Hough's Encyclopedia of American Woods

Hough's Encyclopedia of American Woods

Hough's Encyclopedia of American Woods is a supplimental version in the Special Collections Rare book collections. Culled and assembled by Romeyn Beck Hough between 1888 and 1913 the collection was published by Robert Speller & Sons in New York in 1957.

This particular version features 16 volumes, each containing approximately 25 specimens of American woods in three cuts: Radial, Transverse (horizontal), and Tangential (vertical). 

To create the thin specimens Hough patented a device he invented, able to create translucent wood slices for this project. He recognized the commercial potential and sold magic lanterns slides, trade cards and invitations.

The books are 7 inches wide by 9.25 inches tall and approximately 1 inch thick. The pages are 6 inches wide by 8.875 inches tall and contain the three wood cuts all uniformed rectangles at 3.75 inches wide by 1.625 inches tall. 

These pages are held in with two 1 inch binder rings, connected to the metal bracket that is then mouned onto binder board. A green canvas protecting the books from any wear.

The books were considered treasures of their time, as the 385 specimens are hand cut wood samples, as reproductions today are prints.

Other versions of this series (that include the wood cut specimens) also include accompanying descripotions covering the tree's characteristics, growth habits, medicinal properties and commercial possibilities. Unfortunately this is not one of those versions.

Hough's Encyclopedia of American Woods