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in architecture, furniture, and decorative objects, a surface or group of surfaces of projecting or receding contours. A molding may serve as a defining element, terminating a unit or an entire composition (e.g., in the cap of a column or the crowning cornice of a building) or establishing a boundary or transition between portions of a design. One of the primary considerations in the design of a molding is the type of shadow it will cast. The shape of a molding is termed its profile or section. Moldings formed an important part of most past styles; in Babylonia, Assyria, and Persia, however, their place was taken by flat ceramic enrichments in color. In Egypt, moldings were limited to the cove, or cavetto, and the half round, or torus, which, used together, formed the cornices for the walls of temple or pylon. Moldings were an essential feature of Greek orders and buildings. The Greek profiles form the basic molding vocabulary for classic types such as the fillet and the fascia, flat vertical surfaces; the ovolo, of an egglike convex outline; the bead and the torus, both convex, three fourths of a circle and one half, respectively; the cavetto, a quarter circle, and the scotia, of elliptical curvature, both concave; and the cyma recta and the cyma reversa, both of compound curvature, being half concave and half convex. The ovolo was carved with the alternating egg and dart; the acanthus leaf and the anthemion were used for the cyma recta, or ogee, and the water leaf for the cyma reversa. Roman designers, substituting simple segments of circles for the elliptical and parabolic curvatures, never attained the beauty of Greek forms, although in ornament they added numberless innovations. In Byzantine architecture the tendency was to flatten the classic outlines, transforming them into bands of pierced enrichment. Romanesque moldings were chiefly simple segments of a circle, as in the especially characteristic boltel, or three-quarter round. Moldings changed with the development of Gothic architecture. Cornices, jambs, archivolts, and capitals show a richly varied interplay between projecting rounds and deep concavities. In the late Gothic (15th cent.) of France and Germany there were ingenious combinations of differing elements to produce broken, merging, and interpenetrating moldings. In developed Gothic a rich assortment of naturalistic forms appeared, e.g., flowers and intertwining vines. The Renaissance return to purely Roman forms was followed in the baroque by heavier, projecting moldings, which cast dramatic shadows. Later a wide variety of styles was employed, but since the 19th cent., decorative molding has been little used in modern architecture.
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A decorative profile that is given to architectural members and subordinate parts of buildings, whether cavities or projections, such as cornices, bases, door and window jambs and heads.

backband molding

A piece of millwork used around a rectangular window or door casing to cover the gap between the casing and the wall, or used as a decorative feature.

band molding

A small, broad, flat molding, projecting slightly, of rectangular or slightly convex profile, used to decorate a surface, either as a continuous strip or formed into various shapes.

bar molding

A rabbeted molding applied to the edge of a bar or counter to serve as a nosing.

base molding

A molding used to trim the upper edge of an interior baseboard.

bead and reel molding

A classical molding consisting of alternate small, egg-shaped beads and semicircular disks set edgewise.

bead molding

A narrow wood drip molded on one edge against which a door or window closes, a stop bead; a strip of metal or wood used around the periphery of a pane of glass to secure it in a window frame.

beak molding

A molding ornamented with carved birds or fantastic animal-like heads or beaks.

bed molding

A molding or group of moldings that support the corona of a classical style entablature, often made up of a bottom ogee, a band, a quarter round, and a top band; a similar molding used as the bottom of a cornice.

beveled molding

Milled molding with an inclined plane surface.

billet molding

A common Norman or Romanesque molding formed by a series of circular cylinders, arranged alternately with notches in single or multiple rows.

blind stop molding

The molding used to stop an outside door or window shutter in the closed position.

bolection molding

A molding projecting beyond the surface of the work which it decorates, such as between a panel and the surrounding stiles and rails; often used to conceal a joint when the joining surfaces are at different levels.

cable molding

An ornamental molding formed like a cable showing twisted strands; the convex filling of the lower part of the flutes of classical columns.

calf’s-tongue molding

A molding consisting of a series of pointed tongue-shaped elements all pointing in the same direction or toward a common center when around an arch.

cant molding

A square or rectangular molding having the outside face beveled.

cap molding

Trim at the top of a window or door; above the casing trim.

cavetto molding

A hollow member or round concave molding used in cornices and column bases, containing at least one quadrant of a circle in its profile.

chain molding

A molding carved with a representation of a chain.

corner bead

A vertical molding used to protect the external angle of two intersecting wall surfaces; a perforated metal strip used to strengthen and protect an external angle in plaster work or gypsum wallboard construction.

cove molding

A concave or canted interior corner molding, especially at the transition from the wall to a ceiling or floor.

cover molding

Any plain or molded wood strip covering a joint, as between sections of paneling, or covering a butt joint.

crenellated molding

A molding notched or indented to represent merlons and embrasures in fortifications.

crown molding

Any molding serving as a corona or otherwise forming the crowning or finishing member of a structure.

cyma molding

A molding that has a profile with a double curvature, or ogee.

cyma recta molding

A molding of double curvature that is concave at the outer edge and convex at the inner edge.

cyma reversa molding

A molding of double curvature that is convex at the outer edge and concave at the inner edge.

cymatium molding

The crowning molding of a Classical cornice, especially in the form of a cyma.

dovetail molding

A molding consisting of decorated fretwork in the form of dovetails.

drip molding

Any molding so formed and located as to act as a drip.

drop molding

A panel molding recessed below the surface of the surrounding stiles and rails.


An egg-shaped ornament alternating with a dart-like ornament used to enrich ovolo and echinus moldings and also on bands.

fillet molding

A molding consisting of a narrow flat band, often square in section; the term is loosely applied to almost any rectangular molding, usually used in conjunction with other moldings or ornaments.

flush bead molding

A molding whose surface is on the same plane as that of the wood member or assembly to which it is applied.

flush molding

An applied door or window molding that is flush with or below the surface of the rails and stiles.


An ornament in the form of two or more bands that are twisted together in a continuous series, leaving circular openings that are filled with round ornaments.

half-round molding

A convex strip or molding of semicircular profile.

hollow molding

A concave, often circular molding; a cavetto.

hollow square molding

A common molding consisting of a series of indented pyramidal shapes having a square base, found in Norman architecture.

hood mold

The projecting molding of the architrave over a door or window, whether inside or outside; also called a dripstone.

indented molding

A molding with the edge toothed or indented in triangular tooth-like shapes.

lattice molding

A wood molding, rectangular in section and broad in relation to its projection, resembling latticework.

medallion molding

A molding consisting of a series of medallions, found in the later examples of Norman architecture.

notched molding

An ornament produced by notching the edges of a band or fillet.

ovolo molding

A common convex molding consisting of a quarter circle in section.

pellet molding

Any small, round decorative projection; one of a series of small, flat disks or hemispherical projections.

quarter-round molding

A convex molding, with a projection that is exactly or nearly a quarter of a circle.

quirk bead molding

A molding containing a bead with a quirk on one side.

quirked molding

A molding characterized by a sudden and sharp return from its extreme projection or set off and made prominent by a quirk running parallel to it.

raised molding

A molding that extends above the adjoining surface, such as applied door moldings that overlaps and covers the joints between panels and the rails and stiles.

raking molding

Any molding adjusted at a slant, rake, or ramp.

reed molding

A small convex molding, usually one of several set close together to decorate a surface.

reticulated molding

A molding decorated with fillets interlaced to form a network or mesh-like appearance.

roll molding

Any convex rounded molding, which has a cylindrical or partially cylindrical form.

rover molding

Any member used as a molding that follows the line of a curve.
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.



a contoured woodworking lath (bar, plate) designed for covering grooves in joints (such as those between a floor and a wall), projecting ribs and edges, such as those in furniture, and so on. Moldings also include pieces for rounding off internal and external angles of machine parts, casting forms, and the like. Moldings simplify production and treatment of parts and prevent crack formation in places of joining.



an elongated architectural element of various sections (profiles) that usually appears horizontally on a socle, a cornice, a string course, or the base of a column. Some moldings are inclined (pediment cornices), curved (archivolts, ribs), or broken (door and window frames).

Moldings are most widely used in architecture employing the classical orders. They reflect the distinctive stylistic features of the stone architecture of different peoples and epochs and, for that reason, are often regarded solely as architectural decoration. In a number of instances, however, moldings serve to emphasize the structural design of a building.

Moldings acquired special significance in ancient Greece. Together with the classical orders, they were borrowed by Roman architecture and, later, by Renaissance architecture and European architecture of subsequent periods.

In modern architecture the term “profile” tends to replace the word “molding” in reference to metal, concrete, and wooden elements on the facades of buildings (transoms and the frames and string courses of curtain-wall panels). By slightly altering the combination, curvature (classical moldings were either rectilinear or curvilinear in section), and projection of moldings, architects are able to vary the effect created by the top or base of a building and alter the relationship between a building’s various parts. For example, the projection and height of the molding emphasize the heaviness or lightness of the parts of the building above the molding.


Sultanov, N. Teoriia arkhitekturnykh form: Kamennyeformy. St. Petersburg, 1903.
Mikhailovskii, I. B. Teoriia klassicheskikh arkhitekturnykh form, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1944.
Shoe, L. T. Profiles of Greek Mouldings. Cambridge, Mass., 1936.




in founding, the process of producing the mold used to obtain a casting. Hand molding is used primarily for single castings and for short-run production; machine molding is used in series, large-lot series, and mass production.

Hand molding may use casting patterns (for both pit molds and flasks), sweeps, skeleton patterns, and mold cores.

Pit molds are used to produce large, heavy, single castings. In pit molding, pits and concrete caissons that protect the mold from groundwater are constructed in the floor of the shop. A layer of gas-permeable material, called the bed, is placed on the bottom of the pit and caissons. Soft beds of friable mixtures of sand and clay are used in the production of small castings; they feature vents, formed in the sand by a curved, steel vent pin, for carrying off gases formed during molding. Hard beds made of slag or similar materials are used in the production of large, heavy items; their gas vents are formed by steel pipes. Pit molds may be open or closed. In the former, the mold is completely below the level of the floor; in closed molds, the lower half of the mold is beneath the floor level, and the upper half is exposed. Such two-piece molds are used when the upper surface of the casting must meet more stringent specification for surface roughness. The disadvantages of pit molding are high labor input and poor casting accuracy.

Hand molding in flasks is used to obtain small sets of castings of a single type. Sweep molding is advantageous in the production of large, single castings that have the form of bodies of rotation, such as basins, covers, and pulleys; the technique makes it possible to replace expensive patterns made of solid wood with flat, wooden, figured templates that, when rotated about a spindle axis, form the cavity of the casting mold. Skeleton molding is a type of template molding. In this case, the bulky pattern of solid wood is replaced by a shaped frame, the cavity and cells of which are filled with molding sand prior to the molding process. Core molding is used to produce castings with very complicated designs when pattern molding is not economical. The outer and inner outlines of the casting are formed by cores constructed in prefabricated metal or nonmetal jackets.

Machine molding permits the partial or complete mechanization and automation of the operations for the production of molds and ensures higher quality and accuracy of the castings. Machine molding is done on various molding equipment, including automatic transfer machines.


Sosnenko, M. N., and B. K. Sviatkin. Obshchaia tekhnologiia litei-nogoproizvodstva. Moscow, 1975.


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


A continuous contour surface of rectangular or curved profile, used on a plane surface such as a wall to effect a transition or create a decorative effect by the play of shadow and light on it.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


sections of classical moldings: A, cavetto; B, congé; D, cyma recta; E, quarter round; F, ovolo; G, echinus; H, cyma reversa; I, half round; J, torus; K, thumb; L, half hollow; M, fillet; N, bead; O, scotia; P, cavetto; Q, scape; R, cyma recta; S, cyma reversa; T, ovolo
A member of construction or decoration so treated as to introduce varieties of outline or contour in edges or surfaces, whether on projections or cavities, as on cornices, capitals,
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(US), molding
a. a shaped outline, esp one used on cornices, etc.
b. a shaped strip made of wood, stone, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Schroder; and "New demolding concepts for the injection molding of microstructures," R.
Miniature Plastic Molding will show its new "Wasp" Mini-Jector for small production runs of 100 pieces.