A Time Gone BY


At 31, I was in the last shop class my County school district offered. At the end of the semester they came in, hauled all the machinery off, and replaced it with a computer lab. It was sad then, but as I look around at the up and coming youth of today, it’s kinda depressing. Kids go 13 years in the public school system without learning even basic shop skills as we emphasize more and more the importance of a technology based curriculum.

Goodfellow over at The Garage Gazette posted this 1940’s video on becoming an automotive service technician a couple days back and it really made me think back to a time when we encouraged kids to learn to work with their hands and didn’t instill in them the notion that a blue collar job placed them lower in the social hierarchy. Theres nothing wrong with encouraging your kids to pursue a career in some white collar field, but hey, even stock brokers and brain surgeons ought to know how to change a tire.


  1. I’m 50 now, and remember attending a “small engine maintenance/repair” (I don’t remember the actual course title) course at my community college 30+ years ago. When I was in high school, the county vocational school offered an “automotive” track, where kids would spend 1/2 their day in traditional classes, then be bussed to the vocational school for the remainder of the day.

    I still live in the same county, but the vocational schools are completely different now; they offer “high tech”, computer science, bio tech, marine science, communications (one of my sons goes there), performing arts, culinary, and they’re full-day schools, offering all necessary courses. The local high school offered an automotive task of some kind, but they stopped enrolling students 3 years ago, and the program will end next year.

    My, how things have changed.

  2. It’s pretty sad how little millennials know about fixing things now. My cousin runs way and time I have a power tool out doing something. A small little 12v drill freaks him out. Don’t get my started when I asked him to weed wack my back yard. It wasn’t even a gas powered thing it was a 20 Volt WorxGT 2.0 I’m glad I have some basic knowledge on Auto and Small engine repairs it saves me from getting taken advantage of. I had the ac clutch go on my Pontiac Grand Prix every shop wanted to replace the compressor which as a huge repair and I knew it wasn’t necessary I want to say 6 years later the ac still works great and knock on wood the car is from 1997 and works great except of a bad wheel bearing I really need to get fixed. Whats even worse whit this kid is he loves playing on the computer and doesn’t even want to know or cares on you you even fix that. It’s frustrating to see this shit happen right in front of you. Whats even worse he does have a father, but its a separated relationship. I didn’t have a father at all growing up, and I love anything mechanical to woodworking.

  3. In the litigious society in which we live, suspect that another issue is the liability that School Districts face when they undertake a shop program. Other than carpal tunnel syndrome there is probably less risk with keyboarding than there is with welding or operating a table saw. I’m in my late 60’s so I recall my high school metal shop, wood shop and auto shop and the good work practices that they taught. While my career ended up being more about an engineering and business education – I never regret having taken shop – and derive many hours of pleasure from the woodworking hobby and the skills that I learned in High School wood shop

  4. Anybody remember making acetylene pipe bombs or cutting chinese throwing stars in the shear press……..? That is what we did.

    I don’t think a childs brain has the ability or capability to cope in any reasonable way anything mechanical or electrical. It takes years to develop the subtleties and the nuances of anything engineered. It took the designers time to design……as well it will take a person time to figure out the design. And a couple semesters just won’t do it.

    Here is all you need to know about engineering……everything goes round and round and up and down………


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