Degradation of Craftwork in America

Enjoy reading "The Degradation of the American Machinist" by Terry D. Coffman. A well written expression of observations and frustrations about the growing degradation of quality in craft work.  It draws attention to the lack of respect that comes from those who do not understand or appreciate the skills that took a lifetime to hone. This article is written by a Master Machinist on being a Master Machinist and this perspective could easily be applied to any craft that requires an apprenticeship to become a 'master' or 'journeyman' craftsman.

I wish we could Thank Terry personally, perhaps one day he will see his article here and contact us. It's an all too often shared perspective among the "Masters" and "Journeymen" as you can see by the responses from a few of the 20 or so metering friends whom I sent this article to. (You too are welcome, even invited, to post your comments after reading). 

“The story of the machinist really struck a chord with me. What was once a prized and much valued trade is now going by the wayside and being replaced by the computer. This is happening in almost every trade. However the value of a good kind a caring instructor cannot be replaced.”

“Sadly, it sounds kind of like us. They keep dumbing everything down, I feel bad for the young guys.”

“I read the article on the machinist trade they are trying to do this with most of the skilled trades.  We saw it when they did the AMR project here. They claimed they were trained. What a bunch of monkey boys they were. They damaged a lot of customer equipment. They did not know what bypass links were, I could go on and on.”

“Thanks for the story Brad – That’s well worth reading!”

“…it also says much about a philosophy that sells out America for a quick buck.  Hopefully we can bring manufacturing back without lowering wages and benefits to third world standards.”

“Sad but true. We don't repair very many meters anymore. We mainly replace them. We have become a disposable society. If it doesn't work, throw it away and buy something new. Retirement is looking better all the time.”

“Wow … this is so true !!!”

“I really like the machinist story. It seems to be applicable more and more as we move forward.”

“Thanks for the article on the state of craft work in America, I enjoyed reading it!  I have always admired your passion for our trade and if there is such thing as a Master Meterman, you are it in my opinion!”

“So true, our meters are built on the border of Mexico.  Welcome to ‘Made in America’.”

“Thanks for the article, so true.” 

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Reader Comments (1)

It is truly the season for giving THANKS! Wednesday night after teaching, I came home to find that Terry had found his story here and he took the time to contact us! What a blessing to have heard from him. I'm sharing a little portion of his email:
"After a CT scan today (I have a tumor thanks to Agent Orange), I really didn't feel good so I started playing on the computer. For some reason, I just typed in my name and hit enter; low and behold, the article that I had written so many years ago had several hits. I started reading and found the really nice comments that had been written about it in the Treasure Box. So I thought I would reply.......

I had written it a short time before I retired for good. I wrote the article in frustration over not being able to secure a decent job. So, I ran a job shop behind my house for many years doing welding and machining. I had an old and very well used LeBlond Regal gearhead lathe and a Bridgeport "J" head milling machine, neither of which had a DRO. I did many very precise jobs simply by knowing how much play I had in the machines. Unfortunately, I had to sell the machines, now I miss the sound of the gears whining with chips flying and the smell of machine oil. I still have my old tool box and now fight the battle of rust. I check my tools only to find "freckles" on them.

I noticed that there were many free downloads of a PDF file of the article. I welcome this, I wish I could put a copy in the hands of every high school senior to read. A college education is fine but there is a huge need for skilled hands. The trend today is to look down on an individual who gets his hands dirty. Well, it never hurt me and put food on our table for many a year. Now I spend my time, when I feel well, by blacksmithing, making crosses, roses, knives, and other things with the same care and precision as I always have."

THANK YOU Terry! What a wonderful writer you are and we truly appreciate your time ....
We are so Blessed to have this from you and we wish you all the best and pray that all of your prayers are answered! ~ Brad & Michele Harris

November 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad aka Metergod

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