Time for another MissPres AWOTW! I gathered up a couple of definitions to help fully define our word this week. Some of our examples photos come from the MDAH HRI database.
The Elements of Style by Stephen Calloway and Elizabeth Cromley definition fits our two examples, from Natchez and Oxford respectively, below.
Quoins: (koin, kwoin) the dressed (finished) stones at the corners of a building.
Audels Masons and Builders Guide #1 definition fits the majority of the examples I found on the MDAH HRI
Quoins: (koin, kwoin) Projecting courses of brick at the corners of buildings as ornamental features.
Respectively Mississippi has some great examples that are not made from stone or brick. These three examples are made from wood, terracotta, and concrete.
Cyril M. Harris’s Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, defines as such:
Quoin, Coign, Coin (koin, kwoin) In Masonry, a hard stone or brick used, with similar ones, to reinforce an external corner or edge of a wall or the like; often extinguished decoratively from adjacent masonry; may be imitated, for decorative purposes, by wood that has been finished to look like masonry.
Some times quoins are all equal size like our examples such as the Old Post Office in Pontotoc or Glen Auburn in Natchez. Although looking at the cross-section of our buildings, Mississippi prefer their Q to alternate in size.
The definition I found to be most descriptive while being succinct was from Lester Walker’s American Homes:
Quoin (koin, kwoin) A rectangle of stone, wood, or brick used in vertical series to decorate corners of buildings.
One interesting fact that I found in all the definitions is all they refer to Quoins as being on corners and Cyril Harris’s definition specifically states that the Quoins are for an external corner or edge. I was not able to find any Quoins on inside corners.