knew about making mortise and tenons -- an assumption for which I have doubts -- or had ready access to these instructions.
Document 42: Ira S. Griffith, "Recreation with Tools"
"Recreation with Tools" is an article published in the shelter magazine, Countryside Magazine and Suburban Life 10 June 1910
Griffith also published articles in journals in his field -- manual education -- such as Manual Training Magazine.
It is obvious that he was recognized in the manual education field for his contributions, as the excerpt, below, of reviews of several of his books -- in an issue of The Elementary School Journal -- shows:
Correlated Courses in Woodwork and Mechanical Drawing. By Ira S. Griffith, A.B. The Manual Arts Press. Pp. 238.
Essentials of Woodworking. By Ira S. Griffith, A.B. The Manual Arts Press. Pp. 190.
Projects for Beginning Woodwork and Mechanical Drawing. By Ira S. Griffith, A.B. The Manual Arts Press. 51 plates.
Advanced Projects in Woodwork. By Ira S. Griffith, A.B. The Manual Arts Press. 51 plates.
This series of books is certainly a very genuine contribution to the work of manual training.
[From the review:]The books on woodworking which are listed above represent a very comprehensive attempt to make the shopwork in the last two years of the elementary school systematic and progressive. One of the great virtues of the foreign systems of manual training, namely the Russian system and the Sloyd system, was that these systems were worked out completely, so that the teacher of limited training knew how to proceed step by step through a series of class exercises. With a reorganization of manual training and the injection of many demands for an industrial type of training, the regular progression of this work has lost somewhat. Even teachers who have seen the importance of introducing manual training into the school work have been unable to organize their good intentions and the enthusiasm of the students into anything which would constitute a regular progressive scheme....
Source: The Elementary School Journal By University of Chicago. Dept. of Education, University of Chicago. Graduate School of Education, Chicago Institute, Academic and Pedagogic, University of Chicago Press Journals Division, JSTOR (Organization) Published by University of Chicago Press, 1913 Item notes: v. 13
Note: The image on the right is from one of Griffith's books listed above.
Listed as Supervisor of Manual Training,Oak Park, Illinois, Griffith was prominent in the Industrial Arts movement, Griffith authored several woodworker's manuals, as noted above, and evidently enjoyed a broad enough stature outside his field, enough to be selected to contribute the first "chapter" -- a 356-page "book" entitled -- "Home Shop Work and Manual Training" -- in one of the twelve-volumes of the encyclopedia, published in 1909, Radford's Cyclopedia of Construction, Carpentry, Building, and Architecture: A General Reference Work on MODERN BUILDING MATERIALS AND METHODS AND THEIR PRACTICAL APPLICATION TO ALL FORMS OF CONSTRUCTION IN WOOD, STONE, BRICK, STEEL, AND CONCRETE: INCLUDING ALSO SUCH ALLIED BRANCHES OF THE STRUCTURAL FIELD AS HEATING AND VENTILATING, PLUMBING. ELECTRIC WIRING, PAINTING, CONTRACTS, SPECIICATIONS, ESTIMATING, STRUCTURAL DRAFTING, ETC.
This work has been prepared with the idea of furnishing the home craftsman, amateur or professional, with a practical working handbook of sturdy furniture designs. All the designs contained in this large collection have been tested in actual work. The working drawings, just as given here, have been successfully carried out by hundreds of manual training school lads, home craftsmen, and carpenter shop workers. These designs have proved to be those best adapted to hand-made furniture work....
(Parenthetically, for a "cyclopedia", Griffith's section is massive, eclipsing the claim. "major contribution". Using Arts and Crafts designs throughout, Griffith's section comes with photos, pen-and-ink illustrations, scaled drawings, detailed sketches of hand tools and "how-to-use-them" details. Undoubtedly, Griffith's contribution constitutes an acknowledgment of an amateur woodworking movement. Read More)
Advertised in such outlets as Popular Mechanics, its subtitle, "Based on the Practical Experience of a LARGE STAFF OF EXPERTS IN ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION WORK", testifies to its claim to authority , a tone carried out in the set's Preface:
THE Building Industry, in its various branches, is more closely identified than any other with the marvelous engineering progress of the present day and the untold possibilities of the future. To put all classes of workers in familiar touch with modern methods of construction and the latest advances in this great field, and to bring to them in a form easily available for practical use the best fruits of the highest technical training and achievement, is the service which the Cyclopedia of Construction aims to render.
The work is preeminently a product of practical experience, designed for practical workers. It is based on the idea that even in the larger problems of engineering construction, it is not now necessary for the ordinary worker in concrete, or steel, or any other form of material, to attempt the impracticable task of exploring all the highways and byways where the trained engineer or technical expert finds himself at home. The theories have been worked out; the tests and calculations have been made; observations have been recorded in thousands of instances of actual construction; and the results thus accumulated form a vast treasure of labor-saving information which is now available in the shape of practical working rules, tables, instructions, etc., covering every phase of every construction problem likely to be met with in ordinary experience. This is perhaps most apparent in the sections on Cement and Concrete Construction, Plain and Reinforced. To this subject, on account of its supreme importance as a structural factor of the present day, three entire volumes are devoted, embodying the cream of all the valuable information which engineers have gathered up to date. Much of this practical information now presented in this Cyclopedia, has never before been published in any form.
That Griffith was asked to contribute to the Cyclopedia above testifies to his stature among a broader fraternity than just manual training.
Three years later, February 1913, also Countryside Magazine and Suburban Life, he published "How to Make a Mission Seat".
Since this article contains a set of "how-to-do-it" instructions -- when mentioning that the project requires mortise-and-tenon joinery -- you would think that Griffith would give for the prospective builder details about how (or at least "where") to manage the creation of mortise and tenons. However, since there are no instructions, we must assume that Griffith himself knew that readers of Countryside Magazine and Suburban Life
While a search of the "How to Make a Mission Seat" article doesn't mention woodworker's manuals, notice that below -- highlighted -- Griffith recommends that newbies go out and buy one. (For a list -- not comprehensive -- of woodworker's manuals published up to 1910, check out this page.
The complex background on Griffith's position is interesting to woodworking, especially amateur woodworking. While you are reading Griffith's article, posted below, here are a few points to keep in mind:
Woodworking is dominated by hand tools; scaled-down power tools for the home workshop -- i.e., bench-top table saws, jointers, drill presses -- do not become available until the latter 1920s.
The Russian system of woodworking education has declined and is being replaced by a move toward Arts and Crafts design. For details on the Russian system, see D. The Manual Training Movement, 1876-1900: -- The Russian System
Like the Sloyd System, the Russian System -- as it was applied in America -- acted as a "fill-in" program.
The Decline of the Russian System of Manual Training
The kind of manual training advocated by Calvin M. Woodward and his colleagues was based on a formal discipline which, according to Woodward's thinking, stressed at least three personal skills:--
(1) exercised observation,Later, critics -- such as Charles R. Richards, a Professor of Industrial Arts education at Columbia University's Teachers College, argued that this training did not relate to any industrial training and '...was as barren as its philosophy'."
(2) trained the reasoning powers, and
(3) strengthened the will.
Up to the middle of the 19th century, with American communities struggling to provide even an elementary education to the nations's children, the question of provididng training for industrial life got little attention.
Basically, the school centered its efforts upon general instruction, while the shop and factory trained their own recruits. For his subject-matter, the school looked away from the industries rather than toward them; the aim was -- naturally -- the organization of a body of instruction of a thoroughly general character, the proverbial "3 Rs:-- Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.
During the last sixty years of the 19th century, any social and industrial conditions in America have undergone great changes. To these changes educational ideals and methods have been very slow in adjusting themselves. The old division of function between school and shop built up a persisting conviction that an inherent virtue lies in jealously excluding everything pertaining to vocation from public-school instruction, and led educators stoutly to insist that all such training should be gained in commercial practice, or at least outside of the public schools.
During these sixty years the course of industrial development in this country has been markedby a tremendous increase in the size of productive units and attendant quantity production;
by extraordinary division and subdivision of labor;
by the steady introduction of machinery, and
by the proportionate lessened need of the highly skilled worker.
At the same time the methods of the industries have become immeasurably more dependent upon the principles of exact science, and more and more have come to require some need of specialized knowledge on the part of the skilled worker. This development, which has left but few industries untouched, has changed the industrial organization from comparative homogeneity to a situation in which a minority of workers requires even greater skill and intelligence than formerly, and a majority which need skill only in a narrow range of operations....
During this period numerous trades were being absorbed by the growing industrial system. This situation was worsened by the trade unions, which severely limited the number of apprentices allowed into the remaining trades.
The schools failed to consider the industrial situation, and at the same time industry remained apathetic toward training its own employees. Claims Richards,
"During this tremendous evolution both the public school and the industrial establishment have preserved their separateness of function.“
Since apprenticeship has virtually ceased, through the subdivision of labor, it is doubly necessary that the public schools should give the elements, scientific and artistic, which form the basis of a technical culture. And they should do this without diminishing the literary culture they now impart. Only by such an enlargement of the common school curriculum can the great body of laborers secure the education so essential to their welfare and be kept from degenerating into mere machines for doing a limited variety of work.
Sources: for more, see Charles R Richards, "Some Notes on the History of Industrial Education in the United States", National Education Association, Journal of Addresses and Proceedings, 58th Annual Meeting (Boston, Mass., 1910), pages 676- 678; Charles B. Stetson, Technical Education: What it is and what american public schools should teach; Paul H. Douglas, American Apprenticeship and Industrial Education New York: Columbia University, 1921, page 190; Edward Daniel Bzowski, "An Analysis of Some Movements which May Have Influenced the Growth and Development of Manual Arts", diss Baltimore: University of Maryland, 1969, Chapter 7.
Another factor which affected the lack of success of the Russian system of manual training was the decline in high school enrollment. Three-fourths to nine-tenths of the students never entered high school. Such statistics caused a dramatic shift in shop work, from the high school to the elementary school, where it could serve to train more students in related industrial work.
The Swedish "Sloyd" system was another woodworking movement introduced to America's woodworking education programs. (This is a link to a brief wikipedia entry on sloyd.) Like America's eduCation system in general, slowly, step by step, woodworking instruction shifted from an instructor-centered focus to student-centered courses. Its novelty: a focus on the student's interest in the project, or, in effect, hints of the "student-centered" theory of the Progressive Education Movement.
I selected Griffith's article as a companion to the 1906 Hall document. (The article by Hall is also published in Countryside Magazine and Suburban Life.
Hall gives us his adventures in constructing a Morris chair -- with foot-powered tools. While we have no photo of Hall, notice near the bottom of this article by Griffith is a well-stocked workshop, including many power tools as well as electric lighting. Several observations come to mind. The electricity is almost certainly Direct-Current -- electrification (meaning Alternative Current) in cities didn't begin for another five years -- see account in Chapter 3:5.
Below,the person in the photo -- notice his bow tie -- is likely a professional doctor, dentist, lawyer, or a businessman -- because the working class still are contending with 60-hour work weeks, and would very not be able to afford tools of this quality.
In Chapter 1:5, we account for the Effects of the Factory System on Manual Training
The factory system brought about a subdivision of labor -- where with the decline of the guild's apprenticeship of educating boy's for life's work for a production-line operation -- that required little skill and consequently paid low wages.
A social and economic condition that is captured by the phrase, "From Production to Consumption", made an imposing and lasting impact on how America progressed. In a nutshell, the decline of the guild's apprenticeship system, plus the refusal of trade unions to accept new apprentices made it difficult for a boy to get a good job.
Put in today's terms, in K-12 education, the "drop-out rate" was horrific. The fact that most students never entered high school or even finished elementary school made the high school manual training program rather ineffective.
The concept of a manual training program designed for high school was a non-starter, because such a program would not reach the majority of the students who were entering society. Any manual training program that did exist, in the end, concentrated on the high school student who was going on to college or a supervisory position in industry.
The new thoughts on education, precipitated by the International Congress on Education, caused a further critical appraisal of the Russian system of manual training. [38 J. Liberty Tadd, n. 889,The program was attacked because of its abstract exercises and its lack of relation to other subjects. It is a noteworthy fact, however, that while handwork has maintained its place in the general school program, the much vaunted Russian system, to which it owed its introduction, has not. Its merely formal exercises productive of objects neither of use nor of beauty seemed to the pupils to lead to nothing, and tended to become no less tedious than the formal exercises in arithmetic and grammar. The first school to adopt the Russian system in a program of general education, the School of Mechanic Arts in Boston, after a lingering of a few years, ceased to exist altogether as a nonvocational school.39 [39 Lewis Flint Anderson, History of Manual and Industrial School Education (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1926), p. 180.
(Faculty psychology holds that fixed areas of the brain govern certain faculties and unless these faculties are trained, the brain cannot be fully developed.)
The child-centered psychology received strong and united acceptance at the International Congress of Education held at the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
(But movements were afoot decades before, fueled in part by the decline of the Russian system, and its replacement by the adoption of the Arts and Crafts idea into the elementary school curriculum.)
At the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago, for the first time, the nation's educational leaders were presented with a new concept in education:--
- that of beginning with the developmental interests of the child. This child-centered psychology revoked the tenets of faculty psychology and literally eliminated the Russian system of hand tool exercises from the secondary public school program.
The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, held in Chicago, commemorated the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.25 William T. Harris, "Preface" Proceedings of the International Congress of Education (Chicago, Illinois, 1893).
The Exposition was a showplace of modern architecture, invention, new products, and amusements. It was also the gathering place of educators from all over the world for an International Congress of Education held under the auspices of the National Education Association. The purpose of this congress was to study and analyze the existing educational systems, their strong points, defects, and needs, and to present and promote new methods of education.
The fifteen departments of this congress, which hold their sessions in the mornings of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, represent, in equal proportions, the new and the old; one half devoted to understanding and explaining what is already established and in vogue, the other half devoted to showing the claims of what is new, and urging its adoption into the school system. The educational problems are all to be discussed, if wisely discussed, in the light of these two sides or tendencies. The committees on programs have kept this in view.26 [26Ibid., pp. 26-7.]
It was at this meeting that ideas for new directions in manual activities germinated. The kindergarten department concerned itself with the study of the child, his growth and development, and the value of hand work. The elementary department primarily discussed what kinds of subjects should be taught in the elementary schools. Presenting a defense for manual activities in the elementary schools was Calvin M. Woodward who warned against manual training to meet local needs only.
He recommended that the school
"first develop the individual boy; then let him discover himself, and finally the demands, opportunities, and possibilities of the world around him. He then may choose his work advisedly...." 27
[27Calvin M. Woodward, "What Should be Added to the Essential Branches of the Elementary Course of Study to Meet the Industrial Needs of the Localities?" Proceedings of the International Congress of Education (Chicago, Illinois, 1893), 28Harris, p. 29.]
The Department of Industrial and Manual Training at the congress compared the Russian system, sloyd, and the French system of manual training. Besides the existing systems, the influences of new programs were discussed.
An interesting question, especially interesting in the presence of this great World's Exposition of the products of human industry, is that of the relation of technical skill and manual processes to the training of the aesthetic sense - the cultivation of the taste for the beautiful.
This question is brought out in many of its phases in the congress on art instruction, and still more of its phases are taken up in the congress on industrial and manual instruction, Z' Although each of these departments examined its subject and introduced new directions in education, the most important feature of this congress was the Congress on Rational Psychology and the Congress of Experimental Psychology in Education. The Congress on Rational Psychology described itself as a body:
...which considers the transient and permanent characteristics of mind, seeks to discover the fundamental characteristics which contradistinguish mind from mere biological phenomena -the mind as knowing primitive truth and as pure self-activity. The other congress, that of Experimental Psychology, devotes all its discussions to questions of child-study in physical, emotional, intellectual, and volitional aspects.29 Ibid.
No other date or event was found which had any impact similar to the Chicago World's Fair International Congress of Education of 1893. Here, for the first time, psychology and its importance to the progress of education was presented; the role and direction of manual activities were examined; the evidence of the cultural or fine arts influence was noted.
The effects of this Congress were very noticeable in the writings and reports of the following year. In fact, in that year the National Education Association formed a Department of Child Study.
New problems in our system of education are confronting us. Instead of the continued and varied discussion in regard to methods and devices, the study of the child's growing mind is attracting widespread attention. The conditions under which a mind develops, and the agencies that favorably or unfavorably affect its growth, are continually observed and recorded, The study of the child leads to wiser instruction. To meet this demand, for the study of child mind, another department has been added to the National Education Association, and the people of this country have been looking to Dr. G. Stanley Hall and others as the leaders of human growth and development.
30 [30Albert G. Lane, "Responses," National Education Association, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses: Session of the y P Year 2224 (Asburark, New jersey, 1894, pp. 55-56.]
At the same session of the NEA., J. Liberty Tadd addressed both the art department and the industrial education department.
In his art department address, Tadd pleaded 29 Ibid. for a new freedom of expression through drawing; in the industrial education address, he summarized his views on manual arts as: Manual Training is not a mere method of using certain tools.
It is, as I have pointed out
(1) a mode of thought expression that must recognize the potential and creative capacities before anything else, and
(2) provide for freedom of expression. This can only be well done during the nascent period of growth in structure, and during development of complexity in the organism, by physical co-ordination, and
(3) by making sense impressions organic - first hand - by ministering to it at right periods right things in line with the instincts, heredity and environment, and no teacher should dare to deal with the subject who is not familiar with these three immense powers.31
[31 J. Liberty Tadd, "Manual Training Methods in Philadelphia Public Schools," National Education Association, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses: Session of the Year 1894 , Asbury Park, New Jersey, 1894), p. 891.]
Other viewpoints brought out at this session reinforced Tadd's philosophy of "thought expression." Some educators urged a more liberal approach to activities as practiced in the kindergarten. The enthusiasm for kindergarten on the part of the participants of this meeting was evident in the following report: The kindergarten adopts this doctrine of interest. One cannot visit a good kindergarten for an hour without realizing that a lively interest is the leading thought in the teacher's mind. The knowledge is subordinate; the state of the child's mind, his attitude towards knowledge is the chief point. The teacher is convinced that, if strong interest is excited, mental life is the result. Hence, she works directly for interest, using knowledge as her means. So there is at present a striking difference between the kindergarten and the common school. While they are both aiming at the same thing ultimately, e. activity of the mind - thoughtfulness ‑- the former hopes to attain it by fixing interest as the highest immediate object, while the latter relies directly upon knowledge as the means to that end. One must be wrong. The phenomenal success of kindergartens and the fact that primary teachers feel the need for becoming imbued with kindergarten ideas indicates which one it is.32 [32 F. M. McMurray, "Recent Educational Theory," National Education Association, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses: Session of the Year 18_077—D.87.]
This particular attitude became the dominant motive of almost all manual activities in the schools and brought about a greater amount of student freedom, both in class movement and in class activity.
Originally developed in England and other parts of Europe, the Arts and Crafts idea swept into an America receptive to ideas about how to create well designed home settings. Charles Eastlake's Hints on Household Taste and Clarence Cook's The House Beautiful became treasured guides for homemakers seeking to create stylish interiors.Read More here: CR 6: CR in the Industrial Arts Movement and Amateur Woodworking
The general acceptance of the Arts and Crafts shifted the emphasis of manual activities from that of hand tool exercises and directed projects to that of creative craft work with an emphasis on individual design and construction. This cultural or arts and crafts movement in juxtaposition with child-centered psychology helped to bring about the demise of the Russian system of manual training.
The Effect of the Industrial Education Movement on Manual Training
By the time the industrial education movement began in 1906, with the formation of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education, the Russian system of manual training was virtually non-existent in the American schools.
Remarks The growth and development of manual training was traced to show the inception of yet another form of manual activity into the public schools. The influence of this type of program on manual arts is treated in Chapter VIII. The following chapter traces the growth and development of drawing and art education in the schools for the purpose of relating the effects or influences of its program on the manual arts program.
National Education Association, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses: Session of the Year 1894, pages 886-891 . BY DIRECTOR OF the PUBLIC INDUSTRIAL ART SCHOOL, PHILADELPHIA, 1894