Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

machinery are taught, so as to elevate our mechanics as a class in the scale of intelligence and influence, and add to their personal independence and happiness, while it renders them better and more useful citizens, and so more like our Divine Master, whose youth combined the conversations of the learned with the duties of a mechanic's son, and whose ideas and teachings now underlie the civilization of the world.

It has seemed to me that the establishment of an Industrial Institute, such as it is proposed to found in Worcester, offers a favorable opportunity for attempting to accomplish this purpose, by a measure which will be sure to be in harmony with the design and operations of such an Institution.

Mr. Washburn was explicit in his instructions. In the completely equipped machine shop that he purposed to erect there were to be employed twenty or more apprentices of good moral character, who should "enter into a solemn and satisfactory obligation to become such apprentices for the time prescribed." Under direction of a superintendent, practical teachers and workmen, the apprentices were to be "suitably taught in all the departments of practical mechanism, working of wood and metals, so as to make them so far as may be, skillful workmen, and fitted to carry on business for themselves, after they leave the shop at the expiration of their apprenticeship."

The character of the superintendent and his functions were specified in detail. Although appointed by the trustees, and subject to removal by them, he was to have very broad powers, including the admission and dismissal of apprentices, directing their practice, and making contracts for manufacturing and sales of shop products.

Mr. Washburn realized that the uncertainties of the future might lead to a desire to abandon the plan. He made ample provision for this contingency, but stipulated that it should not be abandoned without a fair and impartial trial, placing the decision in the hands of a judicial board of visitors.

Back of all the carefully studied phrases of the document was the recurring expression of his purpose "to make this a generous charity to poor and deserving young men in aiding them to start in life. " Specific provision was made for the


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999