Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
I'd like to share and comment on a post I made on a forum this morning.
Some years ago, as an electrician, I as called in to a service all in downtown Toronto, to a small but very busy print shop which was beginning to change to automated print machines, but still had a few that were manually fed. One of several run by one particular operator/ master printer had been set up to print engraved wedding invitations. The printer came in late, had the aura of owning the place; knowing that "these machines are mine" since he kept them running.
I've since thought long and hard, of the sight of him standing at his machine, manually feeding blank cards into the press and removing the finished product. If you were to stand at the kitchen counter, palms down flat, then move them about a foot to the right simultaeously and then left, back and forth in a rythmic motion you would be doing what he did for a living.
I can still to this day picture him standing there, tall, dark hair and glasses, around 50, would have apprenticed as a lat during the fifties. He was single, likely played cards late at night with his buddies, had some kind of interesting sidelines (intelligent fellow), but what he took pride in was being able to hand-feed a press faster than an automated press of the time, with a cleaner, crisper product. His pride was unmistakable.
What he felt was something that Marx and time study efficiency "experts" have never understood; that even operating simple machines repetitively may be excruciating to some but is the source of subtle but real mastery for others. Certainly he would have been made obsolete since then. I'm personally of a very different makeup; I'm the kind to be always looking for better ways of doing things.
Farming is a prime example of an area of skill where methods and machines underwent extremely slow transitions, like 400 years at least before steam engine refinements inthe early 1800's made possible new inventions. In both the U.S. and Canada, from 1830 on numerous inventors and manufacturers brought new products on the market with amazing rapidity.
Strange? Not to me. what is strange though, is the thought of all the men who followed a horse or ox down a field day after day, and never tried to figure a better design for a plow. It's even more interesting and equally pertinent to our discussion, to go to a rural plowing match, and watch how engrossed a farmer can get in lining up and accomplishing a perfect furrow. Skills perfected while following the horse down the field for many years, turned into an art form.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Cop and Carpenter ~ started both at same time and liked them both enough to continue them as parallel occupations. I write about what I know... I'm a cop and carpenter, a husband, a father and a blogger. My blogging combines the other four, ranging from the teenage trend known as "sexting” to notoriously loose handrails.
Robert E. Robillard
His site combines interests in the trades and their promotion, his dual careers, and by the looks of it, family values. I only see one problem; anyone with a trailer this organized.... just jealous!