The competition of labor is not a new subject, yet it is so important that it can rightfully be given frequent and earnest attention. The feature now to be considered is the changes which have taken place in many manufacturing processes, whereby the opportunities for thoroughly learning a trade have virtually passed away. Even the few places which provide for apprentices, cannot give the variety of instruction once afforded - even required - of every youth. In the machinists' trade, chipping and filing, forge work, key-fitting, etc., are such a small part of the work that only a smattering of such work can be given. Special and automatic machines, jigs, etc., make much of the work so easy that a few months' experience will enable any intelligent man to earn the usual wage paid for that class of work.
This specialization of work does not mean, however, that the first-class, all-around machinist is no longer in demand, for just the reverse is the case. There is a dearth of skilled mechanics having the training and judgment necessary to properly fill such positions as foremen, superintendents, etc. The cause for this peculiar state of affairs is that the change in methods has been so rapid that the workman's side of the case has not received due attention.
It is useless to attempt a revival or extension of the old apprenticeship system. Why this is so, cannot here be stated owing to lack of space. New educational methods, which will supply the deficiencies of the shop must be supplied, and these methods must be extensive and thorough. Beginning at a comparatively early age the educational work must be progressive and practical, and in accord with actual shop methods. Completing such a course of instruction, the youth can then enter a shop with confidence that progress will be sure and rapid.
Owing to the difficulties reported by many readers in obtaining parts for induction coil-making, we are arrangeing to offer as premiums the supplies most difficult to obtain, and hope to be able to make definite announcement of the conditions in this issue. We are sure this will be greatly appreciated by all interested in coil making.
We are frequently in receipt of letters in which the wish is expressed that this magazine be issued weekly or semi-monthly. We are deeply grateful for these evidences of regard for our work, but we are inclined to doubt whether the increased cost of more frequent issues would be generally acceptable to our readers. We think the situation will be best met by increasing the size of each issue, leaving the number as at present, and we are confident, from the splendid subscription returns during the last half-year, that a substantial increase in size can be made in the Fall. If each subscriber would send us one additional subscription, the increased size would be forthcoming in short order. Let each one do his part.
There is more iron produced than any other metal. Copper is next and lead follows. Then come zinc, tin, nickel, silver, gold, quicksilver, aluminum and platinum in their order.