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under construction 4-27-09 - it needs much cleaning up, but the gist of the contents are solid

Industrial Arts:

also Manual Training,Technological Education, General Shop

For definitions of Industrial Art, neither the usually informative Oxford English Dictionary nor the Webster's Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1952, are very helpful, because in both these sources, the focus (and the examples) of the meaning they give for Industrial Arts are on quite different matters:


Industrial art, art applied to the design of industrial products; so industrial artist;

1850:Punch 29 June 10

"Mind where you fix your show... Where Fashion rides and drives "House not *industrial Art, But 'mid the busy hives Right in the City's heart".

1851: Illustrated London News 21 June 605/3:

"Premiums for works of industrial art were offered".

1863 : J. B. WARING (title) "Masterpieces of industrial art and sculpture at the International Exhibition",

1902: Encyclopedia Britannica XXV 687/1

"The awakening of interest in industrial art{em}sharply separated by pedantic classification from fine art -- which began about the middle of the 19th century".

1930: Times of London 7 May 11/4

"Industrial Artists. An Association is to be formed of artists engaged in industry".


Industrial Art: Art in its application to industries. see Arts and Crafts

arts and crafts. [curiously, following the usual practice, these terms are not capitalized.]

The arts of decorative design and handicraft, as bookbinding, weaving, and needlework, which are concerned with objects of use; - from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society founded in London in 1888.

Industrial Arts as Defined by Educators

An important term, it is claimed that the term is coined by Charles R. Richards in an editorial in a 1904 issue of Manual Training Magazine. (Richards, Head of the Manual Training Department of Teachers College, part of Columbia University in New York, was a colleague of John Dewey.) However, in his 1888 book, Practical Education: Treating of the Development of Memory, the Increasing Quickness of Perception, and Training the Constructive Faculty , Whittaker (London, England), Charles Leland uses this term on page 10 and following:

... I believe that industrial art should rank in education next to reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, or rather with them, since it conduces to mental development, and that it should precede music and the other studies which are urged as "essential."

Chart below adapted from Delmar W Olson, Technology and Industrial Arts: Derivation of Subject Matter from Technology with Implications for Industrial Arts (Ph.D. diss) Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, 1957, page 71.


A noted theorist in Industrial arts, Frederick Gordon Bonser, in 1930 asked rhetorically, "What Do We Mean by Industrial Arts?"

His answer (in the scrollable window below):

Frederick Bonser, "What do we mean by the Industrial Arts?", 1930

In A Survey Of The Movements Culminating In Industrial Arts Education In Secondary Schools, Ray Stombaugh (1936) on the "Confusion of Terms", dedicates 5 pages to a discussion of the changes in terminology for "industrial arts", over a period of 80 years, roughly 1850 to 1930.

Stombaugh is only one scholar, however; actually, anyone who ventures into an investigation of the history of industrial arts first must contend with the changes that occurred in how, era to era, the subject was labeled.

Next, who coined which phrase needs to be sorted out.

After those duties are addressed, an analysis can begin in earnest.

As Samuel Vaughn and Arthur Mays argue, "Changes in terminology have not always ... indicated changes in the content or character of the activity which the terms are supposed to designate. In some cases, new terms are simply attempts to improve upon the preceding ones in describing a little more accurately the activity under consideration.

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

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.

Some examples of legislatively mandated terms are: Chicago and St. Louis use the term "manual training". Philadelphia makes use of the term "mechanic arts" to designate the school shop activity work. "Manual education" is a term used extensively in California; while in Nova Scotia "industrial science" is the most widely used term. commonly used. Many cities designate such school work as "manual arts" or "industrial arts". Among the organizations, 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, according to Ray Stombaugh, a study of terminology -- by W. E. Warner et al, "The Terminological Investigation", Western Arts Association Bulletin, 16 No. 5, October 1932 -- "effected a change to the term 'industrial arts'."

The following paragraphs are adapted from Ray Stombaugh:

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 magazine is called Industrial Arts and Vocational Education.

There is a company called The Practical Arts Publishing Company. [192 : 112] Articles on school shopwork are listed in the Readers' Guide ro Periodical Literature under the heading "manual training." In the Education Index the same titles are found under "industrial arts".

A study by Warner [40 : 5] also 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 term "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, printing, book binding, metal work, etc. [212 : 36]


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. [212 : 45]


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


There was another group, however, who were attaching another meaning to the term, a group who were thinking of the general educational values of this type of work for the pupil. Felix Adler (1883), writing about the two "distinct meanings" of the term "industrial education" and of the latter interpretation, says,


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. [41 : 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. [144 : 217]


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. [144 : 217]


It is this general educational meaning that the writer has in mind when he makes reference to industrial education in the early devel­opment of industrial work in the public schools.


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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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. [192 : 125]


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 : 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. [1'27 : 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. [5 : 5]

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. [4 : 95-96]


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. [192 : 122]


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." [33 : 58-59]


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.

David Snedden, The problem of vocational education 1910 - 85 pages

The Relation of Vocational Education to Manual Training

In modern educational doctrine, manual training occupies an intermediate field between vocational and liberal education. In the minds of many, who were originally influential in introducing drawing, manual training, household arts, and mechanical arts, these studies were designed to contribute to vocational efficiency. By schoolmasters and educational administrators, their contributions to liberal education have been constantly exalted, and these subjects have been largely divested of vocational significance. It is undeniable that manual training, rightly conducted, is an important modern contribution to liberal education, and especially in proportion as the limitations of the home deprive the child of opportunity for experience in the field of constructive and manual activities.

Few will doubt that a wide range of contact with tools and the materials to which tools are applied, as found in the hand-work, bench-work, gardening, cooking, and in the machine-shop work of the modern schools, is exceedingly desirable. It is a fact, however, that the manual training so given is rarely controlled by the motive of vocational training, and that it rarely results in any recognizable form of vocational efficiency. In its contributions to vocational education, it is more nearly comparable with the development which results from play and other forms of spontaneous experience-getting.

The mechanic arts and technical high schools, which were originally expected to train the higher ranks of factory- and trade-workers, have generally failed to achieve this end. These magnificent schools have been sought in increasing numbers by youths so situated as to be capable of an extended liberal education. They have offered kinds of liberal education which function more vitally, in many cases, than do the classical studies offered by other schools. Manual training, however, has seldom been more than an incident in such general education. Only a few hours of work a week, at best, have been allotted to it. The spirit of approach has been that of the amateur, or dilettante, rather than of the person interested in attaining vocational fitness. Only slowly has the work been removed from the field of amateurish effort. Much of the original manual training was affected by the arts-and- crafts movement, which is fundamentally important to the consumer of products rather than to the producer. Much of the household work was impracticable, when considered from the standpoint of household necessities. Throughout, it has been dominated by the ideals of liberal education rather than of vocation, and as such, it has in spite of a certain artificial character and a considerable disregard of pedagogic principles, made important contributions. It can hardly be doubted that a place of increasing importance is still reserved for manual training, as part of a liberal education. It will be remembered that liberal education functions in the avocational, as contrasted with the vocational side of life. For the prospective lawyer, gardening, cabinetwork, or pottery may be important and suggestive activities. A small amount of gardening would probably make all people more intelligent consumers. A vital form of constructive work in the manual training field will enhance the powers of all people to appreciate the material surroundings in which they must live.

For girls, a wide range of activities can be devised on the manual training basis which will make them more judicious consumers. Furthermore, a generous course in manual training actively followed provides a variety of suggestions for subsequent choice of a vocation. Through it, many boys will discover a bent, or capacity, along which a vocational education may be carried out.

All this assumes that manual training, like the other factors in a liberal education, will be made progressively more vital; will divest itself of formal and pedantic elements; will cease to rely upon a discredited psychology; and will take advantage of fundamental instincts and interests in those to whom it applies. Manual training will be taken, not in the spirit of the vocational worker, but in that of the liberal student, thinking of and comprehending the world in which he lives. It will preserve many of the elements of a high-grade play or avocation. If we assume that little distinctively vocational education will be found in the elementary schools, we may also assume that many pupils will be allowed even greater opportunities than are now available for the development of their capacities in the field of the industrial arts, studied mainly from the point of view of gaining variety and range of experience, and a basis for the subsequent selection of vocational activities.

During the high school period, it is highly probable that an increasing number of boys and girls will find in enriched manual training a means of liberal education, such as now the traditional studies can hardly be said to contribute. This enriched manual training will be more and more correlated with mathematics, science, art, history, and economics in such a way as to cause these to function more certainly as elements in a liberal education.

Here again, as in the last section, it must be asserted that manual training and vocational education should be controlled by different purposes to a considerable degree, though each contributes measurably to the purposes of the other. If manual training is designed to give the breadth of experience, to evoke the interests, and to stimulate the forms of appreciation desired, then it cannot be identified with the intensive and purposive character of vocational education. Vocational education must be carried on, as far as possible, under the conditions of a workshop. Manual training, as a part of liberal education, must not divorce itself from contemporary life; but, on the other hand, it must be approached from the standpoint of the breadth and interest inherent in the true instrumentalities of liberal education.

Sources: Arthur B Mays, The Problem of Industrial Education (NY: The Century Co, 1927; Ray StombaughA Survey Of The Movements Culminating In Industrial Arts Education In Secondary Schools Teachers College, Columbia University Contributions To Education. No. 670 1936,