What is a Carpenters Square?
A carpenter’s square is a tool used to measure angles or distances between two objects. It consists of three parts: the base, which is made from wood; the cutting edge, which is made from metal; and the point at which it cuts into wood.
The point of a carpenter’s square may be sharpened so that it can cut through wood with ease.
The basic design of a carpenter’s square was first patented in 1842 by William Bancroft. It was named after John Carpenter, one of the early American carpenters.
Inventors have been making their own versions of the carpenter’s square since ancient times. The earliest known reference to such a device dates back to around 2000 BC. By the time of Christ, it had become popular among Christians as a way to calculate angles in church architecture.
A carpenter’s square was also used in the construction of cathedrals.
Carpenter’s squares were often used to measure angles in shipbuilding and other trades where precision was required. They are still widely used today, especially by architects, engineers and surveyors.
A carpenter’s square was even included in the New Testament.
Carpenters’ squares were used to measure angles for centuries before they became standardized. They are still widely used today, especially by architects and engineers working on building projects.
The most common use of a carpenter’s square is measuring angles in church architecture.
Other types of squares include:
Try square: the cutting edge of a try square is at its end. It was primarily used to mark wood.
It also can be used to check angles or test whether two boards fit together.
Folding rule or steel square: the cutting edge of a folding rule or steel square runs down the middle of the ruler.
Frame saw: the cutting edge of a frame saw consists of several sharp teeth along each side of the frame.
A carpenter’s square is also known as a try square. At one time, a carpenter’s square was used in the construction of cathedrals.
There is even a mention of it in the New Testament which tells carpenters to act honestly and fairly.
What is a Speed Square?
A speed square is a device that is very similar to a carpenter’s square.
Rafter’s square: the cutting edge of a rafter’s square runs along both sides of the ruler. It is used to measure roof angles.
The main difference is that the cutting edge of a speed square is much longer and straight. This makes it easier to use when cutting longer pieces of wood. It can be used just as effectively for anything that a carpenter’s square can be used for, including marking out wood.
The long, straight edge of a speed square makes it easy to use when cutting longer pieces of wood.
Rising square: the cutting edge of a rising square runs from one end to the other.
Invention of the carpenters square
The first known documentation of a carpenter’s tool is from ancient Egypt, where it was used in the construction of objects like beds and tables in around 2000 B.C.
Greece later used these tools when making furniture in around 600 B.C.
Through history, different tools were used to measure angles. In the days before the widespread use of mathematical instruments, a plumb line was used to find the vertical angle in construction work and for building houses.
The first evidence of a tool used to measure horizontal and vertical angles comes from the Romans. In the 1st century B.C., Roman architect Vitruvius wrote that carpenters had invented square rules with markings every 90 degrees.
However, it was the Romans who used these tools on a much larger scale. They were used for tasks like making aqueducts and amphitheatres.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, these tools disappeared as there was no more major construction work for another thousand years. They would later reappear in medieval Europe during the construction of castles, monasteries and cathedrals.
By the first century A.D., the carpenter’s square had spread to France and Germany.
By the 11th century, it was in common use by builders across Europe. It is believed that the French are responsible for the popularization of the modern form of the large carpenter’s square.
In the 17th century, a new device was introduced into carpentry. It was called a steel square and it incorporated some of the functions of both a ruler and a carpenter’s square.
A German mathematician and astronomer named Johannes Kepler is credited with the invention of this tool.
In 1814, still in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, a man named Henry Clifton patented a tool that combined the spirit level and the steel square into one device. This became known as the Frenchman’s Square.
In 1841, a tool maker from New York named Ebenezer Emmons patented the combination square. This tool consisted of a carpenter’s square with a spirit level built into one side.
This meant that it was no longer necessary to carry around a spirit level and a square.
In the 20th century, advances in modern technology made it possible to create tools with increasingly precise calibrations. Today, it is possible to buy laser carpenter’s squares that are incredibly accurate.
In the 21st century, a new invention called an impact driver has become popular. It is designed to tighten screws at an angle without needing to adjust the position of the screw. This tool has made tasks like drilling holes and putting together flat-packed furniture much easier.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Adjustable carpenter square (F Ciavarella – US Patent 4,562,649, 1986 – Google Patents)
- Carpenter square (PJ Cunningham – US Patent 5,090,129, 1992 – Google Patents)
- Carpenter square and tape measure combination assembly (TR Hellem, RJ Hollman – US Patent 7,228,644, 2007 – Google Patents)
- Carpenter square with tape holder (E Schliep – US Patent 4,227,314, 1980 – Google Patents)
- Carpenter square (EH Szumer – US Patent App. 29/136,309, 2001 – Google Patents)
- Notched edge carpenter square design (RJ Dickinson – US Patent App. 29/189,457, 2004 – Google Patents)
- Knockdown carpenter square (EN Hannum – US Patent 2,300,219, 1942 – Google Patents)