It has long been recognized that the works on stone-cutting used in this country are entirely out of date and not abreast of the present demands.
The reasons are apparent. Those works were modelled strictly on lines set by the French school, which dealt chiefly with the heavy masonry of fortifications, and the intricate stone constructions used for the immense churches and cathedrals, built when the Church throughout Europe was in the zenith of its power. Times have changed. The heaviest masonry is no protection against modem projectiles, and steel frames veneered with stone and brick form the walls of our largest buildings. This is not the place to discuss the merits of the different styles of construction, the grace of the stone arch and the steel cantilever, or to place the beauty of a stone carving in opposition to the hard lines of iron ornament; suffice it to say that first cost is a very important factor in this country, and that, stability and usefulness being equal, the cheaper structure is generally adopted.
Intricate stonework is therefore excluded everywhere, save on very costly structures, and a treatise dealing with such work would be interesting and valuable only in so far as it presented problems to be worked by the student in search of exercise for his mental powers.