A 19th Century Album

by Carl G. Karsch

Seldom, if ever, have 100 years so transformed a nation. In 1800, Americans were settling west of the Appalachians; most, however, clustered in the former colonies along the shores of the Atlantic. A century later, the United States bordered the Pacific. It became a continental nation, the world's first.

Other changes were equally dramatic. People traveled on railroads, not muddy ones. With the telegraph, messages spanned thousands of miles in seconds, not weeks.

Carpenters' Company members were schooled in the tradition of brick and wood frame construction. Now they became equally expert with stone, concrete, cast iron and structural steel. By definition, master builders handled the entire job — design, engineering, construction. As the century progressed, they increasingly worked from plans drafted by professional architects. Some members formed partnerships with architects, thus keeping jobs "in house."

By 1900, The Carpenters' Company had been transformed as much as the United States. Here is an album sampling some of their work.