and Wedge Method
Fire, Groove, and Water Method
Spalling
HAMMERING (OR TRACING) METHOD
CHANNELING AND WEDGING METHODS
ROUND HOLE METHODS
Blasting Hole
Plug & Feather Method: Bartram’s Version (1730)
Plug & Feather Method: Farmer’s Version (Circa 1774)
Plug & Feather Method: Commercial Version (1803)
FLAT WEDGE HOLE METHODS
Flat Wedge Method: Hand Version (1803)
Flat Wedge Method: Machine Version (1849)
Flat Wedge Method: Rock Hammer Version (1868)
HAMMER DRILLING OR TRIANGULAR HOLE METHOD
SAWING STONE
HOISTING
I. SUPERSTRUCTURE
Gin Pole
Jib Crane (or Post Crane)
Tripod (or Triangle)
Shear Crane (or Shear Pole)
Moveable Shear Crane
Stevenson Moveable Beam Crane (1808 - 1811)
The Holmes Derrick (1825-Present)
II. LIFTING DEVICES Lewis
Compression / Hoisting / Quarry / Lifting Tongs
Chain Dogs
Cable or Chain
III. WINCHES
Windlass
Capstan
IV. POWER SOURCE
Hand
Horse / Oxen
Water Power
Steam Engine
TRANSPORTATION
STONE BOAT / SLEDGE
CARTS AND WAGONS
CONCLUSION
APPENDIX A - STONE BUILDINGS IN EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS: 1630 - 1826
APPENDIX B - GLOSSARY OF GEOLOGY TERMS
APPENDIX C – WOODEN WEDGE METHOD
APPENDIX D – STONE WEDGES: THEIR USE IN STONE QUARRYING
APPENDIX E - EXPANDING ICE METHOD
APPENDIX F – MISCELLANEOUS REFERENCES TO STONE QUARRYING (PRE-1825)
BIBLIOGRAPHY