Colonial Craftsmen: And The Beginnings Of American Industry by Edwin TunisColonial Craftsmen: And The Beginnings Of American Industry by Edwin Tunis

Colonial Craftsmen: And The Beginnings Of American Industry

byEdwin Tunis

Paperback | June 17, 1999

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The vanished ways of colonial America's skilled craftsmen are vividly reconstructed in this superb book by Edwin Tunis. With incomparable wit and learning, and in over 450 meticulous drawings, the author describes the working methods and products, houses and shops, town and country trades, and individual and group enterprises by which the early Americans forged the economy of the New World.

In the tiny coastal settlements, which usually sprang up around a mill or near a tanyard, the first craftsmen set up their trades. The blacksmith, cooper, joiner, weaver, cordwainer, and housewright, working alone or with several assistants, invented their own tools and devised their own methods. Soon they were making products that far surpassed their early models: the American ax was so popular that English ironmongers often labeled their own axes "American" to sell them more readily. In the town squares a colonist could have his bread baked to order, bring in his wig to be curled, have his eyeglasses ground, his medicine prescription filled, or buy snuff for his many pocket boxes. With the thriving trade in "bespoke" or made-to-order work, fine American styles evolved; many of these are priceless heirlooms now—the silverware of Paul Revere and John Coney, redware and Queensware pottery, Poyntell hand-blocked wallpaper, the Kentucky rifle, Conestoga wagon, and the iron grillework still seen in some parts of the South. The author discusses in detail many of the trades which have since developed into important industries, like papermaking, glassmaking, shipbuilding, printing, and metalworking, often reconstructing from his own careful research the complex equipment used in these enterprises.

The ingenious, liberty-loving artisans left few written records of their work, and only Mr. Tunis, with his painstaking attention to authentic detail and his vast knowledge, could present such a complete treasury of the way things were done before machines obliterated this phase of early American life.

Edwin Tunis was a well-known artist, illustrator, and muralist. His work has appeared at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Society of American Etchers, National Academy of Design, and Victoria and Albert Museum. Colonial Living won the 1958 Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Children's Book Award. His other books include Colonial Living and ...
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Title:Colonial Craftsmen: And The Beginnings Of American IndustryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:152 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.43 inPublished:June 17, 1999Publisher:Johns Hopkins University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801862280

ISBN - 13:9780801862281

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Reviews

From Our Editors

This vivid reconstruction examines the beginnings of American industry. In Colonial Craftsmen, Edwin Tunis describes the working methods and products, houses and shops, town and country trades, individual and group enterprises by which the early Americans forged the economy of the New World. With more than 450 meticulous drawings, Tunis describes life in the tiny coastal settlements that soon grew in unbelievable proportions.

Editorial Reviews

Of great interest to historians of technology including blacksmiths... Tunis's work is a useful overview of tools and processes in the hand-craft era and the beginning of the industrial revolution... With their well-balanced blend of text and drawings they provide an interesting sampling of colonial craft practices, as well as a delightful 'flavor of the times.' We [blacksmiths should all become familiar with this widely read book.