This is an
age of mechanics-an age of machinery. Many of the most successful men
of today owe their success, and the vast fortunes they have accumulated,
first, to their specialized knowledge of mechanics and, second, to the
development of the particular branch of mechanics which they have followed.
Thomas Edison is a mechanic, but in the electrical branch; Henry Ford
is a mechanic, in the automobile branch; General George Goethals, the
famous engineer who built the Panama Canal, while one of the greatest
Construction Engineers this country has ever produced, is in a broader
sense a mechanic.
advances in scientific knowledge and achievement during the next generation
are going to be made in the chemical, electrical and mechanical fields.
The man who can invent a piece of machinery that will enable a factory
to do more work in less time is hailed as a hero and rewarded accordingly.
There is hardly anything that you can think of that isn't done by machinery.
Wars are waged by machinery. The great guns are machines; the men who
work them are mechanics. The men who make the guns are mechanics; so are
the men who make the machines with which the guns are made.
They might let the girl pedal her own machine when she sews the clothes, shirts, neckties and hats you wear, but it takes too much time-and time is money. Even bread is made by machinery now. They dump a barrel of flour and the other ingredients into one end of the machine, and loaves of bread, made and baked, come out the other end. And even there a machine takes them, wraps them up in paper and piles them in baskets ready to be distributed to the grocery stores. Men in offices even do arithmetic by machinery. A mechanic has invented a machine that will add, subtract, divide and multiply and do it all quicker and surer than any man could do it. In the weaving mills where carpets and linens, lace curtains, cloth for your clothes and all kinds of things are woven, all of the work is done by machinery. One girl attends to several big weaving looms. If one thread on one of those looms breaks, the loom automatically stops until this girl comes and ties the ends together again.
She even ties the knot in that thread with a machine-because she can't tie it smooth enough with her fingers. Every man, every boy, needs a knowledge of mechanics. When you build a wagon or a bob-sled or a roller coaster or anything that you have a lot of fun with, you are a mechanic. The man who owns an automobile must know something about mechanics. So must the man who owns a motor boat or even a bicycle. Schools everywhere are teaching practical things almost to the exclusion of classical subjects. Boys and men are hungry for practical knowledge. The first consideration of the boy or young man about to begin studying in a technical or trade school is, "What can I learn to do that will earn the most money for me ? How can I gain a practical knowledge that will enable me to succeed in that line ?"
is no longer considered a laborer. Even the men who put together the great
bridges and the steel buildings, are mechanics; while the engineers who
plan and superintend the construction are also mechanics. Practical knowledge
is every boy's fortune. No matter what you are going to be when you grow
to be a man, a knowledge of the principles of mechanics will help make
you more successful. If you are going to be a manufacturer, you will have
to know the mechanical principles of the thing you manufacture and of
the machines with which it is made. If you are going to be a business
man you will have to know the principles of mechanics, because everything
deals with mechanics in one way or another.
Learning the principles of mechanics with Meccano is like playing. Any boy can have a heap of fun of the finest kind while he is playing with Meccano and he can learn unconsciously the things that will help him later on in life. He learns, but he doesn't realize it. The greatest baseball players of today are the men who, as boys, started to play baseball almost as soon as they could walk. They kept on playing baseball until they became regular "grass-eaters." And in time ball playing became second nature to them, and they now play ball just as easily as you would run around the block. The greatest swimmers in the world are the Hawaiians be- cause from babyhood up they live in the water. Lots of boys remember the "Abernathy Kids," who rode on horseback from Oklahoma to New York City, and then rode in the big parade. They were the wonder of the parade.
They sat up there on their horses with their little legs sticking out each side, and everybody who saw them wondered how two such "kids" could ride more than a thousand miles on horseback. But horseback riding is second nature to them because they had always rode horses and swung a herding whip, and cracked it like a gun. The most skillful and crafty guides in the woods are the Indians. An Indian can do things with a canoe that no white man could ever do. It is because Indians are brought up in a canoe. They spend the most of their time learning how to paddle one. The same with shooting with a rifle. The boy on a farm gets a rifle for Christmas when he is five years old. He plays with it-he uses it-until he becomes expert in shooting. When he goes out in the woods and sees a crow up in the top of a tree, he doesn't have to stand and take aim. He just puts the rifle up to his shoulder, squints along the barrel and "Bing"-the crow is dead. That's a lot of fun; but by doing that day after day the farm boy becomes an expert with the rifle.
skaters in the world are the Canadians. During the long winters in Canada
everybody goes skating. Even the little boys have their pair of skates,
and they soon become experts. They skate all winter, because skating is
such fun; it is one of their greatest outdoor pleasures. They skate for
fun, for pleasure, to have a good time. But while they are skating, they
are learning. They are becoming more expert all the time.
The most expert men in any line of business are the men who, as boys, learned to do the things that earn them their living when they grow up. A knowledge of mechanics gained early in life will be an asset to any boy. The boy who gains such knowledge will find that mechanics become second nature to him, just as skating or shooting or swimming, or baseball playing, or horseback riding, or anything else that he does when he is a small boy. The old saying that "Practice makes perfect" is true. Practice does make perfect. And the best part of it all is that any boy can practice with Meccano and have a lot of fun while he is practicing, and can learn things that will count strongly in his favor and help him when he rubs against the real problems of later life