Automobile Trades - The Importance of the Occupations
( Originally Published 1930 )
The passenger automobiles and the trucks which we see in such common use today are a comparatively new means of transportation. In 1895, there were only four of these passenger vehicles in use in the United States, and it was only in 1904 that motor trucks began to be used. In the early stages of their development, the automobiles were crude, clumsy, and poorly designed; and it was necessary to give them constant attention to keep them in operation. Each year since that time has brought great improvements until today the automobile is a highly perfected machine giving very little mechanical trouble and affording the greatest amount of comfort to its users. These improvements have taken place both in the passenger car and in the truck, and as a result horses have practically been discarded as a means of transportation. The automobile is now recognized as such a general means of transportation that many of the steam and electric railway systems are using it to supplement their passenger and freight services. The widespread use of this form of transportation has resulted in the creation of a large industry. It has also led to the development of many new occupations, among which are those of the automobile mechanic, the automobile electrician, the automobile painter, and the automobile body builders, all of whom are engaged in the work of repairing the cars and of keeping them in good condition.
The workers in these trades are important because we are dependent on automobiles and trucks, to a very great extent, for the transportation of passenger traffic and the necessities of life. They are the ones who keep these vehicles in good running order and make it possible for us to use them to their fullest capacity in our daily activities. It is due, in part, to the efforts of the auto-mobile mechanic, the electrician, and the body builder in repairing and replacing worn-out and broken-down parts that we are able to use automobiles for a number of years. The painter also prolongs the life of our cars by protecting their surfaces as well as by making them look presentable. This means that a gasoline-driven conveyance can be operated so that the cost can be distributed over a period of years, and thus its use can be considered as a measure of economy rather than as a luxury. It is also due to the work of these mechanics in keeping cars in good condition that automobile riding becomes to us a source of pleasure rather than of irritation. The invention of the automobile has brought these occupations into existence, and we find today that the men who do the work of keeping up our pleasure and business cars and trucks are very necessary and important individuals in the community.