This section is from the "Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management" book, by Oscar E. Perrigo. Also see Amazon: Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management.
Effective planning. Congenial surroundings. "The brain room." Proper design and furniture. Natural lighting. Artificial lighting. Location of the drawing room. The necessity for photographic facilities. Blueprinting facilities. Drawing tables. Chief draftsman's office. Desk for the chief draftsman. Filing case for drawings. Filing case for tracings. Filing case for blueprints. The dark room. The lavatory. The water-closets. The lockers. Plan of a drawing room with vault. Plan of offices on first floor when vaults are needed. The blueprint room. Blueprint frames and stands. Automatic washer for blueprints. Blueprint drying racks. The extension of drawing room facilities.
Brains are more important than hands; ideas are more sought after than things; the conception of that which we are to do, of that which we are to develop or to build, to produce and to sell, are first in the natural order of conducting all manufacturing operations, or of entering into any line of the world's trade and commerce. The plan is the first and important matter, and to plan well and wisely we must have the best ideas obtainable. These ideas and conceptions have many and far-reaching results and consequences, both as to a matter of mechanical and of financial success. Good ideas, properly developed and elaborated, may mean the beginning of years of business success to the owners or the promoters of the enterprise; while defective and ill-considered plans may mean practical ruin or thousands of dollars wasted in fruitless work.
But to plan well, to bring out the best ideas of the men whose duty in life is to study and think and plan the work that others are to perform, men should be placed in proper and congenial surroundings, which may inspire them to conceive and bring out the very best ideas of which they are capable, just as in any other line of human effort we make the conditions as favorable to success as we can if we are to expect good results.
The drawing room of the machine shop has often been facetiously called "the brain room," by those who have little conception of its real usefulness in the manufacturing establishment. Yet this is precisely what it should be, if it is properly organized, equipped, and has the right quality of men in its working force. And nowhere in the whole establishment is there more need of men of original thought; of men with ability to "see the point," to grasp the situation and make practical use of ideas and suggestions as they present themselves; and to take apparently worthless plans or devices and develop them into that which is mechanically good and financially profitable.
These conditions making the drawing department one of the most important in the whole establishment, it naturally follows that in its location and equipment much thought and care should be exercised so that all the conditions and surroundings should be of the best, as to their kind and their adaptation to the particular class of product which the establishment is to turn out. By this we do not mean that the drawing room should be expensively or luxuriously fitted up. Its design may be comparatively plain and yet architecturally and artistically correct and agreeable. Its furniture may be simple and yet appropriate, and serve its purpose as well as that costing several times as much. Dark-colored woods should not be used, owing to the fact that their color absorbs so much light. We should choose, rather, light-colored woods such as oak, ash, birch, or even white pine varnished, according to the amount available for the work. The walls may be wainscoted or sheathed up to about the height of the tables, but above this line they should be finished with a plain, white surface. The ceilings should also be white. A hard finish of what the plasterers call "adamant" is very durable and may be rendered still more so by painting with oil paint, several coats of which should be put on, in preference to kalsomining.
The windows should extend from the height of the drawing tables entirely to the ceiling. They should be provided with two curtains, one reaching from the top of the window down to the center, and a second one reaching from the center down to the bottom. The men working directly in front of the windows should only handle the lower curtain; and those in the center of the room have charge of the upper curtain. The curtains should be white, or nearly so. Instead of curtains some prefer ribbed glass, as it does not admit a glaring light in any one place, but is very useful in diffusing the light over the whole room, and the appearance of the room is much better than where curtains are used. Some prefer plain glass for the lower portion of the window and ribbed glass for the upper portion.
Electricity is the favorite artificial light, and the incandescent lamp seems to be the proper one. The question of whether we shall use enough of these, placed high up, to flood the whole room with light, or have them low down and under the control of each individual, is still discussed with fairly good reasons on both sides. Probably a majority of draftsmen will prefer the individual lamps which they can place in any position best calculated to aid them in the particular kind of work in hand.
Some of the more important conditions in reference to the location and construction of the drawing room are these: It should be away from the noise and bustle of the machine shop, yet near enough to make the latter readily accessible. It should be directly connected with the pattern shop as it is so intimately associated with it in many of the preliminary operations. It should be readily accessible from the offices. It should have plenty of fresh air and be well ventilated at all seasons of the year. In winter the heating system should be such as to maintain as even a temperature as possible. It should be well lighted, by natural light by day, and a proper artificial light during the hours which make it necessary. It should be provided with proper facilities for photographing machines, or any of the articles produced by the shops. It should have connected with it, but not installed in it, facilities for blueprinting, where an abundance of light is available at all hours of the day. It should be provided with proper facilities, not only for making drawings and tracings, but for indexing them, for issuing and receiving them, and for safely preserving them from fire or other injury. In the descriptive matter which follows and the drawings illustrating it, the effort has been made to meet all of these conditions in a practical and economical manner, and on such a plan as will provide drawings, tracings, blueprints, etc., for small or large plants, or for a large variety in the product to be manufactured; as will be pointed out in detail later on in this chapter.