Shop Class Journalism

In last month's WIRED magazine, Clive Thompson reminds us why shop class is important, especially for "my" generation.


Shop Class as Soulcraft
is the tentative title of a forthcoming book by Matthew B. Crawford.
In the article upon which it is based, published in The New Atlantis two years ago, Crawford brings together a lot of the themes I've been blogging about here for the past year.
[A]n engineering culture has developed in recent years in which the object is to “hide the works,” rendering the artifacts we use unintelligible to direct inspection. Lift the hood on some cars now (especially German ones), and the engine appears a bit like the shimmering, featureless obelisk that so enthralled the cavemen in the opening scene of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Essentially, there is another hood under the hood. This creeping concealedness takes various forms. The fasteners holding small appliances together now often require esoteric screwdrivers not commonly available, apparently to prevent the curious or the angry from interrogating the innards. By way of contrast, older readers will recall that until recent decades, Sears catalogues included blown-up parts diagrams and conceptual schematics for all appliances and many other mechanical goods. It was simply taken for granted that such information would be demanded by the consumer.
This guy gets it!

Bonus points awarded because Crawford used to run a motorcycle shop here in Richmond, VA--and because he turned me on to local machine tool dealer Dempsey and Co.


Michael Konrad said...

Hi, I just found your blog from a link on the Nicola Cycles blog.

Reading this entry made me think of a recent sculpture by Joshua Wilichowski. It's an exploded view of an '81 Suzuki motorcycle.

sirenbicycles said...

Very good read. Thanks for the info... I'm linking you now. :-)