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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/219

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pupils have learned but one métier, and are in general better adapted for small businesses than for large, their repute for steadiness, skill, and general intelligence is such that the patrons have little difficulty in placing their pupils when their term of apprenticeship is over, and usually in circumstances where their earnings are about the average. The same testimony is borne everywhere concerning the apprentices of this establishment; and the writer was informed by M. Véver, President of the Syndical Chamber of Jewelers, of Paris, a gentleman greatly interested in the question of technical education, and possessing every opportunity of forming an accurate opinion, that the boys of Saint Nicolas are so much more intelligent and steady than the average of workmen that they are sought for by employers, and at the age of thirty have usually risen to the position of foreman or master.

The third type of apprenticeship school is that of the École Professionelle attached to the large and flourishing printing establishment of MM. Chaix et Cie. This school, founded in 1862 by M. Napoleon Chaix, receives two groups of pupils, the apprenticed compositors and the apprenticed printers of the house. The schoolroom and the apprentices' composing-room, though contiguous to and overlooking the great busy atelier of the firm, are distinctly separate from it. The apprentices, of whom there are between thirty and forty, devote most of their time to the practical work of composing, two hours a day only being allotted to lessons in the schoolroom. Apprenticeship lasts four years, during the whole of which time the apprentices receive wages rising from fifty centimes to two francs fifty centimes for the compositors; and for the printers, who work at the machines in the great atelier under the direction of a responsible master, from seventy-five centimes to four francs fifty centimes a day. The teaching comprises a special primary course for those whose previous schooling has been insufficient; a technical course, including grammar and composition, reading of proofs and correcting for the press, the study of different kinds of types, engraving, and the reading and "composing" of English, German, Latin, and Greek—in the two latter cases from a purely typographical point of view, without any attempt to understand or to translate; lastly, a supplementary course which includes the history of printing, simple notions of economics, a little mechanics and physics, and a smattering of chemistry, dealing chiefly with the materials that they will hereafter employ—acids, oils, fats, carbon, soda, turpentine, etc. Everything is done with the utmost system. Every line set up by a pupil is, if possible, so much contributed to the current work of the firm; and, as time exercises are frequent, the value of rapidity in work is learned. At the end of the apprenticeship the pupils elect—almost without exception—to become employees of the firm, and enter at once into the rank of participants in the yearly division of profits. Of nearly seven hundred persons employed, two hundred and fifty-eight