ACHEMIST for one of the large varnish factories near New York city had worked out a formula for what appeared to him to be a very high grade product. le turned the formula over to the varnish maker with the request that he make up a batch in a practicable way. The varnish was made, but when tested failed absolutely to give the anticipated results. On making an investigation it was found that rosin had been intentionally substituted for the fossil gum that was designated in the formula. In a tannery where a pack of skins was being treated by a new process of bating. the foreman turned in steam so as to convert the stock into gelatine, and then claimed that the process had dissolved the skin. Many other instances of this sort could be cited, showing on the part. of foremen a disposition to hamper the work of a chemist. It is safe to say that three nut of five foremen to-day will do all in their 1l0\H'r to make an experiment go wrong, while even men in higher positions will often disparage the chemists efforts and take the advice of a so-called practical man. To be sure the chemist is often wrong, but usually for the reason that he has been given no opportunity to become familiar with the actual working conditions. The real reason for the lack of co-operation between chemists and foremen lies in the fact that the average foreman or superintendent, being very jealous of what he knows, is afraid that some one higher up will discredit his ability1, while at the same time he may fear that the chemist will get his job. On the other hand, the chemist is often to blame as he approaches the man with an “I know everything attitude, which from the start antagonizes the one with whom he should be on friendly terms. It .is the object of the present article to show what is being done to improve industrial conditions by giving the foreman a technical training. This has involved a radical departure from the usual method of chemical instruction. The writer hum bly begs your indulgence for ?Oill? in to detail when referring to this work which is so dose to his heart. In September, 1!5, the Pratt Institute inaugurated a new course, Imown as Applied Chemistry, at which time the writer was appointed to take charge of the Industrial ChmnstIY. lie was direeted to equip his laboratory and arrange his course so as to give the student a training along sueh lines as would have a practical bearing upon manufacturing operations, and would fit the students to become foremen, superintendents and heads of departments in our numerous chemical industries. As no other schools were giving such a course it became a matter of or:ginality, to work out the details of which was no small undertaking. To meet the demand of a large number of young men who could not afford the time or money for a four year course with college requirements, the course was made but two years in length, and only such subjects included as had a direct relation to manufacturing operations. To afford the necessary practieal instruction, five miniature factories were installed, eons:sting of Chemical Works, Soap Works, Dye Works, Paint and Color Iorks, and a Tannery. In opening the year's work one man is assigned foreman ' of the Chemical Plant and is ?iven four of his class-mates as assistants. Here th( preparation of chemicals is carried out on a fairly large scale and the stUdents become familiar with the handling of steam jaeketed kettles, vacuum pans, vaeuum pump, vacuum n1ter. flt(r press, stills, centrifugal machine, and drying ovens. It is not only the idea of showing how eertain chemicals are made, Lut the broader question of operating typical apparatus which is of the most importance. The foreman-ship Eystem is of value as it gives the student experi- enco in halllling men and assuming responsibility. All orders also are given directly to the foreman who in turn must transmit them to his men, and must spe that they carry out each operation with accuracy and dispatch. It is part of his duty, likewise. to see that his men are kept busy, that his factory is kept clean, that his machinery is in peried condition and that all products manufactured should be made at a profit. The stUdent assigned as oiler each week also reports to the foreman for instructLll. As one ?I'OlljJ of men finishes the assignment in the chemieal works another takes its plare and so the work continues. Those men of the class not employed in the industrial laboratory are engaged on analytical problems in the technical laboratory where they are required to make a complete analysis of sueh suhstances as water, gas, coal, cement, soap, oils, pigments, paints, tanning materials and other commercial products. It is the belief of the writer that the analysis of such materials not only familiarize s th2 student with comnwn analytical problems, but at the same Ume gives him experience in qualltitaLvc separations which will apply to unknown SUbstances more readily than if he had been given abstraet analytical problems to solve; and further, as these are some of the comman substances encountered in the works laboratory he is prepared from the start to undertake such analyses. It is not the object of this course, however, to turn out analytieal chemists and this training simply supplements the more important industrial instruction. When the ,frst group of students has remained in the technical laboratory for twO' weeks it Is assigned to the industrial laboratory again, but this time to the Soap Factory. In this faetory not only are various kinds of soaps prepared, with the corresponding instructions regarding the value of the fats employed and the theory' of sapon:fication explained, but the student beeomes familiar with the apparatus and machinery lsed in this industry. In this plant he is given more confidence in himself than in the chemical works; for the product which he makes must be of the highest quality to escape the criticism of his class-mates, and what is still mol, important, it must he good pnough to sell. During the past year 4,000 pounds of toilet soap wcre made ill this moc soap factory, all of which found a ready market. The equipnwnt of the soap factory consists of an eighty gallon lye tank, five hundred pound kettle, one hundred pound crutcher frames, slabber, cutting machine, chipper, stone mill, plodder and press. N"xt in order com(s the Paint aneI Color Iorks, the equipment for which eonsists of color tanks, filter press, ball mill, kneading machine, ehange-ean mixer, iron mill, two water-cooled 20-inch buhr stone mills and liquid mixer. During the past year over 400 gallons of ready mixed paints were made by the students at work in this factory all of which was sold and gave entire satisfaelion. Besides the regular work a large number of white paints were made for the American Soeiety for Testing :Taterials which will be tested out on fences erected in Iashington for the purpose. In the model Tannery the group is next assigned. Various processes of vegetable and mineral tannages are carried out together with all of the operation involved from the raw material to the finished product. The equipment for this faetory consists of a leach house, soak nits, lime pits, suspender pits, layer pits, paddles. mills, fleshing machine, shaving machine, union splitter, setting out table, (Continued on pwje 26:;.)
This article was originally published with the title "The Technically Trained Foreman"