( Originally Published 1918 )
An Apprentice is a person bound to service for a number of years, and receiving in return instruction in his master's business. Although in most of the states the contract is provided by statute, apprenticeship, as a necessary means of access to a trade, has been almost universally abolished.
Form of Contract of Apprenticeship
This Indenture of Apprenticeship, between John Wilson, father of Harry Wilson, on the one part, and Chas. Hastings, of the other part, witnesseth : That the said Harry Wilson, aged 15 years on the day of- , A. D. 19-, is hereby bound as an apprentice under the said Chas. Hastings, from the date hereof until the — day of —, 19-, to learn the trade and art of a printer, and is faith-fully to serve the said Chas. Hastings and correctly conduct himself during the term of his apprenticeship.
And the said Chas. Hastings hereby covenants that he will teach the said Harry Wilson the said trade and art, and will furnish him, during said apprenticeship, with board, lodging, washing, clothing, medicine and other necessaries suitable for an apprentice in sickness and health; and will send him to a suitable public school at least three months during each of the first two years of said term; and at the expiration of the said apprenticeship will furnish him with two new suits of common wearing apparel and one hundred dollars in money.
In testimony whereof, the parties hereto have set their hands and seals this — day of —, A. D. 19—.
(Apprentice) HARRY WILSON.
F. B. ATKINSON. (Master) CHAS. HASTINGS.
Witnesses(HENRY MEYERS. (Parent) JOHN WILSON.
Release of an Apprentice
Know All Men by These Presents, That —, son of —, did, by his indenture, bearing date the — day of —, A. D. 19—, bind himself as an apprentice unto — of —, for a terms of — years (or until he should be of legal age) from the date thereof, as by said indenture more fully appears.
That [here state fully the reasons for the release] by reason whereof, the said doth hereby release and forever discharge said — and his father, —, of and from said indenture and all service and all other agreements, covenants, and things contained therein, on their or either of their parts, to be observed and performed whatsoever, unto the day of this release.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my seal this — day of —, A. D. 19—. (Signature.)
Labor Unions in the United States have persistently opposed the employment of minors in the various trades in which their members are engaged. They ground their objection on the fact that the employers do not teach the boys a trade, but employ them simply to supplant men and to cut wages. Instead of being taught trades, it is charged, the boys are kept in narrow lines of work, the most profitable to the employer. The aim of the unions is to prevent the premature transference of the boys from the school to the shop, and to see that every boy in the shop shall have a chance to obtain a thorough knowledge of his trade. This, the unions claim, is necessary for the protection of both the men and the boys.
To meet this objection of the unions, a novel system of apprenticeship has recently been adopted by several large manufacturing establishments, notably, the Baldwin Locomotive Works, of Philadelphia, and the machine shop of Brown & Sharp, of Providence, R. I. The essential features of the system are : 1. Shop work under the charge of a superintendent of apprentices, the boys being given change of work, so as to familiarize them with all the operations of the shop. 2. Technical instruction in evening classes, either in a school or by the correspondence method. It is made the duty of the superintendent to look after the apprentices, not only in the shop but out of it, and to see that they are not "held back" by the foreman, but are pushed ahead according to their capabilities, and allowed to get all they can out of the course.