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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/222

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and actively industrious the lads toil at their work, and three foremen suffice for the efficient superintendence of the hundred! Above is the carpenter's shop, where an equally numerous clientèle are equally hard at work. Here, too, we find originality of design and thoroughness of execution. Several of the machines—for example, a ribbon-saw—were made in the establishment, and were among exhibits of the school which attracted so much notice in the central pavilion of the Exposition Universelle of 1878. The first exercises in carpentry and in turning are literally exercises; useful to the last degree to their constructor, but of no marketable value. Here one realizes one advantage possessed by this municipal school over those in which the atelier is simply the workshop of a great business. In the early stages, when workmanship is very imperfect, it is not always well to strive to produce a salable article. Better waste wood, says the superintendent of the shops, than spoil the making of a good apprentice. Better to let the young workman see something of all the different corners of his trade, than by too fine a division of labor to keep him all his years learning only to shape chair-legs. And he is right, if the general look of intelligence and workmanlike style of his young charges afford any indication of their capability of well fulfilling the career they have chosen. From seven in the morning to seven in the evening are the hours of school, with an hour's intermission for dinner, and two shorter recesses. Work over, they disperse to their separate homes, for there is no boarding. M. Müller points out that the cost of setting up these shops, with all their tools and appliances, has been at the average rate of $55.75 for each of the one hundred and seventy-five places nominally provided in the accommodation of the school; while each of the present two hundred and twenty-one pupils, as he passes through the school, costs the municipality on the average an annual sum which is, as it happens, almost equal, namely, $55.50, instruction included. When the extensions of the buildings now in progress are completed, a very slight increase of total cost will suffice to extend the benefits of the school to a much greater number of pupils. The school property and furniture have already cost the city of Paris 750,000 francs ($150,000), including the lands and buildings, and the school is costing it 60,000 francs ($12,000) a year for working expenses. To set against this are the sums received for work sold, and the value of the instruments, models, and appliances fabricated in the school, and employed either in the school itself or handed over to one or other of the municipal schools, and which must amount to many hundred dollars yearly.

We have dwelt at some length upon this school, inasmuch as, regarded from the point of view of practical results, it appears to present by far the nearest approach to the ideal of an apprenticeship school. Not ignoring what is so valuable in consideration of the circumstance that the training is to be a preparation for after-life—the commercial value of the time and labor—it differs from the Institution