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

Blacksmiths Tax Continued

ONE thing is certain, we have a hard row to hoe, because, this is a government of injunctions, and any law on the statute book is in danger of being declared unconstitutional, according to the biddings of the money power, or the whim of the judges. One tyrant is bad, but many are worse. I am no prophet, but will judge the future from the past. History will repeat itself, and Christ's teachings will be found true: "A house divided against itself cannot stand"

I will say so much, however, that no man should be allowed to start out for himself before he has served three years as an apprentice and two or three years as a journeyman. This should be proved by a certificate from the master for whom he has worked. This certificate to be sworn to by his master, one uninterested master and himself. No apprentice to be accepted without a certificate from the school superintendent that he has a certain knowledge in language and arithmetic and other branches as may be required. It shall not be enough to have worked a few days each year, but the whole time. With these papers he shall appear before three commissioners, elected by the fraternity and appointed by the governor of the State. He shall pay not less than ten and not more than twenty-five dollars for his diploma. All complaint shall be submitted to these commissioners, and they shall have full power to act. If a practitioner acts unbecoming, runs down his competitor, charges prices below the price fixed by the fraternity, or defrauds his customers, such shall be reported to the commissioners, and, if they see fit, they can repeal or call in his diploma and he shall not be allowed to practice in the State. These are a few hints on the nature of the modern guild we ought to establish. The fraternity should have a journal edited by one editor on literature and one on mechanics, the editor on mechanics to be a practical blacksmith with not less than fifteen years' experience. The editors are to be elected by the fraternity. This is all possible if we can get the legislation that the doctors have in many States. And why not?

Mechanics of to-day have a vague and abstract idea of what is meant by journeyman and apprenticeship. In Europe there is yet a shadow left of the guilds where these were in existence. When I learned my trade I worked some time with my father in Sweden, then I went over to Norway and worked as an apprentice in Mathison & Johnson's machine, file and lock factory of Christiania. I was requested to sign a contract for four years. In this contract was set forth the wages I was to receive, and what I was to learn each year. Everything was specified so that there would be no room for misunderstanding. The first two weeks I worked, they simply drilled me. I was given a good file and a piece of iron, this iron I filed square, round, triangle, hexagon and octagon I wore out files and pieces of iron one after another, the master giving instructions how to stand, hold the file, about the pressure and strokes of same, etc. The same careful instructions were given in blacksmithing. The apprentice was given some work, and he had to forge it out himse1f, no matter what time it took, nor did it make any difference if the job, when done, was of any use, the apprentice was simply practicing and accustoming himself to the use of tools. Thus the elementary rules were learned in a few weeks, and the apprentice made capable of doing useful service that would repay for the time lost in the start.