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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/217

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system of beveled gearing-wheels; but nothing more marketable. The genial director, M. Laubier, enters heartily into the work of his pupils. He has himself designed and executed many of their exercises—the plaster casts, the geometrical models, and the ingenious scholastic appliances of the institution. He thinks his school to be the type of the elementary school of the future. He has need to be an enthusiast, to train successfully his fifty apprentices and his two hundred non-working children on a grant not exceeding sixteen hundred dollars a year, salaries, tools, and materials included. He upholds the rotation system, believing extreme division of labor to be at this stage prejudicial to the development of the youthful faculties. He does not want to sell the produce of his workshops, as the construction of objects which would be made to sell would not afford so good a training for his boys. He admits that they do not work so rapidly as apprentices who have been brought up amid the hourly exigencies of trade; but he adds that he prefers cultivating their intelligence to quickening mere manual dexterity; that will come later. And what are the results? "Our apprentices," says the director, "being at once fit for useful work on entering the factory, are less often employed to run errands; they are better treated, steadier. I could tell you of young lads of fifteen who are actually earning two francs and a half, and two francs seventy-five centimes a day, and who in six months more will be paid as regular workmen."

The Institution de Saint Nicolas, in the Rue de Vangirard, is the oldest of the schools, having been founded in 1827. It is under the exclusive management of a religious guild known as the Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes, who devote themselves entirely to education. In this truly remarkable establishment there are eight hundred and ninety boys, all children of artisans, all boarders. Of this number, about two hundred are apprentices who come here to learn their trade. None are admitted who can not already read and write. The greater part of the day is given up to manual work, only two hours being reserved for schooling on three days of the week, on the alternate three days the two hours are devoted to drawing. On entering the premises the visitor is first introduced into a sort of little museum, in which are exhibited articles made by the pupils of the establishment—a truly surprising collection to have been executed by little fellows from eleven to fifteen or sixteen years of age. Here there are picture-frames, bronzes, panels carved in oak, wood-engravings that would not discredit either the “Graphic” or the “Illustrated”; farther on, in another handsome case, are telescopes, leveling instruments, a model engine, a saxhorn, and a trombone; and, in yet another, some exquisitely neat engraved maps, some of them executed on commission for the Government, together with the medals they won in Paris, Vienna, and Philadelphia. A varied assortment it would seem, and indeed the system under which such works are produced is without a parallel