It is the duty ot every mechanic and artisan to study and show himself to be a good workman. Whatever a man does let it be done well; a slovenly, careless workman is a disgrace to his race and country. There is room for the display of taste and talent in every trade and art, and a man who wishes to excel—a laudable ambition—will embrace every opportunity of extending the boundaries of his knowledge in all that relates to his trade, art, business, taste or interests. It was a happy day for the progress of the arts, when the first Industrial Fairs were instituted. We do not intend to present a history of their rise and progress, we only wish to present a few ideas respecting the benefits which necessarily flow from them. Let us take, for example the last Fair of the American Institute which has just closed. What were the articles exhibited which will conduce to greater excellence in construction, or in originating superior ones? We cannot tell specifically, but we do say, that much was exhibited which must produce good effects in exciting to greater effort, those who were exhibitors, and many more who were only spectators. Every one who appears at a Fair believes he has something more than common to show ; he does not go there with a palpably inferior something which will make'him appear ridiculous. No, he believes that the work of his hands and head has some merit in it, and he is proud to show it. This is the reason why so many things of beauty, skill, and ingenuity are collected at such exhibitions, Some visitors go to Industrial Fairs for pleasure, such as to see the curious and pretty things, but a large number of all classes go to see what is new, and "pick up what is useful. "There," said an inventor in our hearing, " is the very thing that ha? bothered my head for years; it always baffled me, and here it is, and so simple, too." He really felt some relief, and was a gainer by coming to the Fair. It is a wise provision ot some German corporations, which compels a mechanic to travel and work for some time in different shops before he will be permitted to set up business in his native place. Practice leads to perfection, but then a person must have a model—a standard of excellence to practice upon. The excellence of one artist stirs up the spirit of emulation in another to excel, and certainly the more masters in the arts, who exhibit, the more instruction will the spectators receive. Men accustomed to view the same round of things continually, move in very circumscribed circles, their knowledge is as limited as that of the islander who believes that his own puny isle in the ocean is the only dwelling spot in the world for man. The great utility of industrial fairs is their economy to visitors who go to see for instruction. Here mechanics, without travelling to any great distance, can see excellent machines from all parts of the country; manufacturers can also see a great variety of manufactured goods from various near and distant places. A wide field for comparison and healthy stimulation to excel is therefore presented at such Fairs. The products are so various that all the world might come even to a small Fair, and find something of a superior character to interest every one of the vast crowd. There is not a solitary individual who attends our Industrial Fairs, il he has any powers of observation at all, but learns something. The endless variety of objects presented, from needles and pins, boots and coats, knives and spoons, shirts and frocks, c, to reaping machines, spinning frames, and steam engines, cannot fail to impart new ideas, and expand the mind. We therefore look upon Industrial Fairs as a grand element of civilization, of progress, and good to the human family. Where-ever an industrial exhibition is held, it is the duty ot our citizens to give it all the patronage and encouragement they can, and it is for their own interest to do so. The great " World's Fair " has given an impetus to such exhibitions, which, we trust, will exert a per-' manent influence for good, and not pass away k like a,thing of foible and fashion.
This article was originally published with the title "Industrial Fairs" in Scientific American 8, 9, 69 (November 1852)