I spent the 80's bouncing around the Detroit area Tool & Die and Mold
shops learning from the masters who had trained in the Ford trade
school, listening and learning from them.
The Ford trade school was started by Henry Ford in the early part of
the century. He sought out the best skilled labor from around the world
to work in his plant and teach in his school. Ford stopped operating
the school in the 50's because the school was turning out as many shop
owners as employees for the company.
These guys were part artist, part craftsman and pure genius when
required. I'd like to pass on these gifts, just as they were passed on
to me. It's just a shame no one wants them anymore. I've had several
apprentices start training under me, none that finished or are still in
the trade. They just didn't see any future in it, and I can hardly
I survived the globalization war..so far that is. Seems like a hollow
victory at this point. I wish many of my compatriots were here to enjoy
it with me.
There is another way to look at it, though I doubt
it will give you much comfort. In 1984 I had to
have 3 tools made for a plastic computer keyboard.
We quoted it out in the US and in Taiwan. Taiwan
came in at twice the speed and half the cost. We
went with Taiwan. There were virually no issues
and we were able to use the first shots out of the
mold for a big trade show.
So the job market in the US was dying 22 years ago.
You at least stayed employed until now. I suspect
the Taiwanese tool and die makers are suffering as
well today, with all the work going to mainland China.
I think most people have seen big changes in their
trade in the last 20-30 years. I too mourn the loss
of skilled machinists and tool makers. At some point
the country will feel the loss of these people.