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The student in civil engineering must acquire a high order of facility in the use of surveying instruments, but it must be adapted to his career as an engineer and not as a surveyor; and essentially the same observation may be applied to the instrumental work of the mining engineer. Indeed, the principle is perfectly general, and may be applied to each division of purely practical work in each specialty. The student should attain to that degree of excellence which will enable him at the end of his course of study to make a fair and reasonable connection with the beginnings of his professional career: the professional school cannot qualify him to do more, and he should not be content to do less. There is, again, a possible range in opinion as to the proper place in time for the introduction of these practical or routine matters. They may either precede, or follow, or be concurrent with, the abstract scientific studies to which they are related more or less closely. A careful consideration of the subjects involved will doubtless lead to the conclusion that all these relative positions must be employed. Familiarity with the physical characteristics and uses of tools, machines, simple mechanical processes, instruments, and apparatus cannot be acquired too soon. For this reason, workshop practice should be commenced at the beginning of the course of study, and it should be continued without break, if possible, until the end of the period allotted to it. It would seem that a reasonable number of hours per week will permit this part of any course in mechanical or electrical engineering, if pursued continuously, to be completed within one and one half to two years. If civil or mining engineering students should elect any work of this character, a half of that period, at most, will be sufficient for their purposes. This disposition of time for the purely mechanical or craft part of the student's work will give him a very appropriate and efficient preparation for the extension of the advanced branches of engineering physics into the fields of testing and research, which must of necessity be the work of the latter part of the course of study. The skill in mechanical manipulation requisite for the best quality of such advanced laboratory work as the testing and rating of steam engines and boilers, hydraulic motors, and other prime movers, as well as dynamos and other electric motors, the investigation of methods and devices for the transmission of energy, and for all other similar work will thus be acquired in logical priority to the time of the students' need. These portions will either be concurrent with or follow their analytical or theoretical treatment, as the nature of their various details may make advisable. The same order of procedure should be followed in the more elementary laboratory work of the physical testing of materials and hydraulic gauging, so far as the latter can be treated without field work, little or none of these divisions of the student's operations should precede the rational treatment. While it is undoubtedly true that there are some features of illustrative experimental work which are quite independent of the abstract principles involved, it is just as true that it is impossible to completely and accurately interpret them without a knowledge of those principles, and there are very few cases indeed where the study of the latter should not at least be concurrent with the experiment, and it should usually be precedent.
All field work of surveying and other geodetic operations, the gauging of rivers and canals, visits of inspection and for the purpose of reports, all of which involve the application of principles in the performance of specific duties, must necessarily be preceded by a thorough study of those principles, and by the acquisition of some degree of facility in their application, else the beneficial effects of such exercises will be seriously impaired. There is always more or less danger that engineering clinics, as the inspection of works in progress or operation under the supervision of instructors may be called, may degenerate into mere junketing expeditions. They may be made of distinct value, if the student really performs the work of an engineer, but not otherwise, and in order to accomplish that end he must have at least a material amount of engineering preparation. There can be no doubt of the benefit to be derived from making reports on works inspected independently by the student, beginning at as early a point in his course of study as will enable him to inspect and report upon engineering works or operations with intelligence, and continuing them at reasonable intervals until graduation. He will thus be encouraged to cultivate habits of close observation and the power to form conclusions, which will be of great value to him in his subsequent career.
In discussing these matters of laboratory and field work, such topics as the study of chemistry, physics, geology, mineralogy, metallurgy and assaying have not been mentioned, although they should most certainly be included in the appropriate courses of engineering training. There can be no question about the efficiency of the approved methods of instruction in those subjects pursued in both the universities and advanced technical schools of the present day. The rational, experimental, and field studies are so distributed and executed as to leave little or nothing more to be desired, or to be gained by discussion. It may only be observed in passing that those subjects serve very important ends in the ideal engineering education, and that they must be found occupying essential places in it.
The completion of designs and estimates and the consideration of the specifications which should govern them form a most important division of advanced instruction in engineering, which should invariably follow the rational study of the abstract principles involved. No design of any structure, machine, or process, can be developed on the ideal lines of pure theory, but the necessary adjustment of theoretical results to the complex conditions under which the object of the design is to perform its duty, can best be made and, indeed, can only be rationally made, through an accurate knowledge of the main principles involved. It is indispensable, therefore, that the closest possible acquaintance with those principles should be cultivated prior to that use of them which the engineer must make in the complete design of his works. These designs should be elaborated, as far as possible, with the same careful regard to detail as would be required in the actual execution of the work. The complete estimates of the various classes of material can then be made by precisely the same methods employed in engineering offices, and on those estimates of quantities should be based the estimates of cost. There is reached at this point a portion of educational work which is most difficult to manage in a satisfactory manner. Indeed, it is probable that a perfectly satisfactory result cannot be attained, but it is at least possible to so present to the student the elements of the process of estimating costs that his earliest practical experience will give him complete control of the subject.
He should be made to understand that there are economic as well as mechanical principles, and that a smaller quantity of material with a larger amount of labor put upon it may considerably exceed in cost a larger quantity of material on which less labor has been expended. The reduction of shop costs through extension of facilities for handling material, and the improvement of processes can be impressed upon his mind in such a way as to prompt him to pursue intelligently in his subsequent practice every effort to secure further advantages in the same direction. Such a presentation of the elements of cost of work, including cost of material, labor, handling, freight, erection, plant, tool rent, office cost, and other similar charges which it is perfectly feasible to put before him in a clear and forcible manner, will give a quality to his realization of the practical nature of engineering work which it is impossible for him to secure in any other