Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

and gear cutting. The shop also produced screw machines, grinding machines, mandrils, drills and fixtures. Pattern making, scroll sawing, wood turning, and the production of builders' finish were carried on in the wood shop. As specialties, the shop introduced the construction of apparatus for chemical and physical laboratories.

The part played by students in this manufacturing program was explained by Charles H. Morgan, who from the first was the most enthusiastic and helpful advocate of the shop. "We have found it to their advantage and to the success of our shop," he said, "to employ them at woodwork for the first year, in making small articles that require but little material. We gauge their capacity at the least expensive work and we find that boys make quite as much advancement in working iron during the term for having had this practice in the wood shop. Drawing tables and models are made by students. The senior class works on speed- and engine-lathes, employed at such parts as they can do to the best advantage."

Shop instruction was in charge of capable mechanics who insisted on thorough workmanship. M. P. Higgins not only superintended the whole program but taught machine work in the "iron room." His brother, 0. M. Higgins, an experienced woodworker, was instructor in the "wood room."

Principal Thompson had announced in his inaugural address that the standard set in the shop would be high. "Work done by apprentices solely cannot be first-class work and nobody will buy it in the open market; a shop where second-rate work is done is not the place for boys to learn. The work produced will be the best of its kind." This he reiterated later in an article written for Henry Barnard. "A very serious objection to 'trade school' and 'manual labor departments' both at home and abroad has been that boys had not an opportunity to see or attempt the best kind of work. Miscellaneous jobbing and slatternly work are not the models for a boy to study, nor are second-rate workmen his proper instructors. Nothing is too good for a boy."


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