A bressummer, breastsummer, summer beam (somier, sommier, sommer, somer, cross-somer, summer, summier, summer-tree, or dorman, dormant tree) are load bearing beams in a timber framed building. The word summer derived from sumpter or French sommier, “a pack horse“, meaning “bearing great burden or weight“. “To support a superincumbent wall”, “any beast of burden”, and in this way is similar to a wall plate.
- (U. K.) In the outward part of the building, and the middle floors (not in the garrets or ground floors) into which the girders are framed. In the inner parts of a building, such beams are called "summers". It is part of the timber frame construction in the over-hanging upper story in jettying.
- (U. K.) "Horizontal beam over a fireplace opening (alternatively lintel, mantel beam), or set forward from the lower part of a building to support a jettied wall, a jetty bressummer".
- (U. K.) "...usually the sill of the upper wall above a jetty; otherwise any beam spanning an opening and supporting a wall above." also called a "jetty sill".
- (U. K.) Breastsummer is a beam in a wall which carries the load over a large opening derived from breast being in the front, mid-level and summer: "A horizontal, bearing beam in a building; spec. the main beam supporting the girders or joists of a floor...".
- “a main piece of timber that supports a building, an architrave between two pillars“
- "Breast-Summer, an architectural term for a beam employed like a lintel to support the front of a building, is a corruption of bressumer..."
- (U.S.A.) "Summer beam: A large timber spanning a room and supporting smaller floor joists on both sides."
- (U.S.A.) "Summer beam. Heavy main horizontal beam, anchored in gable foundation walls, that supports forebay beams and barn frame above."
In addition, breastsummer (but not bressummer) can also be used to describe a dark shade of green. The name of the color comes from the shade of green of the leaves on the trees that were originally used to build bressummers.
- A Dictionary of the Old English Language
- 1913 Webster
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
- Alcock, N. W.. Recording timber-framed buildings: an illustrated glossary. London: Council for British Archaeology, 1989. G4, 14h, 15b. ISBN 1872414729
- Harris, Richard. Discovering timber-framed buildings. 2d ed. Aylesbury: Shire Publications, 1979. 94. ISBN 0747802157.
- "Breastsummer" def. 1. Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009
- Bailey; Kennett, 1695
- Folk-etymology: A Dictionary of Verbal Corruptions Or Words... quoting Parker's Glossary of Architecture
- Sobon, Jack. Build a classic timber-framed house: planning and design, traditional materials, affordable methods. Pownal, Vt.: Storey Communications, 1994. 191.ISBN 0882668412
- Ensminger, Robert F.. The Pennsylvania barn: its origin, evolution, and distribution in North America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. 392.