A convention was recently held in the city of Albany for the purpose of forwarding measures to the establishment and endowment of a college in this State, where young men will receive a profound education, and be taught practical mechanics. An association for this purpose, of which D. C. McCullum Esq., architect, an excellent man, is President, has been in existence for some time. The objects of the association are good; we like them, and we hope to see them carried out fully and fairly by the contributions of the mechanics of the State of New York, independent of all political patronage. At the said convention, W. Deering, of Albany, stated that the operatives belonging to the manufacturing establishment to which he belonged, had set in operation a plan for raising funds to establish the People's College. The plan is for each operative to pay in six cents per week as an endowment fund. This is commencing the work in the only rational and proper manner to ensure success. If all our mechanics throughout the State would go into this scheme heart and hand for one year, they would raise a handsome fund indeed. There are no less than 200,000 mechanics in this State, and if each one could pay six cents per week into this fund, it would amount to $12,-000 per week, or $624,000 in a year. If one-half of this number would thus contribute (a number which we think are able to contri bute), they would in one year establish the strongest college in this State. But will they do it 1 that is the question. This project originated with the " Mechanics' Mutual Protection," an order which at one time promised to to be exceedingly useful and beneficial to manufacturers and mechanics. Its objects were to cultivate a good feeling between them, and to advance knowledge and skill in the arts. Many of the best mechanics in this State joined it, and hailed itsjise as the dawning-ffit a brighter day. It prospered for R-fcw years, and has still a weak existence. It might have been prosperous and strong now had not some political enthusiasts endeavored to make it subservient to party purposes. It has done some good however, and it may rise again, and become wise and beneficial.! With respect to Industrial Colleges, sorn* foreign countries are far in advance ot us, but not so in Britain, for there are no such institutions in that kingdom. On the continent ol Europe, however, they have been in existence for a long period, and have always been advancing in usefulness. In many of the German States, institutions for industrial instruction are in A highly efficient state. The pupils reared in them are in constant demand, and are estaemed above all others. In the Trade Schools and Polytechnic Institutions of Germany, it is estimated that 13,000 men annually receive a technical and scientific training; and in schools attended by the working classes during their leisure hours, upwards of 20,000 operatives are systematically studying the elements of science and art. In the capitals of the German States there are central institutions of the nature of industrial universities, the object of which is to teach the principles of science and art applicable to production, preparatory to their being afterwards practically followed out in the operations of the factory and the workshop. The importance of these technical colleges is recognized by even the smallest of the German States, which support them at considerable expense. In the institution at Carlsruhe (Baden) with its museums, laboratories, and work-, shops, there are 330 pupils, whose training is superintended by 21 professors and teachers. The Central School of Arts and Manufactures in Paris annually educates 300 pupils in applied science and art, and exhibitions in connection with it exist in 29 departments, for the instruction of poor but meritorious artisans in the provinces. The pupils of this school readily find employment on leaving ifcj and 500 of them are known to be holding p o sts of importance in various parts of the world. No country in the world has progressed so rapidly in the knowledge and skill of the industrial arts as these United States within the past 20 years. Every machinist knows what great improvements have been made in tools and all kinds of machines. We are not marching forward merely, but running a race for the character of " the master mechanics of the world." With the establishment of Industrial Colleges in every state, the time will soon arrive when this character will be ours.
This article was originally published with the title "Mechanics and Industrial Education"