Modern Blacksmithing Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making
with rules, tables, recipes, etc., useful to manufactures, blacksmiths, machinists, well-drillers, engineers, liverymen, horse-shoers, farmers, wagon-makers, mechanics, amateurs and all others who have occasion to perform the work for which this book is primarily intended. by J.G. Homstrom 1901
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The only thing that will ever elevate the standard of workmanship is education, education and nothing but education. Give us a law that will provide for a certain degree of education before a boy is allowed to serve as an apprentice; and that he will not be allowed to start out for himself until he has served the full term, both as an apprentice and journeyman. And if intemperate, no diploma shall be issued to him. I see now that I was right when I opposed this law.
The horse-shoers of Minnesota are now kicking and cursing the examining board. The National Convention of horse-shoers which was held in Cincinnati passed resolutions which were ordered transmitted to the governor of Illinois, requesting that the board of examiners now authorized to grant licenses to horse-shoers in that State, be changed, as "The board has failed to accomplish the purpose for which it was instituted-the elevating of the standard of workmanship of horse-shoers of that State." Unions are all right in every place where there is only one smith, let that smith unite with himself to charge a living price for his work and he is all right.
Where there are more than one smith unions will only help the dishonest fellow. Such unions live but for a short time and then the smiths knife each other worse than ever. In hard times (and hard times are now like the poor, "always with us, ") a lot of tinkers start in the shoeing and blacksmith business. If they could make a dollar a day in something- else they would stay out, but this being impossible, they think it better to try at the anvil. For them to get anything to do without cutting prices is out of the question, and so the cutting business begins, and ends when the regular smith has come down to the tinker's price. To remedy this we must go to the root of the evil. First, political agitation against a system whereby labor is debased. This is a fact, in spite of all prosperity howling. Whenever there is trouble between labor and capital we will always find the whole machinery of the government ready to protect capital. The laboring men will not even be allowed to meet, but will be dispersed like so many dogs. They are the mob! But the capitalists, they are gentlemen! When the government wants a tailor for instructor in our Indian schools, or a blacksmith for the reservation, they get about $600.00 per year. But, when a ward-heeler wants office he must have $5,000 per year.
What inducement is it, under such conditions, for a young man to learn a trade? Laboring men, wake up! But, as this will bring us into politics I shall leave this side of the question, for it would do no good. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence said: "Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while the evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." The laboring people will, in my judgment, suffer quite a while yet. In the meantime let us build up a fraternity on the ruins of the ancient guilds. Between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries mechanics of all kinds prospered as never before, nor have they done it since. The reason for this was not a high protective tariff or anything in that line, but simply the fruit of the guilds and the privilege they enjoyed from the state.
What we now need is a modern guild. I anticipate there would be some difficulty in securing the legislation necessary, but we will not ask more than the doctors now have. I cannot now go into detail; that would take more room and time than I can spare in this book.