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Related to masonry: Freemasonry, Masonry dam


masonry: see brick; concrete; stonework; tile.
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Includes all stone products, all brick products and concrete block units, including decorative and customized blocks.

ashlar masonry

Smooth square stones laid with mortar in horizontal courses.

broken rangework masonry

Stone masonry laid in horizontal courses of different heights, any one course of which may be broken into two or more courses.

cavity wall masonry

An exterior wall of masonry, consisting of an outer and inner course separated by a continuous air space, connected together by wire or sheet-metal ties; the dead air space provides improved thermal insulation.

concrete masonry

Construction consisting of concrete masonry units laid up in mortar or grout.

coursed masonry

A masonry construction in which the stones are laid in regular courses, not irregularly as in rough or random stonework.

coursed rubble masonry

A masonry construction in which roughly dressed stones of random size are used, as they occur, to build up courses; the spaces between them are filled with smaller pieces or mortar.

cyclopean masonry

Often found in ancient cultures, characterized by huge irregular stones laid without mortar and without coursing.

diamondwork masonry

A masonry construction in which pieces are set to form diamond-shaped patterns on the face of the wall.

hollow block masonry

Extruded block of concrete or burnt clay, which consists of voids and consequently is a good insulator. It is used for walls and as a backing for brick.

hollow masonry unit

A brick or concrete block that is less than 75 percent solid in the plane that rests in the mortar bed.

patterned block masonry

Concrete block with a recessed decorative pattern on the front face.

pebble wall masonry

A wall built of pebbles set in mortar, or one faced with pebbles embedded in a mortar coating on the exposed surface, either at random or in a pattern.

pitch-faced masonry

In masonry, a surface in which all arrises are cut true and in the same plane, but the face beyond the arris edges is left comparatively rough, dressed with a chisel.

polygonal masonry

A masonry constructed of stones having smooth polygonal surfaces.

quarry-faced masonry

Squared blocks with rough surfaces that look as if they just came out of the ground.

random ashlar masonry

Ashlar masonry in which regular stones are set without continuous joints and appear to be laid without a drawn pattern, although the pattern may be repeated.

random broken coursed ashlar

An ashlar masonry bond pattern with random-sized stone blocks laid in short, discontinuous courses, with stones of varied sizes within each course.

random rubble

A rubble masonry consisting of stones of irregular size and shape with roughly flat faces, set randomly in a wall.

rubble masonry

Very irregular stones, used primarily in the construction of walls where the irregular quality is desirable.


Stone masonry built entirely of rubble.

rustic stone masonry

Any rough, broken stone suitable for rustic masonry, most commonly limestone or sandstone; usually set with the longest dimension exposed horizontally.

rusticated masonry

Coursed stone masonry where each unit is separated by deep joints; the surface of each unit is usually very rough.

square rubble masonry

Wall construction in which squared stones of various sizes are combined in patterns that make up courses at every third or fourth stone.

vermiculated masonry

A form of masonry surface, incised with discontinuous wandering grooves resembling worm tracks; a type of ornamental winding frets or knots on mosaic pavements, resembling the tracks of worms.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Freemasonry, a religious and ethical movement that arose in the early 18th century in England and then spread to France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, India, the USA, and other countries.

In Masonry, under the rubric of a moral doctrine proclaiming a “union of people on the basis of fraternity, love, equality, and mutual assistance,” ideas of bourgeois anticlericalism were fused with elements of religious mysticism. The movement originated in England (the creation of the Grand Lodge in 1717). In the Book of Constitutions, compiled by the London preacher James Anderson in 1723, the Mason was instructed to be “neither a foolish atheist, nor an irreligious freethinker,” support the civil authorities, and not participate in political movements. Rejecting church dogma and cult, Masons honor god as the “great architect of the universe” (in the spirit of deism), tolerate (as a rule) any religious faith, and incorporate in their teachings and ritual elements of Christianity, Judaism, and other religions. They (calling each other “brother”) are united in local organizations (lodges); the combined lodges on a national scale form the grand lodge, headed by the grand master. The name, organizational forms (lodge), and hierarchy (apprentice, fellowcraft, master, grand master), as well as symbolic signs (compasses, hammer, plumb, trowel, apron, and gloves) and other traditions, were copied by the Masons from the practice of the medieval guild associations (brotherhoods) of builders and bricklayers, particularly their upper stratum (architects, sculptors, and artists).

Originally the movement was bourgeois in character; in the second half of the 18th century many representatives of the Enlightenment participated in it. As an alternative to the feudal state system and the offical church, Masonry sought to create a secret worldwide organization for the purpose of peacefully unifying mankind in a religious fraternal union. Gradually (especially on the continent of Europe) the movement acquired a more aristocratic character. Elements of mysticism, which replaced the rationalistic spirit of early Masonry, and the striving to link Masonry with medieval knightly and mystical orders (such as Templars and Rosicrucians) gained importance. The earlier, comparatively simple, organization gave way to an increasingly complex hierarchy (involving up to 99 degrees in some Masonic movements), and a pompous ritual was created.

However, the social background of the movement’s participants, the underlying philosophical ideas, and the role of Masons in the political struggle were not uniform but varied significantly from country to country and from period to period. Its adherents included Prussian kings (from Frederick II to Frederick III), many English kings (George IV, Edward VII, and Edward VIII), the Swedish King Gustavus III, many American presidents (from Washington to Truman), the statesmen B. Franklin and W. Churchill, many philosophers and writers (G. E. Lessing, Voltaire, J. G. Fichte, J. W. von Goethe, C. M. Wieland, and J. G. von Herder), and the composers Mozart and Haydn. A. Weishaupt, who in 1776 created in Bavaria the order of Illuminati, tried to transform Masonry into a secret organization based on the ideas of the Enlightenment. In the early 19th century attempts were made to accommodate Masonry to the conspiratorial needs of the revolutionary movement (in Italy and Poland). The popes, who began issuing in 1738 a number of bulls condemning Masonry, carried on a struggle against it from a clerical position; Catholic Masons were excommunicated.

In the 1960’s there were nearly 8 million members of Masonic lodges in the world, of which 6 million were in Anglo-Saxon countries, chiefly the USA and Great Britain (other sources and calculations yield different data regarding the number of Masons).


Gould, R. F. The History of Freemasonry …, 3rd ed., vols. 1-4. London, 1951.
Serbanesco, G. Histoire de la francmaçonnerie universelle, vols. 1-4. Paris, 1963-70.
Bibliographie der freimaurerischen Literatur, 2nd ed., vols. 1-4. Hildesheim, 1964.
The most reliable information on the first Masonic lodges in Russia dates from the beginning of the 1730’s. From the 1730’s through the 1770’s, Masonry functioned as an organizational form for the oppositional dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry) opinion that was independent of the government. The vagueness of Masonic ideals allowed the movement to spread to diverse social circles, ranging from the camp of dvorianstvo reaction (M. M. Shcherbatov) to the raznochintsy, or intellectuals of no definite class (V. I. Bazhenov). The Masons of the 1770’s and 1780’s viewed human nature as something evil and antisocial and human society as an arena of general enmity, and they rejected the necessity for social reforms and revolution. Condemning the existing reality as the kingdom of evil, the Masons offered as a remedy ideals of humanitarian philanthropy. There arose the conception of the peaceful regeneration of the unjust present world into a future kingdom of universal brotherhood through the general education of people, carried out under the aegis of the secret leaders of the order. The duality of the Masonic ideals of those years on the one hand created the illusory appearance of Masonry as something that could serve as an alternative to both revolution and reaction and on the other hand opened the doors to public activity in education and philanthropy. This attracted to Masonry such people as N. I. Novikov, who in the circle of Moscow Masons of the 1780’s occupied a special place. I. G. Shvarts, A. M. Kutuzov, I. V. Lopukhin, and S. I. Gamaleia were also part of the leadership of the Moscow circle.
In the years immediately preceding the Great French Revolution, the striving for realization of the Masonic utopia through the moral regeneration of people and for the solution of the conflict of poverty and wealth by means of alchemic experiments gained added impetus. For certain groups of Masons utopian ideals were of secondary importance, becoming a verbal screen for coming to terms with a landlord-dominated society; others, grouped around Novikov, sought to broaden their activity in support of public education; a third group (A. A. Petrov and N. M. Karamzin) became disappointed with Masonry and broke with it. Masonry was subjected simultaneously to persecution from the right (governmental repression and the mockery of Catherine IPs comedies) and sharp criticism from the left (A. N. Radishchev). In 1792, Masonry was banned in Russia.
Persecution ceased under Paul I, who sought a revival of various forms of medieval hierarchical organizations. The government of Alexander I allowed the Masonic lodges to function, striving to place them under supervision and even to use them for its own purposes. However, the hopes of the government proved to be unjustified, for there soon arose conspiratorial lodges of the “higher degrees,” while Masonry itself turned out to be closely linked with the Decembrists. (P. I. Pestel’, M. F. Orlov, and N. I. Turgenev, for example, retained an interest in Masonry up until the beginning of the 1820’s.) Disappointed with the tactics of conspiracy and shifting toward the idea of a military revolution, the Decembrists broke with Masonry; however, they condemned the ban imposed on Masonry by the government in 1822. In the subsequent history of Russian thought Masonry did not play a significant role, although frequent attempts at resurrecting it were made.


Pypin, A. N. Russkoe masonstvo XVIII i pervoi chetverti XIX v. Petrograd, 1916.
Vernadskii, G. V. Russkoe masonstvo v tsarstvovanie Ekateriny II. Petrograd, 1917.
Masonstvo v ego proshlom i nastoiashchem, vols. 1-3. Moscow, 1914-22.
Piksanov, N. K. “Masonskaia literatura.” In Istoriia russkoi literatury, vol. 4, part 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Bazanov, V. G. Vol’noe obshchestvo liubitelei rossiiskoi slovesnosti. Petrozavodsk, 1949.
Plimak, E. G. “Masonskaia reaktsiia protiv materializma v Rossii.” Voprosy filosofii, 1957, no. 2.
Bakounine, T. Répertoire biographique des francs-maçons russes (XVIII-e et XlX-e siècles). Paris, 1967.
Bourychkine, P. Bibliographie sur la franc-maçonnerie en Russie. Paris-The Hague, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(civil engineering)
A construction of stone or similar materials such as concrete or brick.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Construction of natural building stone or manufactured units such as brick, concrete block, adobe, glass block, or cast stone that is usually bonded with mortar. Masonry can be used structurally or as cladding or paving. It is strong in compression but requires the incorporation of reinforcing steel to resist tensile and flexural stresses. Masonry veneer cladding can be constructed with adhesive or mechanical bond over a variety of structural frame types and backing walls.

Masonry is noncombustible and can be used as both structural and protective elements in fire-resistive construction. It is durable against wear and abrasion, and most types weather well without protective coatings. The mass and density of masonry also provide efficient thermal and acoustical resistance.

Brick, concrete block, and stone are the most widely used masonry materials for both interior and exterior applications in bearing and nonbearing construction. Stone masonry can range from small rubble or units of ashlar (a hewn or squared stone) embedded in mortar, to mechanically anchored thin slabs, to ornately carved decorative elements. Granite, marble, and limestone are the most commonly used commercial building stones. Glass block can be used as security glazing or as elements to produce special daylighting effects. See Brick, Concrete, Glass

Masonry mortar is made from cement, sand, lime, and water. Masonry grout, a more fluid mixture of similar ingredients, is used to fill hollow cores and cavities and to embed reinforcing steel. Anchors and ties are usually of galvanized or stainless steel. Flashing may be of stainless steel, coated copper, heavy rubber sheet, or rubberized asphalt. See Grout, Mortar

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. The art of shaping, arranging, and uniting stone, brick, building blocks, etc., to form walls and other parts of a building.
2. Construction using masonry units of such materials as clay, shale, glass, gypsum, or stone, set in mortar; this term includes concrete masonry units but excludes reinforced concrete.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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