At the most basic level, Craftsmanship is the demonstrated skill or dexterity resulting from years of practical experience. The United States of America has been known throughout history for the performance of its Craftsmen. The Industrial Revolution in many ways robbed our workforce of many of the values held true by our Craftsmen of old. There are still some areas of work where one man or one woman is responsible in total for the quality of their product...but this is rare. In most cases our trades have been so broken down into specialties that no single individual produces an entire product.
To make more products faster, factory owners broke the manufacturing process into a sequence of small steps that when placed together produced a fully manufactured product. This sequence of steps was called a manufacturing process manifested by the appearance of The Assembly Line. The idea was to break the work down into simple enough "bites" so that with just a little bit of training a man or women could be put to work full-time almost immediately. By breaking up the work into small enough pieces, the level of skill and experience required could be greatly reduced. Another result was a bored worker performing endless simple repetitive tasks.
Delivering quality became a function of the process: the proper sequence of steps, exact instructions and specifications, quality oversight etc. What eventually happened was a loss of pride in workmanship of The American Craftsman in many areas of manufacturing. Quality Control Inspectors set quality standards rather than the Worker (Craftsman), or the machines and tools set the standard. By only working a small piece of a large item, The American Assembly Line Worker lost the feeling of ownership of the product and its quality. This disassociation of the Assembly Line Worker from the product has made much of our manufacturing an impersonal process and has caused many businesses to fail.
Today, world competition has thrust Americans into competition with many countries with a lower standard of living and therefore cheaper labor. Modern impersonal manufacturing processes, discussed above, have in many cases produced a poorly motivated workforce: producing poor quality and getting high wages that results in expensive products. Many advocate high tariffs to protect ourselves from foreign products produced by cheaper labor and in many cases having better quality. Is this the right answer? Should we accept the current result in many manufacturing areas and just perpetuate the "system" through high tariffs that eliminate the competition? Since when do Americans hate competition?
Some companies have "broken the code" and have decided to educate their workforce, to depend on their workforce by including their ideas to improve manufacturing processes and to procure sophisticated equipment with the latest technology. Their end result is a new manufacturing process that requires hard-working, skilled, motivated and sharp Craftsmen to produce a hundredfold or thousand fold the number of products produced by one worker in the past. Knowledge in many areas including math, computers, communication, writing, team building etc. is required to succeed in today's best manufacturing facilities. A whole new "skill set" is required to guide our new massive machines through their "light speed" processes and detect problems before they affect production.
We must boldly move forward. Industry needs Leaders and Craftsmen who are not afraid of competition. There must be investment in technology and in the education and training of our future Craftsmen. Company Executives and Craftsmen must respect each other and recognize the importance of each other's role and the necessity for each to be competent. Continuous improvement in process, skills and productivity must be a way of life if we are to regain our slipping reputation.
We are "proud to be an American"! We work hard and do our best. We are always striving to improve our skills. Taking on more responsibility with experience is expected and we teach less experienced people all we know. Most of all, we are proud of the results of our labor. We do our jobs as if our own families were going to buy the products we produce. Cherish American Craftsmanship and praise the efforts of our Children who like to work with their hands. There is a great shortage of Skilled Craftsmen in our country. Every Engineer's or Architect's Plan, Blueprint, Specification or Great Idea must be physically built by a Craftsman or by a machine built by a Craftsman. Look around...all that you see was built by an American Craftsman. It is a noble and honorable profession! By the way, most Engineers and Architects also like working with their hands and turning Science into reality in partnership with The American Craftsman.
Visit our Shopping Mall to buy a cast aluminum sculpture of an eagle with spread wings made for mounting on a wall. Our cast eagles are manufactured by the DONSCO Inc. Foundry in Pennsylvania and distributed by John Wright. We feature the DONSCO Foundry as an example of American Craftsmanship. Read The American Family Tradition associated with The American Eagle.
Visit our Shopping Mall to buy a set of Tinker Toys. Tinker Toy - - a Classic since 1913! Connect the wooden wheel-like spool with any of the multiple dowels and create abstract forms and shapes. Your imagination is the only thing needed to create and build with these sets. Hours of fun! Encourage your children to develop their physical skills and their imagination! Who knows, you may discover you have An American Craftsman, Architect or Engineer in your Family!
We are looking for a good Lincoln Logs Set and a good Erector Set to offer Parents so they can develop Children's talent in the areas of Craftsmanship, Architecture and Engineering.
See The John Wright Company and DONSCO Inc. at the top of this page for modern examples of Craftsmanship!
This Web Site is
the intellectual property of American Family Traditions. Some of the information
provided is general knowledge and some is the original work of American Family
Traditions. Permission must be requested to use or reproduce any of its contents
to ensure fairness. Footnotes have been provided where appropriate to give
credit to the work of others and to ensure you get permission from those