The following are answers in reply to inquiries as to the kind of instruction which ought to be given in Mechanics' Institutions to those following various trades. All the writers are men, not only of great intelligence, but of great practical experience in the various occupations to which they refer.
The knowledge most required by them is thus stated by a Liverpool engineer:—“Mathematics, cube and square roots (to find the strength of rods and shafts); mensuration (to find the weights of machinery); practical geometry, power of levers, mechanical drawing.”
In a large foundry near Manchester, one of the workmen recommends the study of the various kinds of motions, of geometry, in fact; and recommends as books, “Grier's Calculator and Dictionary,” “Hibbert's Cyclopaedia,” “Lardner's Steam Engine,” and the Mechanics' and Engineers’ Magazines of London and Glasgow.
The foreman of the smiths in this foundry says, “There is but one way to make a smith,—by practice at the fire, and nothing else is required.” In the same establishment I was informed “the greater part of the workmen have not received any assistance whatever from books, or from any subject of study pursued out of the shop; indeed, it is notorious that some of our most skilled workmen are, in other respects, grossly ignorant, to the extent in one or two instances of not being able to read or write, experience and practice alone supplying the necessary skill.”