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the young mechanical engineer, is worth more to him, is more productive of results, than years spent in the haphazard, irregular, and always more or less incomplete training of commercial establishments. In fact the exact methods of science, as taught in the best schools, can never be learned in the field or in the shops, which oftenest train the young engineer to habits of inaccuracy, shiftlessness and content with a low standard of excellence, such as are likely to ruin his future rather than give him aid in his efforts towards advancement and professional success. It may be taken as settled that the best judgment of the best authorities has been declared in favor of a material equipment for the engineering school and a very complete and extensive one. What shall it be? That is the present and the live question for us.
Speaking generally and broadly, it seems sufficiently obvious that the equipment of every engineering school should be such as will best illustrate the scientific principles taught in its elementary work and the processes of engineering practice which naturally constitute essential parts of the work of instruction in such schools and which can be better taught there than in the uncertain and unsystematic school of regular engineering practice, and such as will afford opportunity for the acquirement of familiarity by actual touch and practice with all those methods of scientific research in engineering which are now so commonly and so generally found to be essential elements of professional preparation for the practitioner, and which cannot usually be learned with any degree of accuracy, completeness and satisfaction, if indeed they can be taught at all, outside the engineering school. Above all, it may be said, in speaking of the higher schools of engineering—the professional schools without admixture of the diluting elements of extra-professional work—the equipment should comprehend all that is needed to make them capable of supporting, as graduate departments, systems of instruction in all the most advanced lines of applied science in engineering and of carrying on and promoting scientific research in fields still unfamiliar to the practitioner but in relation to which he is daily compelled by the rapid advance in professional and general practice to seek additional information, or within which unexplored fields are constantly arising problems challenging solution. Scientific investigation and research in all departments of engineering are coming to constitute the main lines of advance and the principal occupation of scientifically trained graduates of the schools pursuing advanced work. Thus that equipment is best which, within the range of the work of the school for which it is intended, gives the most complete facilities for illustrating its courses of instruction and for original research in the various lines of applied mechanical science.
Exact adaptation for the purpose may be thus assumed as the primary requisite in the establishment of an outfit for any engineering school. The courses of instruction should be first thoughtfully planned with a view to high efficiency and most perfect fitness to the object in view. Their illustration by a collection of equally well-chosen apparatus is the next and natural step of preparation for work. The last of all methods of equipping any school is one which is nevertheless sometimes observed, the collection of all sorts of apparatus and machinery, wherever or however they may be obtained, and the subsequent distortion of the courses of instruction to bring them into service. One simple, inexpensive piece of apparatus, or one bit of machinery, illustrating well an essential principle is worth more than the most imposing and costly piece of apparatus or a collection of expensive machines of which the main value is that of the museum. One thousand dollars expended in the purchase of the simple and complete series of illustrations of mechanical principles taught in the earlier part of the course of instruction in the engineering school has more intrinsic and paying value than ten thousand dollars paid for some costly, but seldom needed, instrument or machine, the elementary collection lacking.
The elementary outfit should be the first secured, and, if any difference were allowable, the most carefully chosen. It is here that a stated sum may be made to do most good. It will purchase the largest amount of useful illustrative apparatus, will render efficient the instruction of the largest number of students, and will do most, in all ways, to make the work of the school efficient. The equipment for illustration of the course of the first year should be purchased first and with most liberality of expenditure; next the outfit of the second year should be procured, then that of the third year and of the latter part of the course; and, finally, a sufficient amount of capital being available, there should be gathered together, first the simpler, and then the more ambitious portions of the equipment of the departments of experimental engineering and of research. Every principle and every
method should be illustrated, where practicable, and by concrete apparatus and mechanism—by the real, live, machinery and apparatus of actual practice whenever possible—if it be the methods of engineering that are to be exemplified. The outfit for the elementary portion of the course is commonly easily obtained and its place and purpose are so definitely fixed by the character of the course to be illustrated that no hesitation will be felt, ordinarily, either in regard to the nature or the quantity of the illustrations. Choice of quality is often allowed, and, as a general rule, exact adaptation to its purpose is the one requisite to be insisted upon in selection. On the one hand, no defect of design or of construction should be allowed; on the other, nothing should be wasted on unnecessary polish or inappropriate and costly material. As moderate cost as is consistent with good form, material, workmanship, finish, and durability should be insured. Good judgment and deliberation in choosing precisely the right method and apparatus of illustration will usually provide all that can be advantageously employed in the elementary departments, with a moderate expenditure of capital.
The tools of trade constitute, in all engineering schools, an essential part of the equipment. They are needed not only in illustration of the principles and methods of work, but also, and mainly, for use in the practice of the art with a view to giving every student familiarity by its practice with all its essential operations. These instruments and tools should always represent the most serviceable makes, and should be excellent in design and construction, with no superfluous finish or ornamentation, and above all, thoroughly accurate. They should represent the apparatus and tools of the best practitioner, as chosen by him for utility and durability. Accuracy and reliability are the first requisites; convenience, handiness, portability, where transportable, should also be insisted upon. Where perfectly practicable, when numbers are required of the same kind, the makes of several of the best manufacturers should be included in the outfit, in order that the student may be able to observe the differences among them, their several advantages and disadvantages, and their excellencies and defects, as well as make himself familiar with their peculiarities with a view to becoming competent to use them all, whenever and wherever met with in later practice.
Such collections of tools, to be of maximum value, must be selected each with a definite purpose, accessory to the main purpose of the school, to which it should be adapted most perfectly. To this end the plan of operation of the establishment must first be exactly determined and fully planned in every detail, and the kind and quantity of every sort of tool needed should be predetermined. If the school is to be mainly a manual training school, the exercises will presumably be graded from those requiring comparatively little skill in the use of the simplest tools, to