Logo Picture Left SideLogo Picture Right SideLogo Text at Center

The Marble-Workers' Manual


Translated from the French



ALABASTER.-A species of white Marble, very transparent, and easily worked, which is especially used for clocks and mantel vases. There are several varieties of colored alabaster, besides a kind called agate, which is greenish, mixed with a clear bister.

ANTIQUE MARBLE-The beautiful white Marble taken from the ancient quarries of Greece, specimens of which still exist in superb statues and magnificent bas-reliefs.

ALKANET-A plant, a species of anchusa, the root of which affords a reddish purple dye.

ARCHIL-A lichen, which grows on rocks in the Canary and Cape de Verd Islands, and which yields a rich purple color. It is bruised between stones, and moistened with strong spirits of wine mixed with quick-lime.-It first takes a purplish red color, and then turns to blue. In the first state it is called archil, in the second, litmus.

ARRIS.-Edges formed by the meeting of two surfaces; applied particularly to the edges of mouldings, and the raised edges which separate the flutings in a Doric column.


BLEU TURQUIN.-Marble taken from the coasts of Genoa and several other quarries. It is of a deep blue upon a white ground, mixed with grey spots and large veins.

BLOCK OF MARBLE.-A piece, rough from the quarry.

BRECCIA.-A species of Marble composed of a mass of small pebbles, closely cemented together in such a manner that, when broken, they form brèches, or notches; whence its name.

BROCATELLE.-a Marble of which the color is a mixture of grey, yellow, red, and dove shades. It is very costly, and is scarcely ever used except for monuments.

BURIN.-A steel blade, nearly square, and often squared and sharpened at one end in the form of a grain of barley.

BOASTING TOOL.-A kind of chisel with a handle, used by sculptors who work in stucco and plaster, to boast their works.

BOASTED MARBLE.-That which is worked with the double etching needle, or chisel. The best are made of cast steel.


CHEVAL DE TERRE.-The spaces filled with clay which are sometimes discovered in the blocks of Marble, and which would spoil the finest works. These accidents tend to increase the price of Marble working, as they may result in great injury to the Marble worker.

CEMENT.-This is both natural and artificial; the first is that which acts in the formation of the Marble, joining together the different parts; the second is composed by the Marble workers for uniting and gluing the Marbles when worked, and for filling the cavities which are found in some stones and Marbles.

CHISEL IN MARTELINE.-A tool of the Marble worker; it is steeled on one end and furnished with small points to shell off and boast the Marble.

CHISELS.-Small steel tools which are used to aid the sledge hammer or mallet in working Marble or stone.-Every Marble worker has a collection of them. The finest are of cast steel.

COMPARTMENT OF MARBLE PAVEMENTS.-The symmetrical arrangement of blocks or tiles of different colored Marbles, or of Marbles and lias stone.

COMPASS.-A hinged tool with two pointed branches, used in all the arts and trades for measuring lines, and tracing discs, ovals and circles of all kinds upon wood, minerals or metals. There is a kind with a hinge and pencil case in one of its branches, but this is not generally used by Marble workers.

COMPASS OF THE FIGURE EIGHT.-This is to measure on one side, giving the measure on the other; it is principally used in the turning lathe.

COMPASS OF DEPTH.-This compass is designed to find the depth of a diameter. The branches are bent, so that the article to be measured can pass between them. The best have the arc of a circle fixed at one branch and the passing through the other, under a thumb screw which fastens them open as long as may be wished.

CALLOSITIES OF MARBLE.-These defects are to Marble what knots are to wood.

CRUMBLY MARBLE.-That which, when worked, does not retain its sharp arris, but crumbles and falls off.


DOG'S TOOTH. A kind of puncheon used by Marble workers.

DRILL. A pointed instrument, used for boring holes.


EMERY DUST. A species of powdered corundrum, taken from under the wheels upon which lapidaries polish stones. It is used by the Marble workers for polishing Marble.


FELD SPAR. A vitreous substance, which is one of the essential constituents of granite, mica, and porphyry, and enters into the constitution of nearly all the volcanic rocks.

FRAISE. A tool used to enlarge the holes which are made in the Marble with a drill or common auger. It is of a slightly conical form, and is grooved roughly to aid its effect upon the Marble.


GRADINE. A kind of puncheon used by the Marble worker.

GRANITE. A very hard Marble, marked with small, condensed spots. The most common colors are grey, greyish white, and flesh red; some are green, violet, etc.

GYPSUM. A calcareous matter, impregnated with too great a quantity of vitriolic acid to permit it to be affected by any other acid.


HOUGUETTE. An etching needle, flat and steeled.

HOOKED TOOL.-A kind of sharp chisel which is wholly of steel, or of iron steeled on one end, which is half bent in a hooked shape; this chisel is used when the square chisel cannot penetrate and where the etching needle would not be sufficient.

HEARTHS.-Pieces of Marble, from three to five feet in length, and from twenty to twenty-three inches in width, which are placed before chimney-pieces for ornament, and to preserve floorings and carpets from accidents from fire. They are both simple and composite. The simple ones are formed of a single piece without ornaments; the composite are those composed of several pieces of different Marbles, thus resembling a sort of mosaic.


JASPER.-Marble of a greenish color, mixed with small red spots. There is an antique jasper with small spots of black and white.

A variety of Quartz, penetrated with metalic particles.

JASPER MARBLE.-A Marble resembling the antique jasper.


LAPIS.-An antique Marble of a deep blue, spotted with a deeper blue, and intermixed with a few veins of gold.-It is one of the richest, but is very rare.

LIXIVIUM.-Lye; chemical solutions; extracts and washes.


MALLET.-Wooden hammers, used for beating or driving other tools employed in Marble working. The best have knobs of boxwood, alder, or horn beam. Those of iron are called sledge-hammers.

MARBLE.-A hard, calcareous stone, somewhat transparent, black or white, or veined and spotted with different colors.

MARBLE: ARTIFICIAL.-A composition of gypsum, mixed with various colors in imitation of Marble. This composition is hard and susceptible to polish, but is apt to scale off.

MARBLE PAINTING.-Painting which imitates the different colors, veins, and peculiarities of Marbles.

MARBLE WORKING.-This not only comprises the use of Marble, but also the art of sawing, cutting, and polishing it, and of restoring and repolishing it when it is old.

MARBLE WORKERS.-A workman who hews, cuts, and polishes Marble.

MARTIN.-A tool which is very essential to all ateliers. It is a brass plate glued to a stone, with a handle attached to facilitate its movement. An aperture of an inch and a half or two inches is made in the centre of this plate and its lining, through which sand and water is passed upon the Marble to polish it. There are several sizes, some of which may be worked by an apprentice, while some require one or two workmen, according to the size of the piece to be polished and the weight of the martin.

MASTIC.-A composition of oil and different gummy substances. It is used to fill up cavities in Marble, and to cement the pieces together after having been worked. There are mastics, also, especially for stone.

MICA.-A mineral of the same nature as quartz and jasper, and capable of being cleaved into exceedingly thin plates; one of the primitive glasses.

MADREPORE.-A species of coral of the class of Zoophytes. The species usually branch like trees or shrubs. The surface is covered with small prominences, each containing a cell.

MENSTRUUM.-A solvent; any fluid or substilized substance which dissolves a solid body.


ORMOLU.-Brass, which by a chemical process is made to assume the appearance of being gilt.


PALETTE OR CONSCIENCE.-A kind of drill plate, composed of an iron plate perforated with several holds, in which the head of the drill is placed, and which is rested upon the breast of the workman to augment its force and diminish his labor. Drills fastened in a rod which is mounted upon a flattened knob, are sometimes substituted for this.

PAROS MARBLE.-An antique Marble which was quarried from an island of the Archipelago. It is white with a yellowish tint, and transparent.

PAPER STONE.-A round, oval, or square piece of Marble, to which a knob of Marble is attached; used to keep paper in its place upon the desk. These are made from the cuttings of slabs and other articles of Marble.

PUMICE STONE.-A substance which is frequently ejected from volcanoes; supposed to be produced by the disengagement of gas, in which the lava is in a plastic state.-It is used for polishing Marbles, either powdered or in pieces.

PLASTER STONE.-A calcareous substance, which is calcined, pulverized, and tempered with cold water to form coats of impression, and even stuccos.

PUNCHEON.-One of the tools of the Marble worker; an iron instrument, with a sharp, steeled point.

POLISHED MARBLE.-That which has been rubbed and glossed with a linen cushion, or with emery dust or pewter. There are two kinds of polish; the common, which is given to simple articles; the lustrous, which is given to articles requiring more pains, such as costly chimney-pieces, Marble furniture, clocks, candelabras, bas reliefs, hearths, vases, and other articles of the same nature.

PORPHYRY.-The hardest of the antique Marbles, and the finest, after the Lapis. There are red, green, and grey porphyries.

PEWTER.-The ashes which results from the calcination of tin. It is much used in the arts, and also by Marble workers in polishing their works.

PUDDING-STONES.-All stones which are composed of fragments of other stones, united by a natural cement.-The Breccias are pudding-stones; yet all pudding-stones are not Breccias, as some of them are not composed of calcareous matter.

POZZOLANA.-Natural cement produced from the scoride of volcanic substances.


QUARTZ.-The first of the glasses; the essential constituent of granite and porphyry.


RABAT.-Marble workers give this name to the potter's clay which has failed in baking, and which they use to smooth down the roughness of the Marble.

RABOT.-A piece of hard wood, used in rubbing the Marble, and preparing it to receive the polish.

RASP.-A species of file, upon which the cutting prominences are distinct, being raised by punching with a point, instead of cutting with a chisel. They are flat, half rounded, and round.

ROUGH HEWN MARBLE.-That which is cut up with the saw, or squared with the mallet.

ROUND NOSED CHISEL.-A tool used by the Marble worker for sinking the Marble, and leveling the cavities.

ROUND FILE.-A kind of file, or round and pointed rasp, used by Marble workers.

ROUGH MARBLE.-That which is yet in the block.


SAW, OF THE MARBLE WORKER.-It is without teeth; with a different frame from common saws, and proportioned to the pieces to be cut up. The blade of this saw is large, and strong enough to saw the Marble slowly, with the aid of sand and water which the sawer pours into the cleft. There are also two kinds of hand saws, one of which is notched, and the other smooth.

SCRAPER.-A toothed and steeled instrument, designed for sinking flutings; also a tool used by stucco workers.

SHAVE GRASS.-A kind of rough aquatic plant, sometimes called Dutch rush, or scouring rush.

SEBILLA.-A wooden bowl, designed to hold the sand and water used in sawing the Marble.

SERPENTINE.-A calcareous stone or very hard Marble, which takes a very fine polish; it derives its name from the resemblance of its grains to the spots upon the skin of a serpent.

SIMPLE COMPARTMENT.-The plan of a pavement, composed of tiles of black and white Marble, or two other colors, arranged in squares or lozenges.

SPAR.-An earthy mineral that breaks with regular surfaces, and has some degree of lustre; a crystallized earthy mineral of a shining lustre.

STUCCO.-An artificial stone, with which all kinds of Marbles may be imitated. In England this style of building is very common, and many brick edifices are found covered with it, sometimes in a highly ornamental manner. In the United States it has been little used.


TALC.-A kind of soft, unctuous stone; one of the constituents of Marble.

TERRASES.-Defects in Marble which are remedied by filling them with Marble powder mixed with mastic of the same color; first cleaning out the hole, filled with a foreign substance which is neither clay, Marble or granite.

TREPAN.-A tool used for boring and drilling Marbles and hard stones. It is rarely used since the invention of the wimble, which is much better suited to the purpose for which it was used.


WIMBLE.-An instrument for boring holes, burned by a handle.


ZINC.-A metal brilliantly white, with a shade of blue, which is used, either in powder or in pieces, for polishing Marbles, most especially toy Marbles.

[Top of Page]