Monday, January 23, 2017

Geekery Old And New

     "...Friends, look around you and see how many young people prefer to follow vocations where they can be pseudo-genteel at starvation wages rather than throw their energy into [mechanical] shop work."

     Who do you suppose wrote that, Mike Rowe, perhaps? And not too long ago?

     Nope; it's small-shop machinist/supervisor W. Osbone in 1902, having just encountered a magazine article praising the Art & Crafts handmade esthetic. While a very much in favor of fine hand work, he points out, "Take away the mechanics, and the advancement caused by the low costs made possible by the very machinery here so slightingly spoken of, and the world's progress is stopped, and we are at best in a state of semi-civilization."

      This is one of his articles for American Machinist Magazine, mostly a collection of interesting real-world machine-shop incidents from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries; for all the that he and his men are installing and repairing steam engines, oil pumps and the like, it's remarkably similar to my work -- and co-workers -- as an electronics technician. Reprinted as "Echoes From The Oil Country," Vols 1 through at least 5, you can buy them (at a deep discount) from Your Old Time Bookstore, but act with alacrity: they're liquidating stock.

6 comments:

Jess said...

I've seen machinists work. It's fascinating, especially when you realize the best can take a block of steel, spend some time working, and turn out a weapon that keeps the critters away.

Rob K said...

People don't change.

pigpen51 said...

Human nature doesn't change. People can change, if they have a desire and the motivation to. And no matter how advanced our technology becomes, I predict that there will always be room for the woman or man who is able to take tool in hand and either repair or build. The desire to create order from chaos is one of our human traits that can not be done away with merely by the creation of a different kind of technology that, while it might take away the need for the person to swing the hammer, does nothing to diminish the spark of awe and wonder in the minds of the adventurers.

John said...

Thanks for the tip, order is placed.

Phssthpok said...

Growing up, I always though I'd want a 'desk job'. After over 20 years doing the fitter/welder/fabricator thing I've found that just the THOUGHT of a desk job is abhorrent.

Peter said...

Thanks so much for mentioning those books! I've just placed an order for the set.