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From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: drill sharpening FAQ?
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 21:24:43 GMT

John Stevenson wrote:

Incidently Cyril now works for me part time, he's 73
> and still has it all together, he'll be out his time in a couple of years <g>

So then he will be a "Good Beginner"  ;^)

Which just reminded me that first couple of years out of time an Apprentice was
called an "Iprover"

The tradition, in my part of the world was, that, on the day you finished your
time, usually six or seven years, you were given your Certificate and a 'Pink

Seriously, you were fired and told to go elswhere!

Admittedly you maybe just walked across town to another shop that hired you, on
the spot, to replace the "Lad" thay just fired..and who was, likely, just
settling in the warm spot you had just vacated.

Company Personnel people made sure you knew who was hireing before you left.

The "method" behind the "Madness" was two fold.

Firstly it ensured that their permanent skilled workforce brought skills other
that those just taught there.

It taught a wider skill base to the 'Improver"

When you returned..and many did, two, three five years later, to guaranteed
employment (if they were hireing) ensured that they could, if you were
qualified, put you back in the shops where you served as a "lad", as a lead
hand, chargehand, eventually Forman or Chief Engineer.  They could put you back,
with authority, over the very skilled men that had taught you your trade.  And
they would ACCEPT you (on a strictly merit basis)

You see, You left a "Lad"..and went back a "Man"!

Regrettably, that all ended just a couple of years before I finished my a regular, established practice.  I eventually became Sales Director,
of my "Parent Company"..But I can guarantee it would never have happened if I
hadn't left the year after I finished my time and "Journeyed" until they called
me, seven years later with an offer that eventually brought me to North America.

This remarkeable system dating back centuries..was a parallel to the Guild
System and Journeymen...forced to leave town or even the country, forbidden to
work for any one master for more than a year. learn the REAL trade
in which the Apprenticeship had prepared them to be "A Good Beginner" Fobidden
to return to their home Guild Town Often for many many years..on pain of Death!
..until they could return with documented proof of their "Journeyman" experience

He then had to produce the required Guild Test Piece whereapon he would be
inducted into the Guild, with its Inner Secrets, Rights, Obligations
CONSIDERABLE privileges and guaranteed Protection.

Some of the most beautiful examples of the craftsmans art ever to
many many different fields, were created by returning Journeymen as their Guild
test pieces.


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