Appendix 9: Notes on the Industrial Arts Movement

Adapted from Ray Stombaugh on the "Confusion of Terms" in the Development Stages of the Industrial Arts

Ray Stombaugh, in A Survey Of The Movements Culminating In Industrial Arts Education In Secondary Schools Teachers College, dedicates 5 pages to a discussion of the changes in terminology, historically, for the concept, "industrial arts", over a period of 100 years, roughly from 1850 to 1950.

He is only one scholar, however; in truth, any investigation of the history of industrial arts must, first, contend with the changes that occurred in how, era to era, the subject was labeled. Next, who was responsible for coining which phrase needs to be sorted out. After those duties are addressed, an analysis can begin in earnest.

Historically, the term Industrial Arts was first used by Charles Leland, and not Charles Richards, as is generally held.

Samuel Jesse Vaughn and Arthur Beverly Mays, Content and Methods of the Industrial Arts, 1924, page 56 state:

Changes in terminology have not always, by any means, indicated changes in the content or character of the work which the terms were supposed to designate. In some cases, new terms have simply been attempts to improve upon the preceding ones in describing a little more accurately the work under consideration.

Terminology Flows Over Time and Geography

Although new terms have been coined, some of the older terms have endured after their period of apparent usefulness has ended. No doubt some terms have existed in certain localities because it would require a legislative act to effect change, while in other localities, the weight of tradition has resisted change.

Chicago and St. Louis used the term "Manual Training", while Philadelphia's use of the term "Mechanic Arts" designated the school shop activity work. "Manual education" was a term used extensively in California, but in Halifax, Nova Scotia, "Industrial Science" was the term com­monly used. Many cities designate such school work as "Manual Arts", or the "Industrial Arts".

Organizational Differences

Among the organizations representing the work, the American Vocational Education Association and the Eastern Arts Association use the term "Industrial Arts". The Western Arts Association used the term "Manual Training"," until the recent terminological study -- William E Warner, et al, "The Terminological Investigation", Western Arts Association Bulletin, 16, No. 5, October 1932 (evidently not online)-- effected a change to the term "industrial arts."

Confusion Across Professional Journals


The same confusion is to be found in the educational publications of the field. There is an Industrial Education Magazine published by the Manual Arts Press. Another professional journal is Industrial Arts and Vocational Education.

Reader's Guide Index's Subject Headings

Articles on school shopwork are listed in the Readers' Guide under the heading "manual training." In the Education Index the same titles are found under "industrial arts."

Variations in Use of These Terms Even Existed Among IA Teachers

A study by William E. Warner, Policies in Industrial Arts Education. Co­lumbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University Press, 1928, page shows the extent of this confusion. He lists twenty-eight terms used by shop and drawing teachers of Ohio in designating the kind of work they were teaching. Of these 358 teachers, 113 used the term "manual arts," 110 used "manual training," 74 used "industrial arts," and 45 used the term "vocational teaching." It is safe to assume that all these persons were referring to the same or a very similar kind of school activ­ity work.

Industrial Education

In the earlier periods of the movement many writers use the term "Industrial Education" under conditions that indicate they were thinking of an industrial activity work similar to present-day in­dustrial arts. The United States Bureau of Education make the statement that the "Industrial Education" is frequently applied to a variety of forms of practical training.

Among the forms of so-called practical training to which the term "In­dustrial Education" is sometimes applied are Manual Training, Sloyd, Mechanical Drawing, Mechanic Arts Training, or to simply "printing", "book binding", "metal work", etc. "Vocational Secondary Education."

Source: U. S. Bureau of Education, Bulletin, 1916, No. 21. pp. 35?71 (evidently not online)

The concept of industrial education today is largely that of train­ing a person for some specific occupation so that he may take his place in industry. A bulletin of the Bureau of Education uses the following definition:

Vocational industrial education includes those forms of vocational edu­cation the direct purpose of each of which is to fit the individual for some pursuit or trade.

Source: U. S. Bureau of Education, Bulletin, 1916, No. 21, page 45. (evidently not online).

Such a definition of the term "Industrial Education" was current in the early 1880s. Many who were advocating industrial activity work in the schools were thinking of it in this sense.

Alternative Concepts of Industrial Education

During that same era, another group attached another meaning to the term, Industrial Education. In their view, Industrial Education is worthy of being a component of general edu­cation, because of its potential for promoting to students general education.

In 1883, Felix Adler, writing about the two "distinct meanings" of the term, "Industrial Education", says of the latter interpretation,

There is a totally different sense in which the phrase "Industrial Educa­tion" may be understood; not that education shall be made subservient to industrial success, but that the acquisition of industrial skill shall be the means for promoting the general education of the pupil; that the education of the hand shall be more completely and more efficaciously educating the brain. It is in the latter sense, in which labor is regarded as a means of mental development, that industrial education is understood by the most enlightened of its advocates.

Source: Felix Adler, "A New Experiment in Education" Princeton Review 11 March 1883, page 145.

In an address given in 1888, Nicholas Murray Butler was think­ing of Industrial Education in terms of general education and not in terms of specific trade training when he said,

Industrial education is an education in which the training of the pupils' powers of expression goes on side by side with the training of his receptive faculties, and in which the training of both is based on knowledge of things and not words merely.

In differentiating between technical education and industrial educa­tion, Dr. Butler continues:

Industrial education ... is the foundation itself. It is the general and common training which underlies all instruction in particular techniques.

Source: Nicholas Murray Butler, "Manual Training" Fifty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Instruction, Lectures, Discussions, and Proceedings . . . , 1888, page 217.

The Contributions to Manual Training by Charles Godfrey Leland and J Liberty Tadd

With this claim about the larger good of industrial education, or, its general educational meaning-- that industrial education is foundational to an overall education -- -- that Adler and Butler have in mind when they make reference to industrial education in the early introduction of industrial work in the public schools. It is a tradition that comes from the work in Philadelphia of Charles Godfrey Leland and J Liberty Tadd:-- for more read here

In 1881, Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903) opened the experimental Industrial Art School in Philadel­phia, to give grammar school students experience with what he called the The Minor Arts. The school's curriculum included classes in design, modeling, painting, pottery, embroidery, repousse', woodcarving, and carpentry (curiously, carpentry in not covered in the book)

During his four year tenure as Director of the school, Leland tested his methodology and refined his education theory, which he articulated in speeches, circulars, articles, reports, and books (Leland, 1888). In his book, appropriately titled Practical Education, Leland presented a definitive view of his theory. After an introductory claim that education consists of storing the memory, developing the intellect, and training the con­structive faculty, he proposed to . . . go a step beyond this, and show if possible how memory may be created, quickness of perception be awakened, and the constructive power formed, so that the mind, when it begins to acquire knowledge, may do so with confidence and strength. (p. vii)

This proposal is grounded in what Leland contends are four truths:

1.that everyone pos­sesses a memory that can be profoundly im­proved;

2.that perception, in the full sense of the term, can be developed to an astonishing degree;

3.that eye-memory, a faculty of visual perception that is a subtle blending or com­bination of memory and perception, can be enhanced to bring before one vividly anything they ever have seen.

4.that everyone has a constructive faculty which is most active and susceptible to instruction when they are between the ages of six and 14.

He neatly ties these contentions together by claiming that memory, quickness of percep­tion, and visualizing meet and blend in art or, where children are concerned, the minor arts.

# Industrial Art in charles osgood leland industrial art in schools 1882, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1882; and an enlarged version (online) is Practical Education: Treating of the Development of Memory, the Increasing Quickness of Perception, and Training the Constructive Faculty , Whittaker (London, England), 1888.

After much trouble I have got the Industrial Committee of the school board of Philadelphia to take up my project of introducing handwork into schools. I have a room or rooms given me; I am to have money for materials and to pay an assistant teacher. There is a large class of teachers in the public schools who are coming to my classes, and I am to have as many scholars and children as I can manage. A number of ladies interested in education will take a hand. We shall go at wood-carving, leather, brass, mosaic, etc., etc. When this is started it will go of itself. All the pupils will have their work sold and share the profits. A house in New York will take all the plaques I can supply. . . .

Source: Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Charles Godfrey Leland: a biography By Published by Houghton, Mifflin, 1906 Item notes: v. 2, page 96

Manual Training

Manual training was the original term under which the industrial activity work was introduced into this country following the Cen­tennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. It was an all-inclusive term, descriptive of the formal hand training of the period which was based on fundamental industrial processes characteristic of the school work for many years after the opening of the first manual training schools.

That manual training held much in common with industrial arts is shown by the following definitions and statements. In 1888 the New Jersey Council of Education reported that

Whereas there are several and conflicting uses of the term manual train­ing be it hereby Resolved, that the New Jersey Council of Education defines manual training as training in thought expression by other means than gesture and verbal language, in such a carefully graded course of study as shall also provide adequate training for the judgment and the executive faculty. This training will necessarily include drawing and con­structive work, but experience alone can determine by what special means this instruction can best be given. [233. NEW JERSEY. Council of Education Reports, 1888. page 5]

Further along in the report, the following comment is found:

I believe that the term "Manual Training" might be rightly applied to any exercise in which thought is expressed by means of the hand.[233. NEW JERSEY. Council of Education Reports, 1888. page 5]

Woodward, in referring to the term "manual training," wrote as follows:

This term, according to the best usage, signifies the systematic study of the theory and use of common tools, and the nature of common materials, elementary and typical processes of construction, and the execution and reading of working drawings. [214. WOODWARD, CALVIN M. "Manual, Industrial, and Technical Edu­cation in the United States." U. S. Report of the Commissioner of Education . . . , 1903. Vol. I, pp. 1019?1046. 1019]

Manual Arts

Bennett, in an editorial in the Manual Training Magazine for April 1904, states his belief that manual training, manual arts, and in­dustrial arts are almost identical. On this point he says,

Our observation indicates that representative work being done today under the name "Industrial Arts," or "Practical Arts," is almost identical in content and method with equally representative work under the name of manual training, and likewise with work done in other places under the name "Manual Arts." Any differences are chiefly in the minds of the promoters of the work, not in the work itself. 48. BENNETT, CHARLES A. "Origin of the Term `Manual Arts.' " Manual Training Magazine, XV : 307-308, April 1914. 307—308]

Manual arts as a term came into use with the change from the emphasis upon the formal hand-skill-producing exercises to an emphasis upon the construction of articles of utilitarian value which involved the use of skill with tools together with some freedom in design. Vaughn and Mays comment as follows:

The term manual arts is an attempt to fit the name to the content rather than to the form of the work. It indicates that those who brought it forward were thinking in terms of the ideas, materials, and practices of at least some of those trades, vocations, or "arts" in which people use the skill of their hands to do the work of the world. 33. VAUGHN, SAMUEL J. and MAYS, ARTHUR B. Content and Methods of the Industrial Arts. New York: The Century Co., 1924. 397 p. 58]

Bollinger's terminological study analyzed the concepts involved in a number of definitions and as a result he defined "manual arts" as

A term used to describe such objects as woodworking, mechanical draw­ing, metal work, printing, leather work, jewelry making, clay work, book-binding, etc., when taught as a form of general education having for its chief purpose that of developing within the pupil, manual skill and an appreciation of good design and construction by practice in a variety of exercises and projects of personal value. -- William E Warner, et al, "The Terminological Investigation", Western Arts Association Bulletin, 16, No. 5, October 1932, page 125 (evidently not online)--

Industrial Arts

Richards expresses the belief that a large part of the confusion in the field has been due to the fact that the first name given to the industrial activity work was not adequate to express its real pur­pose and content. He has the feeling that in using the term "manual training" too much emphasis has been placed upon the manipulative phase of the work rather than the content back of the manipulative activity. He writes:

If in lieu of such a phrase as manual training, the term industrial art, for instance, had been used, much of the above confusion and misconcep­tion would have been entirely avoided. Such a term clearly indicates a specific body of knowledge as the subject-matter of instruction and at once establishes criteria as to the selection and organization of material and, to a certain extent, definite standards of performance. [ion : 373]

Professor Bonser has contributed extensively to the use and de­velopment of the term "industrial arts." In his article, "Funda­mental Values in Industrial Arts," he presented a new point of view which has exerted a great influence in bringing about a change from the emphasis on manipulative processes and tool sequences to an emphasis upon valid educational content. [127. BONSER, FREDERICK G. "Fundamental Values in Industrial Arts." Teachers College Bulletin. Technical Education Bulletin No. lo, 1911. 20 p. 4–20] In the arti­cle referred to above, Professor Bonser gives the following defi­nition:

Industrial Arts, as a school subject, is the distilled experience of man in his resolution of natural materials to his needs, for creature comfort, to the end that he may more richly live his spiritual life. 127. BONSER, FREDERICK G. "Fundamental Values in Industrial Arts." Teachers College Bulletin. Technical Education Bulletin No. lo, 1911. 20 p. 20]

The common conception of the meaning of the term industrial arts is derived, to a large extent, from Bonser and Mossman:

The industrial arts are those occupations by which changes are made in the form of materials to increase their values for human usage. As a subject for educative purposes, industrial arts is a study of the changes made by man in the forms of materials to increase their values, and of the problems of life related to these changes. -- Frederick G Bonser and Lois C. Mossman, Industrial Arts for Elementary Schools. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1924 --

Professor Bonser expanded the meaning of industrial arts further in an address given before the industrial arts section of the Central Ohio Teachers Association in November 1928. --Frederick G, Bonser, "Fundamental Values in Education," Life Needs and Education, New York: Bureau of Publica­tions, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1932 (not online)--

The committee of the Western Arts Association for "The Ter­minological Investigation" of which Dr. Warner, of the Ohio State University was chairman, presented the following definition, Industrial Arts is one of the Practical Arts, a form of general or non-vocational education, which provides learners with experiences, under-standings, and appreciations of materials, tools, processes, products and of the vocational conditions and requirements incident generally to the manufacturing and mechanical industries. -- William E Warner, et al, "The Terminological Investigation", Western Arts Association Bulletin, 16, No. 5, October 1932, page 122 (evidently not online)--

Vaughn and Mays imply that the term "industrial arts" is another attempt to give an appropriate name, as a means of promoting a better conception of the content of the industrial activity work which has evolved in the United States "under the old names of manual training and manual arts."


Regardless of the term used to identify the work, the central concept was the study of industries for purposes of general educational values, values that apply in varying degrees for all pupils regardless of what their future occupation may be. There is a growing conviction that industrial insights, appreciations, and experiences may be obtained through school activities of an investigative nature in which hand work is an important and necessary element.

Sources: Samuel Jesse Vaughn and Arthur Beverly Mays, Content and Methods of the Industrial Arts? 1924; Ray StombaughA Survey Of The Movements Culminating In Industrial Arts Education In Secondary Schools Teachers College, Columbia University Contributions To Education. No. 670 1936,