Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/491

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TECHNICAL EDUCATION.

By A. CURTIS BOND.

THE general increase in schools of design, technical schools, and like institutions, has created no little comment, and given rise, to some extent, to opposition.

It is a difficult matter to reconcile the differences between the opponents and those who favor this form of instruction, for the reason that the question, in a measure, is one of pecuniary interest to both parties.

There are many instances in which technical education may justly be claimed to be a necessity, and naturally, in those professions which demand a knowledge or a character of schooling, that can be more thoroughly conveyed by means of that which instructs in the theories of a craft or art, as distinct from its practice.

In the case of the architect, for example, nature may indicate the urgencies of the profession; it provides for the beautiful, for the attractive features, but the details it avoids; teachers must show the mechanical portions of the work, and instruct in the principles which make the building possible and form a support for the decorative exterior. The necessity of such teachings was recognized by early nations, and in their architecture and designing its value was taken into consideration, and its spirit must have existed among the early Aryans, as its materialized form did with the skilled and finished draughtsmen of Egypt and Greece.

We may easily realize the increased need of technical training to-day over the necessity of two thousand years ago. At that time, the artist himself did the work, the actual labor; he evolved the idea and executed it, the brain that conceived the thought guided the hand that gave that thought substance and shape. Every touch of the chisel imparted life, for the spirit of the worker went into the stone, and it was molded and shaped by the genius of the thinker. Now it is mechanical: the artist originates, others execute, and this execution must follow patterns, designs, plans. No scope is given the workman; he is bound by lines beyond which he dare not go, and his fancy, if he has any, serves naught in the creation of his subject; drawings control this creation, and the living translator of those drawings, from what was in the past an intelligent reasoner, has become in the present an automatic machine.

Disposing thus of a man's individuality, some means are essential to convey the thought of the designer into the hand of the worker, and customs have grown and laws have been adopted that will serve as a sort of mental telegraph between these two—laws which govern the flight of the artist's fancy and instruct the artisan in an under-