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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/436

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a special class of arts. There are arts which deal with wood, stone and iron (lifeless elements), arts that deal with living things, and arts that deal with organized groups of men, or societies. Hence there are three grand divisions of the arts corresponding to the three grand divisions of the material world. Simplifying our terminology, we may call them the physical arts, the vital arts and the social arts.

The physical arts are relatively the lowest. The material upon which they are employed is passive. It 'stays put.' The principles underlying these arts are extremely simple. The mechanical principles, for instance, are seven in number. They may indeed be reduced to two—the lever and the inclined plane. Historically probably, as well as analytically, the art of making and using tools comes first. The primitive man who chipped his arrow-head from a piece of flint, and fashioned the shaft of his arrow from a stick of wood, employed art. He was an artist. If in the practise of his art he manifested no sense of beauty, it was due to the pressing demands of the more imperative desires rather than to the absence of the esthetic sense. What birds and beasts, and even insects, possess must have been present in the lowest of men. Archeology shows that even the cave-dweller tried his hand occasionally at the purely decorative arts. But the first arts were the hand arts—manufacture, in the strict sense of that word.

As intelligence increased, and inventive genius was applied, hand-making grew into machine-making. The machine is a combination of tools in the operation of which a natural force, like wind, water, steam or electricity, is usually employed. The machine arts are more complex than the hand arts. Their social potentiality is greater. Their object, like that of the hand arts, is not necessarily the production of articles of vulgar utility only. It may be idealistic in the highest degree. The various fine arts must fall under one division or the other. Hand-making (manufacture) and machine-making (machino-facture) completely cover the realm of the physical arts. Under the first are the manual occupations (handicrafts), and under the second the mechanical occupations, imperfectly designated 'the trades.'

Now, the physical arts that minister to the vulgar wants, or needs, of mankind have reached a high degree of perfection. They are to-day the theater for the display of the highest reaches of inventive genius. A watch, a locomotive, a printing-press, are marvels of ingenuity. We do not wonder that untutored men have worshiped a watch as a superior being. A printing-press, working automatically, will print, fold and deliver twelve thousand twenty-four-page papers in an hour. Machines in almost every industry turn out articles which in quantity, regularity and delicacy of form could not possibly be produced by hand. But the object of these arts has been quantity rather than quality, mercantile utility rather than beauty. Salability has been their main