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difficulty seems impossible. Nevertheless, a remedy may not be entirely out of reach.
An interesting enterprise has been recently attempted by the Colliery Engineer, of Scranton, Pa. It is called the “Correspondence School of Mines.' This school claims to have 1700 pupils. It claims to teach by the method of correspondence for its “Full Scholarship" of $50, "to any who knows how to read and write,” the following subjects: "1. Arithmetic; 2. Ventilation; 3. Geology; 4. Search for Coal and other Minerals; 5. Modes of Working; 6. Surveying and Mapping; 7. Mechanics; 8. Mechanical Drawing; 9. Ambulance; 10. Mine Legislation; 11. Mine Accounts; 12. Blowpiping; 13. Mineralogy; 14. Assaying; 15. Economic Geology; 16. Prospecting.”—Circular of 1893, pp. 16, 22. “The Full Scholarship will take a quick student, who can only devote his time after working hours to study, twenty-four months. If the student knows nothing of Arithmetic when he commences, it will take longer.” Ibid., p. 46. "Algebra is not used," p. 15. [The italics are mine.]
When it is considered that the usual mining school occupies its students an equivalent of ten hours a day, nine months in the year for four years, and that they are already familiar with arithmetic, algebra, geometry and much more to begin with, it may be seriously doubted whether (with the working miner) all this ambitious programme can be fulfilled to the letter. It must be evident that such an undertaking cannot train mining engineers, and apparently makes no such pretensions.
Nevertheless, it seems that the method here indicated is almost the only one which can reach small outlying groups of miners. The fact that one thousand seven hundred persons, many of them evidently working miners, have enrolled themselves, shows that a need is felt among them for some instruction.
If now, instead of offering “diplomas” for the course advertised, it was modified so as to correspond more to the entrance requirements of our best mining schools; and it could be shown that such a course would enable a young man at a mine to prepare himself for the full course in the best mining schools, a most important advance would be made.
It is evident that there is no justification for a school for miners unless it can teach them something they need to know, and which they cannot learn at the mine. Besides the ordinary English branches, such a course might include arithmetic, bookkeeping, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, elements of physics, chemistry, and mineralogy, the two latter taught largely by means of the blowpipe. The problems and illustrations might be drawn almost entirely from mining practice, and the course would be equally useful to a miner, whether he afterwards wished to attend a school for mining engineering or not.
If some such plan as this could be carried into effect, it would help to bridge the gap between the miner and the mining school, and would make available for mining engineers some of the best material in the country.
THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN MINING SCHOOLS.
Since the memorable address of the lamented Holley, in 1876, on the “Inadequate Union of Engineering Science and Art," the conditions have changed in all our engineering schools, and in none more than in those for mining engineers. These changes have resulted mainly from the initiative taken from the Columbia School of Mines and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Alive to the difficulties of the situation, Professor Robert H. Richards and his colleagues at the Institute devised, organized, equipped and first perfected the so-called “Mining Laboratory." This is in reality a working laboratory in the college, where problems in ore-dressing and metallurgy may be worked out by the student, as Professor Roberts-Austen well says, “Very nearly on a scale of twelve inches to the foot.” Its utility is everywhere acknowledged, and it may be said to be an essential part of the typical American mining school. The contribution of Columbia School of Mines is largely due to the foresight and energy of Professor Henry S. Munroe, who first organized and made effective, as a means of systematic instruction, the “Summer School of Practical Mining,” from what had hitherto been a mere summer jaunt without definite plan or purpose.
It seems to the writer that these two independent solutions of the difficulty are equally indispensible. The one enables theory and practice to blend during the school year; the other forces the student during his vacations to realize the working conditions he must meet after he graduates, and enables him to adjust himself to them before he makes the final plunge. Taken together, these methods make the continuous blending of engineering science and art for which Holley made his eloquent appeal. These new methods have had a most admirable effect, not only on the student, but upon the professor and upon the school. They keep all in touch with the working miner and his needs.
In the summer school lies the best method of bridging over the gap existing between the man practiced in the school and the man schooled in practice. Between them there is always a lack of sympathy, and, on the part of the latter, often a latent distrust, if not active jealousy. But they must work together in harmony to produce results. There is no way to understand the miner like that which comes from doing his work and sweating under his burdens, and the engineer who expects too little or too much of his subordinates seldom accomplishes anything.
The writer believes the snmmer school is capable of much greater development than it has yet received Utilized to the full, it gives the mining student, at annual intervals, four periods of nearly three months each, wherein he may attain a wide range of personal experience in surveying, field geology, mining and metallurgy, thus fitting him at once for a position of subordinate responsibility on graduation. Whatever may be the future of American mining schools, the mining laboratory and the summer school of practical mining will prove enduring and characteristic features.
A peculiarity of the American mining schools, as well as of American universities seem to be an over ambition to provide for the higher branches of education, together with a lack of adequate provision for the lower preparatory branches. Now, if there be a demand for two hundred mining engineers a year, there must be a need for double the number of mine foremen. To graduate two hundred engineers a year would necessitate perhaps one thousand students. This number could be taught by ten or even better by halfa-dozen, schools. Schools of mining engineering are expensive; two million dollars is a minimum endowment to make such an engineering school really effective, and three would be better; while many elementary schools of great usefulness to miners could be established for much less. *
There are now perhaps twenty more-or-less endowed mining schools in America. It would be a distinct gain if the field could be sub-divided. If all having less than two million dollars endowment available for the actual needs of the mining school were to confine themselves to elementary instruction prepara
* Two million dollars may seem a large sum, but it is easy to demonstrate that an adequate equipment and teaching staff can not be provided for less. In most cases, under American conditions, such endowments are justified only when the mining school is a part of a large and strong institution. A single national school of mines might at first sight seem justified as a measure of economy. But after a school reaches a certain size, duplication of plant and teaching force is in any case necessary, and the single school would lack not only the power of adapting itself to local needs, possessed by a half a dozen properly distributed schools, but also the advantages secured from a healthy rivalry. The latter is a factor in sound growth not to be ignored.