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Manual training : the solution of social and industrial problems online

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to use tools in several kinds of metals. We were so fort-
unate as to secure the services of a very competent and
enthusiastic instructor, who confined his instruction mere-
ly to teaching the use of tools, but without any pretence
of teaching any trade. The result of two years' experi-
ence has been so satisfactory that our boys leave the col-
lege to go to workshops, where they secure sufficient
wages to support them at once ; and they have, in many
cases, been found so expert that in a few months their
wages have been increased. We have been so encour-
aged by this as a substitute for apprenticing lads, which
is fast becoming impossible, that we have just erected
commodious workshops [laboratories], in which, on the
same system, but to many more boys, we propose to teach
the use of tools in wood-work also, as we have hereto-
fore taught in metals. To this time we have been com-
pelled, from want of facilities, to confine our instruction
to a*bout one hundred and seventy-five boys. We expect
next month (October, 1884) to increase the number to


three hundred only being limited by the youth of the
pupils, many of whom are too young to permit of their
handling tools."

Manual training has been made part of the curriculum
of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Auburn,
Ala., and the department is under the direction of a grad-
uate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.*

Manual training has been adopted as a branch of edu-
cation in the Denver (Col.) University, and the director
of the department is a graduate of the manual training
department of the Washington University of St. Louis,

The present year (1885) witnesses a very important
addition to the list of manual training schools that of

It is not too much to say that Mr. James MacAlister
has revolutionized the public schools of Philadelphia in
the short period of two years during which he has held
the office of superintendent; and the last wave of the
revolution reveals a fully-equipped manual training school
as part of the public-school system of the conservative,
grand old Quaker city. And this practical element in
education is to be free to all public-school boys fourteen
years of age, who can show themselves qualified to en-
ter, as witness the following " rules " of the Philadelphia
public schools :

" Promotions to the Manual Training School shall be
made at the close of the June term, from the Twelfth

* George H. Bryant, B.S., graduate of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, class of 1883.

f C. H. Wright, B.S., graduate of the St. Louis Manual Training
School, class of 1885.


Grade, or any higher grade, of the Boys' Grammar, Con-
solidated and Combined Schools; but no boy shall be
promoted who is under fourteen years of age.

" It shall be the duty of the Principals of the several
Boys' Grammar, Consolidated and Combined Schools, to
certify to the superintendent of schools the names of all
boys of the proper age who have finished the course of
study in the Twelfth Grade, or any higher grade, and are
desirous of promotion to the Manual Training School."

In calling the attention of the public to the establish-
ment of a manual training school as part of the educa-
tional system of Philadelphia, a committee of the City
Board of Education say, under date of June 10, 1885,

" The undersigned desire to call attention to the new
manual training school to be opened in this city next
September. It is intended for boys who have finished
the Twelfth Grade, or any higher grade, of the Gram-
mar-school course. The instruction will embrace a thor-
ough course, so far as it goes, in English, mathematics,
free-hand and mechanical drawing, and the fundamental
sciences; but in addition to these branches a carefully
graded course of manual training will form a leading
feature of the school. This manual training is intended
to give the boys such a knowledge of the tools and ma-
terials employed in the chief industrial pursuits of our
time as shall place them in more direct and sympathetic
relations with the great activities of the business world.
The school will make our public education not only more
complete and symmetrical in character than it has been
heretofore, but it will be at the same time better adapted
to enable the pupils to win their way in life. No matter
what future a parent may have marked out for his boy
whether he be intended for an industrial, a mercantile, or


a professional occupation, it is believed that such an edu-
cation will be of immense advantage to him. Upon the
industries of the world, to a much larger extent than ever
before in its history, depend the progress, the prosperity,
the happiness of society. To prepare boys for this con-
dition of things will be the aim of this school. The en-
tire course of instruction and training will be practical
in the largest and best sense of that term. The culture
it gives will include the hand as well as the head, and
its graduates will be trained to work as well as to think.
The course will extend over a period of three years, but
it is so arranged that boys whose intended pursuits in
life will not warrant spending so much time may partici-
pate in its advantages for a shorter period before enter-
ing upon other studies or a permanent occupation.

" The Manual Training School has been organized in
response to a growing sentiment respecting the character
of public education which has been strongly manifested
in Philadelphia, and the Board of Public Education be-
lieve that the movement, when fully understood, will
meet with the cordial approval of our people. Your
careful consideration of the nature and objects which
the school seeks to accomplish is respectfully solicited."

This act of the school authorities of the city of Phila-
delphia is the strongest popular endorsement the theory
of manual training as an element of education has re-
ceived. It commits a great city to a fair trial of the new
education under the most favorable auspices under the
conduct of Mr. James MacAlister, one of the most ac-
complished, as well as most sternly practical educators
in the United States.

But this is only part of a general system of manual
training introduced throughout the whole course of in-


struction given in the public schools of Philadelphia.
There are kindergartens (sub - primaries) for children
from three to six years of age, and an industrial art
department for all the students (of both sexes) of the
grammar schools. In this latter department the course
of training comprises "drawing and design," "model-
ling," " wood - carving," " carpentry and joinery," and
" metal work." These courses, including manual train-
ing proper, " at the top," form a comprehensive system
of head and hand training known as the new education.
Mr. MacAlister says, " The conviction is gradually ob-
taining among the members of the Board of Education
[of Philadelphia], and in the public mind, that every
child should receive manual training ; that a complete
education implies the training of the hand in connection
with the training of the mind ; and that this feature
must ultimately be incorporated into the public educa-
tion. "What is this but the realization of the principles
which every great thinker and reformer in education
has insisted upon, from Comenius, Locke, and Rousseau,
to Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Spencer !" *

* In a recent letter to the author, Mr. MacAlister re-enforces the
observations quoted in the text. He says,

" I wish you to understand that all my own convictions and action
in connection with this movement are based upon what in my judg-
ment should constitute an education fitted to prepare a human being
for the social conditions of to-day, and not merely upon the industrial
demands of our time. ... I believe there is a great future for the
manual training movement in Philadelphia. I feel encouraged to go
forward with the work. The great principles which underlie the
system are with me intense convictions; tJiey mean nothing less than
a revolution in education. The great ideas of the reformers of school
training must be realized in the public schools, or they will fail in
accomplishing the ends for which they were instituted and have been


The rapid progress of the revolution in education is
shown by the fact that manual training in some form
has been adopted in certain of the schools of at least
twenty-four of the States of the American Union.

In some of the higher educational institutions the new
education is warmly welcomed, while in others public
sentiment alone compels its adoption. The State Agri-
cultural and Mechanical College of Texas has been rev-
olutionized in this way. A member of the Faculty*
writes as follows :

" This institution was opened on the 4th of October,
1876. In spite of its name, the conditions of its endow-
ment, and its avowed object, it was founded on the plan
of the old classical and mathematical college, and had
no industrial features whatever till the beginning of the
year 1880. At that time the public sentiment of the
State had condemned so decidedly and repeatedly the
misappropriation of the funds, and perversion of the en-
ergies of the college under its administration as a literary
school, that the directors found it necessary to reorgan-
ize it by accepting the resignation of the members of
the faculty without exception, and calling in a new corps
of instructors. In 1880-81 a large dormitory building
was converted into a shop [laboratory]. This was fitted
with tools for elementary instruction in wood-working
for the accommodation of about fifty students. A small
metal - working plant was also erected, the whole being
furnished with power from a twelve-horse-power engine.
Since that time a brick shop [laboratory] has been pro-
vided for the accommodation of the metal-working ma-
chinery, which now includes the principal machines used

* H. H. Dinwiddie, Professor of Chemistry, Chairman of the Faculty.


in ordinary iron-working, all driven by a twenty-horse-
power engine."

Massachusetts, the cradle of the American common-
school system, is the first State to legalize by statute the
new education, placing manual training on an equal foot-
ing with mental training, by the following act :

" Section I. of Chapter XLIV. of the Public Statutes,
relating to the branches of instruction to be taught in
public schools, is amended by striking out in the eighth
line the words 'and hygiene,' and inserting instead the
words ' hygiene and the elementary use of hand-tools ;'
and in any city or town where such tools shall be intro-
duced they shall be purchased by the school committee
at the expense of such city or town, and loaned to such
pupils as may be allowed to use them free of charge,
subject to such rules and regulations, as to care and cus-
tody, as the school committee may prescribe." *

The Legislature of Connecticut adopted a similar stat-
ute last year (1884).

The Iowa Agricultural College is the first educational
institution in the country to recognize the importance
of instruction in the arts of home life. In this college
domestic economy has been elevated to the dignity of a
department called the " School of Domestic Economy,"
with the following " special faculty :"

The President, Mrs. Emma P. Ewing, Dean. Domestic Economy.
J. L. Budd Horticulture and Gardening.

A. A. Bennett Chemistry.

B. D. Halsted Botany.

D. S. Fairchild . Hygiene and Physiology.

Laura M. Saunderson Elocution.

* "School Laws of Massachusetts, Supplement to the Edition of
1883, containing the Additional Legislation to the Close of the Legis-
lative Session of 1885; issued by the State Board of Education."


The course of study is as follows :


First Term.

Domestic Economy.


Physical Training.

Household Accounts.

Second Term.
Domestic Economy.
Physiology and Hygiene.
Dress-fitting and Millinery.


First Term.

Domestic Economy.
Duties of the Nurse.
Designing and Free-hand Draw-
Landscape and Floral Gardening.

Second Term.
Domestic Economy.
Home Architecture.
Home Sanitation.
Home Esthetics and Decorative

Essays and Graduating Thesis.

Mrs. Ewing, dean of the school, thus states, clearly
and powerfully, the reasons for its establishment and its
purposes :

"This school is based upon the assumption that no
industry is more important to human happiness than that
which makes the home ; and that a pleasant home is an
essential element of broad culture, and one of the surest
safeguards of morality and virtue. It was organized to
meet the wants of pupils who desire a knowledge of the
principles that underlie domestic economy, and the course
of study is especially arranged to furnish women instruc-
tion in applied house-keeping and the arts and sciences
relating thereto to incite them to a faithful performance
of the e very-day duties of life, and to inspire them with
a belief in the nobleness and dignity of a true woman-

" No calling requires for its perfect mastery a greater


amount of practice and theory combined than that of
domestic economy, and students, in addition to recita-
tions and lectures on the various topics of the course,
receive" practical training in all branches of house-work,
in the purchase and care of family supplies, and in gen-
eral household management. They are not, however,
required to perform a greater amount of labor than is
necessary for the desired instruction.

" The course of study is for graduates of colleges and
universities. It extends through two years, and leads to
the degree of Master of Domestic Economy." *

The Le Moyne Normal Institute of Memphis, Tenn.,
is a private school, "sustained chiefly by benevolently
disposed people at the North, for colored youth." In a
letter to the author the principal of this school thus de-
scribes the manual features of its curriculum :

"Besides our Normal work proper, we give girls of
the school two years' training in needle-work of different
kinds, one year's instruction in choice and preparation of
foods, with practice in an experimental kitchen, and six
months' training in nursing or care of the sick. One
hour a day is given to each of the foregoing subjects for
the time indicated.

"I am about to erect workshops for training for our
boys in the use of wood-working tools, and in iron-work-
ing and moulding the course to comprise two years'
time, two hours per day at the benches. We shall also
have type-setting and printing as specialties for individ-
ual students. This work will be in operation in Janu-
ary, 1886." f

* Annual Catalogue of the Iowa Agricultural College,
f A. J. Steele.


The professor in charge of the Mechanical Engineer-
ing Department of the University of Michigan writes to
the author as follows :

"There can be no doubt in the mind of a sane man
that this practical instruction [laboratory work] is exact-
ly what is needed by our engineering students. We are
assured of that fact by the expression of gratification on
the part of our engineering alumni to find here the very
instruction which they were obliged to spend two or
three years to secure after graduating. We give our
students work of an elementary character for a few
weeks, or until they become accustomed to tools, when
we put them to work on some part of a machine. If
they spoil it, well and good it goes into the scrap-heap ;
if they succeed, they have the pleasure of seeing a per-
fect machine grow up under their eyes and hand. Stu-
dents having matured minds, as most of ours have, work
better with a definite plan in view. We always require
them to work from drawings. Our course in forging is
very popular ; and it is especially useful, as it gives our
young men that knowledge of the different kinds of iron
and steel which will be of the greatest benefit to them
as engineers." *

The National Educational Association of the United
States, at its last meeting, at Saratoga Springs, N". Y.
(1885), took a great step forward in the adoption of a
resolution f endorsing the kindergarten. The association
was, however, singularly illogical in its subsequent ac-

* Mortimer E. Cooley, Assistant Engineer, U. S. Navy.

f ' ' Resolved, That we trust the time is near at hand when the true
principles of the kindergarten will guide all elementary training, and
when public sentiment and legislative enactment will incorporate the
kindergarten into our public-school system."


tion, in voting to lay upon the table a resolution* recom-
mending the introduction of manual training to the pub-
lic schools. The kindergarten and manual training are
one in principle, and should be one in practice. All
educators will soon see this, and the National Education-
al Association will no doubt soon place itself as heartily
on record in support of manual training as it has already
done in support of the kindergarten.

Ohio ranks as the third State in the Union industrially,
and she is making great strides in the direction of a more
practical system of education. This is shown by the
prominent place given to instruction in the mechanic
arts in the State University at Columbus, by the pros-
perity of the Case School of Applied Science, and the in-
troduction of manual training to the public-school sys-
tem at Cleveland, and by the establishment of the Scott
Manual Training School at Toledo. The city of Toledo
owes the inception of the movement in support of the
new education to the munificence of the late Jesup "W.
Scott, who during his life conveyed to trustees for pur-
poses of industrial education, in connection with the
public-school system, certain valuable real estate. After
the death of Mr. Scott, his three sons,f still residents of
Toledo, supplemented their father's donation with a suf-
ficient sum of money to secure the erection and com-
plete equipment of a manual training school for three
hundred and fifty pupils.

The school is modelled after the schools of St. Louis
and Chicago ; but it gives only the manual side of the

* "Resolved, That we recognize the educational value of training
the hand to skill in the use of tools, and recommend that provision
be made, as far as practicable, for such training in public schools."

f William F., Frank J., and Maurice Scott.


curriculum, because it is conducted in connection with
the public High School, receiving its pupils therefrom.
It opened in the autumn of 1884 with sixty pupils, ten
of whom were girls. Its register now numbers two hun-
dred, fifty of whom are girls. Its course for boys is sub-
stantially the same as that of the Chicago school. The
course for girls includes free-hand and mechanical draw-
ing, designing, modelling, wood-carving, cutting, fitting,
and making garments, and domestic science, including
food preparation and household decoration. A distin-
guished lawyer and citizen of Toledo,* who has been
prominent in the work of establishing the school, says,

" The brightest and most faithful pupils of the High
School have eagerly availed themselves of the opportunity
for manual instruction, and the zeal with which this new
work is pursued has added a new charm to school life."

The school is in charge of Mr. Ralph Miller, B.S., who
is assisted by Mr. Geo. S. Mills, B.S.f It is especially
interesting, both as the newest educational enterprise and
because it places the sexes on a footing of absolute equal-
ity. Reform in education must begin with woman, for
it is from her that man inherits his notable traits, and
from her that he receives the earliest and most enduring
impressions. In the arms of the mother the infant mind
rapidly unfolds. It is in the cradle, in the nursery, and
at the fireside that the child becomes father of the man.
The regeneration of the race through education must,
then, begin with the child, and be directed by the moth-
er ; and this being the fact, the education of woman be-
comes far more imperative than that of man.

* Hon. A. E. Macomber.

f Graduates of the St. Louis Manual Training School, class of 1884.


That the ancients made so little progress in morals is
due to the fact of their neglect of the education of wom-
an. Neither in Egypt nor Persia was provision made
for her mental or moral training. There were schools
for boys in Greece, but none for girls ; and not till late
in the Empire was there any special culture for girls in

In the Middle Ages learning was confined to the relig-
ious orders. The narrow bounds of the convent con-
tained all there was of science and art. In the castle
and at the tournament woman ministered to man's pride
and vanity ; and in the peasant's hut, which was the
abode equally of poverty and ignorance, she endured
both mental and moral starvation. Sir Walter Raleigh,
Lord Bacon, Swift, Addison, Lord Chesterfield, Dr. John-
son, and Southey treated woman with mingled contempt
and pity, and yet they were familiar with the story of
Lucretia, of Virginia, and of the Maid of Orleans ! But
Shakespeare, with a sublimer genius, portrayed a Cor-
delia, a Desdemona, an Imogen, and a Queen Catharine,
and with rare prevision of a future better than the age
he knew, wrote these glowing lines :

" Falsehood and cowardice
Are things that women highly hold in hate."

This is the rational age, though not less truly chival-
rous than that of Arthur and his knights ; for, as Ruskin
well says, "The buckling oh of the knight's armor by
his lady's hand is the type of an eternal truth that the
soul's armor is never well set to the heart unless a wom-
an's hand has braced it." *

* "Sesame and Lilies," p. 97. By John Ruskin, LL.D. New
York: John Wiley & Sons, 1884.


The distinguishing features of this time are its homes
and its schools, and the purity of the one and the effi-
ciency of the other depends upon woman. It was re-
served for Froebel to rescue woman from the scorn of
preceding ages by declaring her superior fitness for the
office of teacher the most exalted of civil functions.

The growth of the kindergarten has not been com-
mensurate with its importance. Indifference and preju-
dice have united to discourage progress. Ancient con-
tempt of childhood that contempt which in Persia
excluded the boy from the presence of his father until
the fifth year of his age * projects its sombre shadow
down the ages. But manual training, which is the kin-
dergarten in another form, is leading captive the imagi-
nation of the American people, and where the imagina-
tion leads, woman is in the van. Woman is to man
what the poet is to the scientist, what Shakespeare was
to Newton, the celestial guide. She tempts to deeds of
heroism and self-sacrifice. She is less selfish than man,
because a more vivid imagination inspires her with a
deeper feeling of compassion for the misfortunes and
follies of the race. Her intuitions are truer than those
of man, her ideals higher, her sense of justice finer, and
of duty stronger ; and she has a better appreciation of
the moral value of industry, remembering the tempta-
tions of her sex to evil through, habits of idleness, en-
forced by the decrees of custom. And she is our teach-
er, whether we will or no our teacher from the cradle
to the grave and it is through her ministry that we arc
destined to realize our highest mental and moral ideals.

This sketch of the history of manual training in the

* "Herodotus," Clio I, p. 136.


United States is doubtless incomplete. It is, however,
sufficient to show that the subject is already one of
absorbing interest in all parts of the country.

Manual training in the public schools of Europe can
scarcely be called educational, since the pupils usually
make articles for household use. The purpose is purely
industrial, and hence the mental culture received in the
course of the manual exercise is the mere incident of a
mechanical pursuit. But the making of things in the
schools of Europe is gradually extending.

In Denmark an annual appropriation ($2000) is made
by the Legislature for the encouragement of slojd (hand-

Online LibraryCharles Henry HamManual training : the solution of social and industrial problems → online text (page 25 of 30)