I often see in the trade papers of the day the question asked by young men, “Where shall I go to learn my trade to the best advantage?” To the boy or young man who is in earnest, it is a vital and all-important question, but to the one who has to learn, or go to school, and who chooses the shop rather than the school-room, it does not make any material difference where he goes, so far as he is concerned. And so far as the rest of human race is concerned, I don’t think any of us care. At least I don’t, so long as he takes care to keep away from my shop.
To the boy who is interested in mechanical work, and whose talents naturally develop in that direction, I would suggest that his time of apprenticeship be served in a small shop, for the following reasons: First, in the small shop there is generally but one “cub” or apprentice at a time, and he grows to have more of an interest in the place than if it was large and employing many hands. Second, not having any other boy to play with or to divert his mind from the regular work of the shop, he will get along faster and will grow to be more of a man in his thoughts regarding the reasons for the ways and methods for doing things.