Copyright
Me.) York Institute (Saco.

Publications (Volume 3) online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryMe.) York Institute (SacoPublications (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


-^^



7



\L> \n




LIBRARY OF CONGRESS




013 997 161 9



HoUinger

pH S3

Mm Run F03.2193



F 29

Y6 Y7
V. 1

no. 2
Copy 2



Y0IlRlpiTeTEPUBLipO((S.



VOL. 1. NO. 2.



IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,



B'sr



EDWIN F. SMALL.



SACO, MAINE:

PRESS OF THE BIDDEFORD JOURNAL.

1884.



INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS.

Vol. I. No. 2.



INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION

IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,

BY

EDWIN F. SMALL.



TEN CENTS.



Other similar societies are requested to exchange
publications. Address

Corresponding Secretary,
York Institute,

Saco, Me.



® ■ _ ®




^



m



^pDtt



,C/^



VOL. 1. NO. 2.



IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,



B^2-






EDWIN F. SMALL



!>-^



SACO, MAINE:

PRESS OF THE BIDDEFORD JOURNAL.



1884.



u



2-5



V .-i-



Industrial Education in Public Schools.

Address delivered Feb. 13, 1884, before the Society.

Ladies and Gentlemen : —

In selecting the above subject on which to prepare a pa-
per for the York Institute I feel there is no necessity for
making any apology, as the purpose and aims of this So-
ciety embrace, among other things, all schemes for the
promotion of educational interests. The present aspect
of public school education is attracting more and more the
attention of all classes, both in this country and in Eu-
rope, and great improvements have either been adopted or
suggested for greater efficiency in our school system with-
in the past few years.

It has been said by some educators, only recently, that
the public school instruction is for the few rather than for
the many, and that its methods are designed more for the
well-to-do classes than for the poor. The general impres-
sion has got abroad that the instruction commonly given
in our high schools fits a youth for a clerk-ship in a store
rather than for the technical work of a trade.

However that may be, an effort has been made by
influential persons in some of our larger cities to sup-
plement the ordinary instruction given in the common
schools by a certain amount of mental and physical train-
ing in the different branches of industry.

One very successful enterprise has been started in Bos-
ton by benevolent and philanthropic ladies, which has for
its main object the furnishing free of cost to all poor girls



V



practical instruction in the various duties of household
work. On one or two afternoons of each week these chil-
dren are gathered together in a room properly fitted up
with all the necessary requirements, and under a compe-
tent and skilled instructress are taught to make, open and
air a bed, to sweep and dust a room, to set a table, wash
the dishes, cook, and iron, and whatever else is required
to make a model servant or housekeeper.

The advantages, both moral and material, to the poorer
classes from this teaching are incalculable, and the result
of a few years of such work has well justified the charity
which prompted the efi'ort.

A movement is now on foot in the city of Boston to in-
troduce this species of industrial training into such of the
public schools as are necessary to give the plan a fair trial,
and to see what results will accrue from it. Again, in sev-
eral of our leading cities, a system of technical and scien-
tific instruction, combining theoretical with practical train-
ing has been successfully established, with the design of
preparing young men from sixteen to twenty years of age
for the duties of an active life, "which is broader and
brighter than the popular method of learning a trade, and
more simple and direct than the so-called liberal education."
"It is the well-considered opinion of all who have had inti-
mate knowledge of the working of this system that the
connection of academic culture and the practical applica-
tion of science is advantageous to both, in a school where
these objects are started together and carried on with har-
mony and equal prominence." "The Academy inspires its
intelligence into the work of the shop, and the shop,
with eyes open to the improvements of productive in-
dustries, prevents the monastic dreams and shortness
of vision that sometimes paralyze the profound learn-
ing of a college." One such school has lately been es-
tablished in St. Louis, in connection with Washington



University, but has ii difl'crent course of study and a differ-
ent building. Boys can enter at fifteen and stay three
years, when they are fitted to earn their own living in sev-
eral trades. The first year they work two hours a day in
the carpenter's shop, with instructions given by a college
graduate, and a practical earpenter. The soooud year they
work the same length of time in the blacksmith shop, and
the third year in the machine shop. The course of study
keeps along with their work, and also the drawing. So
that the boys can make what they can draw and draw what
they have studied about.

Leaving for a moment the matter of a higher technical
training in the practical arts and sciences, let us look at
the needs more particularly of our own community, and
at the advantages to be derived from a public school in-
struction in the ordinary branches of human industry.

It is a Prussian pedagogical maxim that "whatever you
would have appear in the nation's life you must put into
the public schools," and it is just as true of the smaller
lite of a town or village.

What is the object of education ? Not merely the amount
of knowledge that can be crammed into the mind for four,
six or eight years of boyhood or girlhood, but the proper
and harmonious developeraent of mind and body by such
teaching as will draw out the latent powers within. Every
child, of course, should be taught the elementary branches
of reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, geography and
o-rammar in the primary and intermediate schools of the
land. But when the question comes, shall we continue
this free system in the high schools and academies, add-
ing the higher branches of learning, and perhaps a classi-
cal training, then we ought to pause and consider, whether
such a course is for the best interests of the community at
laro-e or for the few who are able to enjoy and profit by
this advanced education.



It is just :it this poiut that I tinink a new departure
should lake place and instead of the ordinary methods now
in voffue there should be substituted a course of industrial
traininof, fitting the youth for the duties of active life.
Such a course would begin after leaving the grammar
school, and only those admitted to it who showed such
natural ability and proficiency as to make it desirable. The
course itself should include the higher mathematics appli-
cable to the mechanical arts, one or more of the modern
languages, free hand drawing, drafting, some physical
science, and sufficient practical familiarity with a trade as
will secure a fair livelihood to the graduates.

The need of some such free instruction will be obvious
to any one who considers the great demand made to-day
for skilled mechanics in all departments of manufacturing
and industrial pursuits, as well as the lack of means
among our laboring classes for giving their boys the time
required for an education. A large majority of boys whose
parents are working people cannot afford the time involv-
ed in a high school course and the additional years neces-
sary to learn a trade. Therefore they are usually taken out
of school at the end of the intermediate course and placed
as apprentices in some shop, or set to work in a store or
factory where they must earn their own living. The re-
sult is that unless they are naturally gifted they will never
rise above a mediocre position in their calling, and never
attain a due rank in society, because of lack of early and
sufficient education. They are unfitted for the position of
foremen or superintendents, seldom become master work-
men, and are deficient in that intelligence and culture which
enables them to enjoy the society of cultivated persons, or
the higher works of literature and art. If they could be
taught the principles of some mechanical trade, like the
machinist's or the carpenter's, with sufficient practice to
make them good workmen, and be instructed in the theory



as well, they would be enabled to euter upon their life's
work with minds developed and hands skilled, and thereby
earn a better living and attain a higher place in the social
world than they could otherwise possess.

There is no country in the world where the demand for
skilled mechanics, or the compensation for skilled work is
so great as in the United States. Our manufacturing in-
terests are yet in their infancy, and with the almost unlim-
ited natural resources of our favored country, there is no
IDrospect of any sudden lessening of this demand, but
rather of its gradual and sure increase. The vast West
is even now attracting daily large numbers of our active
and able young men, and with her beds of coal and iron,
gold, silver and copper threatens to compel the East to re-
linquish some of her prosperous industries. How then
shall New England keep her lead in manufactures, engi-
neering and the industrial arts? She must undoubtedl\-
maintain schools of applied science, in which artisans, su-
perintendents, agents and engineers may be thoroughly
trained in the principles and practice of their trades and
professions. Here in our own State, in which manufact-
uring and ship-building are the chief interests, we have
three colleges providing what is called a liberal education
for her sous while we have nothing worthy of the name of
a University of Technology . *

The time has gone by when it is thought derogatory for
a young man of education and ability to learn a mechani-
cal trade, and already many of our college graduates are
turning their attention to these pursuits in preference tt)
the so-called liberal professions.

If the State wishes to develope her resources, increase
her manufactories, keep her sons from going outside of
her boundaries to seek their fortune, she must provide



*NoTE. — This is not intended to reflect in the least on the excellent a;;
ricultural College at Orono, supported by the State.



s

them with the means of industrial educntion at hotne, hy
establishing schools of the arts and sciences. An appro-
priation annually luader from' the State towards this end
Would, in my opinion, he money wisely expended. A
central University, where both the theory and practice of
agriculture, meeiianical and civil eng'iueering^, and the
physical' sciences, together with a thorough course in liter-
ature and modern languages eould be the curriculum,
would be a most important step in tlwi material welfire of
the State, and one that would l>e appreciated' and prized
hy theyoirng men who ask for such training.

We have a need for better educated mechanics, not tO'
make them^ dissatisfied with their calling, but to stimulate
them to greater efficiency and tboroughuess in their re-
spective trades.

A boy with a taste for mechanics, either natural or ac-
quired, is forced to-day, by bis slender resources, to be-
gin work for his livelihood before his mind is developed,
or his hands trained, and being thus checked in the com-
mencement of life, will never be anything better than a
journeyman worker. Let the same boy go through a course
of educational training, such as I have been describing,
for three years before entering the workshop or factory,
and in nine cases out of ten he will rise step by step to
a position of honor and influence in his chosen career,
while his moral and social surroundings will be commensu-
rately higher. For, though I can only hint at these latter
advantages, yet they are deserving of much consideration.
What is the reason why so many of our ordinary mechan-
ics are morally and socially, as well as physically on a
lower plane than our college educated men? Is it not
largely through lack of that culture and knowledge which
a liberal education gives, and which teaches one the man-
ners and usages of society, the self-respect and self-confi-
dence which is unabashed in the presence of others, and



9

the moral and healthful amenities which help to form a
true gentleman ? A trained and educated mechanic will
rather spend his evenings and holidays in edifyiutr read-
ing or in good social recreations, than in frequenting bar-
rooms or loafing in the street. He will want his home
life pleasant and cheerful, will take due care of his own
health and that of his children, will not treat his wife as a
slave or servant, and his children as brats, will seek for
companions equal to himself, in fact will be more of a man
and less of a brute, by reason of that mental trainino-
which is his best preparation for life's duties.

"The relationship between ignorance and vice is patent
to all men, but just where the connection lies is one of
the most difficult of social problems. No man can be
classed with the ignorant who knows any one branch of
useful knowledge well and thoroughly. Science is tend-
ing to specialties, and art to technicalities. In all trades,
business and professions, a man without some definite,
practical knowledge, uow-a-days, is to all intents and pur-
poses ignorant, unless his intelligence has been so cultiva-
ted that he is ready to learn whatever is current. The day
of Jacks of all trades who are masters of none is gone by
in the rush of human progress. Mechanics who have
"picked up" their trades are set to tending machines.
English lords and baronets are seriously betaking them-
selves to trades, arts and sciences, in sheer dread of rind-
ing their ocucpation of noblemen gone. As to the pres-
ent common school system its grand error lies in assumin<^
that all men have equal capacity, and in undertaking to do
for the multitude what it is only possible to do for the few.
It is an error which results in fiUino: the heads of the youno-
with a smattering of knowledge, which the philosophers
call a bad thing, and with an enormous conceit which is
much more dangerous." "Our cities are full of common
school graduates who despise manual labor, and scramble



10

by the hundreds for places behind the counter. It would
be an interesting question to know how many of these or-
namental and not useful graduates tind their way to our
prisons, reformatoiies, and alms-houses." I have taken
these last few paragraphs from a published article on igno-
rance and education, because they bear somewhat forcibly
upon my present point. In answer to the inference which
might be drawn from them, I think a public school train-
ing in one or more branches of industrial pursuits would
mitigate the evil influences implied.

It is no doubt necessary to the safety of a republic that
its voters should have the rudiments of education, to be
able to read, write, and think for themselves. Beyond
these rudiments the masses of the people will not go. But
for those who have the desire and ability to go further it
is of the greatest importance that means should be provid-
ed by the State or Nation. What the nature of that la-
ter training should be is the question we are considering.
For some the College and University will always be at-
tractive, and for them a proper preparation is necessary.
But for others some kind of manual labor will be their
chosen task. Why should not a course of preparation and
training in our public schools be given, the results of
which will more than repay the State for its expenditure?

As to the details of such a course experience and cir-
cumstances must decide. In many towns only one trade
could perhaps be taught. In others a greater number,
according to the means appropriated. The particular in-
dustries of any city or town would determine the question
in that place, while in others the demand would indicate
what would be most necessary. In answer to the objec-
tion that industrial training would require additional teach-
ers and enlarged accomodations, as well as greater facili-
ties for shop-practice than what our present sj'stem re-
quires, I would say, would not the results be worth the



11

cost? And even if at first it would be impossible to ob-
tain shop-practice or the tools and machines required for
experiments, could not the principles of a trade be taught,
and their working exhibited by models or by diagrams,
and could not the problems of mathematics be so adapted
to practical questions as to enable the pupil to get a pretty
clear idea of what he will be required to do in after life?
At any rate, certain time could easily be taken for instruc-
tion and practice in free-hand drawing, which would always
be found useful in almost every trade.

But I think if proper attention were given to this mat-
ter by the school boirds and educators many of these im-
agined difficulties would fade away. In a city like ours
.'irrangoments could probably be made with some machino
shop or wood-room where a few boys could have the op-
portunity to practice cert:iin hours under a competent
work-man in real manual work, until some better ar-
rangements could be perfected. And if, as it seems prob-
able in the near future, a suitable academy can be estab-
lished here, which will unite with the present High School,
then some such plan as I have suggested in this paper
might be carried out. The city would appropriate such
sums as it could afford, and individuals in the town and
county might be inclined to generously endow an academy
or school of industrial education. The tendency is, I
think, rather in this direction than in the line of mental
training only.

I have in my mind a school of technology which has
been successfully managed for fifteen years, provided by
the liberality of public-spirited and wealthy men, so as to
furnish a theoretical and practical education free to quali-
ified boys in its own county in five branches of industrial
art. These are mechanical and civil engineerin"-, draw-
ing, physics and chemistry. The course in mechanical
engineering includes instruction in theoretical mechanics.



12

applied mechanics, and practice. In theoretical mechan-
ics the principles of statics and dynamics are taught and
illustrated in the solution of a wide range of problems,
and the same thing is done in applied mechanics relative
to the strength, capacity and energy of various kinds of
machinery. The practice is secured in a well-fitted ma-
chine shop, equipped with the best tools and machinery
for the working of wood and iron, which is managed by a
superintendent who employs a sufficient number of skilled
workmen.

"The capital fact which underlies any sound scheme for
school shops is that machinery is to have a constantly in-
creasing share in the conversion of matter into useful
forms. The educated mechanic must understand the prac-
tical limits of mechanical production and all the possible
ways in which these limits can be extended. He must
know by practice how to design, construct and assemble
the parts of a machine, as well as how to finish its product
by skillful handiwork. The power of the engineer to de-
cide up'jn general principles the best form and material for
a machine and to calculate its parts, is vastly increased by
blending with it the skill of the craftsman in manipulating
the material."

It is found by experience that the graduates of this
school in the department of mechanical engineering are
as skillful mechanics as ordinary apprentices who have
served three years in a shop, and they have in addition the
advantages of a solid education.

Now though such an elaborate system cannot be expect-
ed in many of our towns as part of the public school in-
struction, I have thought it best to mention its general
plan and outline in order to show what has been and is
being done in the matter of industrial education. I am thor-
oughly convinced, from intimate knowledge and inquiry,
that if a technical school could be established in every



T3

ccrty of 20,000 inhabitants, and in every county where t'hft
Qjopulation was hirge enough and the necessities required,
rit would be of incalcuhible advantage to the younoj mea
.residing in that locality and of great benefit to the com-
■Tnunity at large. It would be the naeans of developing
-the power aad faculties of the youths while it would awak-
en a healthy rivalry and competition among the different
manufacturing concerns who require skilled workmen.
There would be no need of sending abroad for trained en-
:glneers, designers oi* foremen. But we should l)e con-
•stantly supplying the demand from our home resources and
:at the same time offering to (rtir young men facilities fora
«ound and thorough education which woald largely increase
their chances of success.

To recur a raiment to a point already alluded to. Why
«houl<l not equal prominence be given in our common
school system to the principles aad practice of a trade as
is afforded for a classical and college preparation ? There
is not a high school in the land but what gives all who de-
sire it the preparation necessary for a collegiate educa-
tion, while there is not one, to my knowledge, that in-
structs boys or girls in any branch of mechanical industry.
And yet the number who are obliged to work at a trade is
very much greater than the number who enter college.

If the principle underlyins: our public school system is
the preparing of youth for active work in all departments
of human industry, then it stands to reason that the eye
and hand should be as well trained as the brain.

Every student in our high schools should receive dail}'
instruction in free hand drawing for at least a part of their
course so that discipline of the ideas of form and propor-
tion may be secured, and the student when he undertakes
shop-work may make more rapid and satisfactory progress
than he could do if he had not had the advantage of this
training. And again, the hours devoted to practice in the



14



work-shop will serve the double purpose of teaching BaB'-
its of regularity and of furnishing a du« amount of physi-
cal exercise.

In what has been already said it may aeem to some that
too much stress is laid upon one branch of industrial pur-
suits, viz : that of Df>echanical eufi-ineerino:. To this I
would answer by saying that the principles of mechanics
and the skill required in manipulating machinery enter
largely into every department of manual labor. Whether
a boy intends to be a machinist, or a carpenter, or a black-
smith, or a farmer, the knowledge of mechanics and their
application to industry, as well as the aptitude in handling
tools will be indispensable requisites in the pursuit of their
chosen calling. We shall never have the best specimens
of farming till we have intelligent and well traincid farm-
ers. A practical and theoretical education in the princi-
ples of agriculture is as necessary to-day as in any profes-
sion or vocation. In understanding the nature and ingre-
dients of soils, in the art of breeding the best stock, in the
use of labor-saving machinery, in the due rotation of
crops, and in the improvement of farm buildings an edu-
cation based upon experience and practical training is
imperatively demanded. And the same thing is true in
every department of industry. The world is making great
and rapid advancement in the cultivation of the arts and
sciences, and whoever wishes to be abreast of the times
must keep his eyes and ears open, and study diligently the
best methods of performing a given work.

W^hen we consider that the value of the railroad prop-
erty in the United States alone is over $500,000,000, or
more than half as much as the value of all the farm prop-
erty, and remember that this represents an immense body
of skilled workmen in all trades and industries, we can
see what a wide field is open for well-trained young men
to get steady and remunerative employment. If our com-



15

imoii ^cIkjoIs furnisljed free of cost the elements of niec"han-
Hcs and a practice based thereupon, there is no question
il)ut what their graduates would quickly find congenial and
%vell paid work throughout this great country.

A demand comes every year to all the technical schools
of onr land for young men trained and educated in some
branch of industry to take charge of machine shops, to
eiauage mines and factories, to act as superintendents or
foremen, to analyze metals and assay minerals, toplan and
ky out railroads, to be engineers on steam-ships and loco-
iiiiotives, in fact to occupy places of influence and useful-
ness in every branch of industrial work.

There is again a vast and increasing field of employ-^


1

Online LibraryMe.) York Institute (SacoPublications (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 2)