Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/492

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standing of the designer's purposes. Taking this view of the situation, it is certainly necessary that talent should he technically tempered.

It is not to he expected that every one learning a trade will become an expert or an innovator; ability to comprehend the requirements of trades are developed in either the shop or the school, hut the regrets so often expressed by those who have grown up from apprentices for their lack of education evinces the limited possibilities of practical knowledge simply, and demonstrates, in a measure, the necessity for an early instruction in the theories, if one thinks to introduce improvements and progressions in his profession.

The want of education, with which most apprentices must contend, interferes in other ways with their progress. The master is apt, in many instances, to exaggerate the difficulties to be overcome, and enlarge upon the mysteries surrounding his work-bench. The doubt this would arouse in an unschooled mind might be fatal to success, and the superstition that there was something impossible for the apprentice to comprehend, is liable to remain with him as a drag-net to his future usefulness, trammel his ambition, and perhaps turn his abilities into a channel less profitable to himself and to the world.

Technical schools, adopting as they do a different course, impress the students with the comparative simplicity of business, and give them the feeling of ability to grasp and utilize the intricacies and peculiarities of the trades. That which is formidable to the uninstructed becomes a bagatelle to those familiar with the details and with those who have an intelligent theoretical acquaintance with the governing principles. It is true, this theoretical knowledge can not provide for all emergencies that are likely to occur in the workshops, but it lays a foundation which will aid the student, when those emergencies present themselves, in comprehending and overcoming the difficulty; and it is a question we would be loath to decide in the negative, whether or not a mechanic, who, after being educated in a technical school, had had a reasonable experience in a shop, would not find a readier and more effective remedy for an accident than one who had been brought up in a shop and lacked school training.

Another consideration worth noting is the comparatively short time during which a man improves his skill in the trade or art he may have adopted. The Technical Commission of Great Britain sets the period at from ten to fifteen years as a maximum, and this may be regarded as a reasonable estimate for the time at the end of which progress in the individual ceases; and, such being the case, it is proper to give at the outset all the helps toward developing talent that are attainable. Technical education may be one of these helps.

If it were possible to acquire theory and practice at one and the same time, its desirability would be indisputable, but, we imagine, this in its true sense is impracticable. The practice obtained in technical