MESSES. EDITORSmdash;In your paper of the 25th ult., you complain of the want of a sufficient number ot " intelligent mechanics " in our country to fill the numerous openings constantly occurring ; you say, " we have frequent applications for practical intelligent mechanics who can superintend their business, and we know from experience how difficult it is to obtain them. A gentleman, writing to us some time ago for a machinist to superintend his foundry and machine shop, said he would give him above S2,000 per annum, but would be willing to give more could he get the proper person, a gentleman, with whom he could associate as a friend. The elevation of our working men is one object about which we are solicitous." As I have long been a reader and subscriber of your valuable paper, of coarse I am not ignorant of some ot the advantages derived by a mechanic who regularly reads it, and I must own my surprise at your complaint of a want of intelligent mechanics ; my means of knowing the wants of the country, in this respect, I do not compare with your means of that knowledge, but from some experience in this community, and taking it as an index of the matter, I supposed no demand for intelligent machinists could be made that could not be promptly met, if properly made known to our machinists ; for here I know them as a class to be really intelligent men, and as we have supplied, satisfactorily, many wants, for managers, from all parts of the country, and believe we can furnish several at present, I wish to inquire ot you whether you have thought of this " village," where your paper has very many readers?" and if you have failed in obtaining an intelligent machinist, a fit companion for a gentleman, Acre, and will communicate the fact to me, I can name one to you who can satisfactorily answer your call, and he will do it, if the location is one where he would not risk too much by going. CHAS. N. BROCK, No. 30 North 10th st., Philadelphia, Pa. [It would be a sad thing, indeed, for our country, if every city did not contain many very intelligent mechanics, and every village, too, in proportion to its population, but we do assert that, in proportion to their number, our mechanics do not possess the amount of intelligence they should possess, and for this reason they do not exercise a public influence in proportion to their number and real usefulness. The reason why it is difficult to obtain competent men, with the requisite qualifications, is, they are generally prized and can find situations at any time. We had a letter last week, from a mechanic and artist in Boston, stating that he never was out of a situation for one hour in twenty years, and that he always had the highest wages paid him ; this he attributed to the reading and study of good works and to a taste for experimental philosophy. Mr. Brock will find one of the complaints to which we referred on page 277, Vol. 6, Scientific American, and the advertisement of the same gentleman on page 279, same volume. At one time the professions of medicine and surgery were ranked with that of the barber ; but educationmdash;a high educationmdash;has raised the Doctors of the healing art, to a position (as the world judges) far above that of the mechanic. This should not be. Our aim is to elevate, and for the statements which we made in the letter referred to by Mr. Brock, we have already received the thanks of a number of mechanics for uttering them so freely. We are, perhaps, personally acquainted with more mechanics, in different parts of our country, than any other person, and we cannut draw back a single expression we have made. The intelligent (what we consider intelligent) are the select few ; we shall labor to make them the select many. It has, no doubt, come under the observation of Mr. Brock, as it has under ours, how that one shop in a place will have an average range of intelligent mechanics far above another in the same place, as if like qualities drew together kindred minds. We thank him for writing frankly on this subject ; and gentlemen in various parts ot the countrymdash;manufacturers and others, will be pleased to take notice of his statements in reference to intelligent mechanics.
This article was originally published with the title "Mechanics" in Scientific American 8, 18, 139 (January 1853)