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CHEMICAL ENGINEERING FOR PAPER MAKERS
HOW THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE IS TRAINING MEN FOR THE
There are times in the life of every business or other organization when one man must take the place of another. The new man should be adapted, fitted and trained for his new position. All three of these points influence the selection of the man. Aptness and fitness are personal characteristics which may be developed by training Training may be had by experience or education or both.
The men who have come to be leaders in business and industry possest a peculiar fitness which in the school of experience grew into power. They developed with their business and knew each phase of it from intimate association. Commercial life has now become so complex that it is practically impossible for one man to know each department and function of his own business at first hand, not to mention the many associated subjects, such as transportation, commercial law, and other points with which he should be acquainted. It is here that the college may best serve the business world as there is no better means than a carefully planned college education for giving a man a broad outlook. The student in a course of study such as will be described gets a grasp of the fundamentals and an appreciation of the relations and interdependence of facts and factors that many business men of the old school never dreamed were even distantly associated. For instance, who would have thought a few years ago, of the advantage of Spanish to a bank clerk, of cost accounting to a mechanical engineer, or of political economy to a paper maker? The knowledge of these subjects is now appreciated and
valued by the business world and the best way to get it is by going to college.
The paper industry in America has reached a point where careful scientific management and control are necessary to insure its profitableness. This condition calls for young men with scientific training and a special knowledge of the industry, to fill the places of responsibility.
Most of the men now in charge of mills and in other responsible positions are native Americans who began with a simple job in the mill or office when the business was small and by shifting around were able to become familiar with every process and operation. The margin of profit was greater then than now and scientific management and automatic regulating and recording devices were unknown and scientific training unnecessary. Very few American boys now take these positions of low pay and hard work in the hope of becoming a superintendent or manager. This work is done more and more by a type of foreigner who rarely has the capability to be even a foreman. With such labor the use of automatic apparatus has become an important factor in manufacturing operations. The proper use of these scientific instruments and the scientific planning and control of processes is hardly possible except by men with a scientific training.
The University of Maine was the first college to appreciate this state of affairs and in February, 1913, began to give instruction in the manufacture of paper and paper pulp. This beginning has grown into a separate curriculum of four years' work, based on and including the well-established courses fundamental to chemical engineering.
Among the fundamental chemical and engineering subjects included in the curriculum are: Organic, physical and analytical chemistry, physics, and subjects in mechanical and electrical engineering. Many subjects of a broadening and cultural character are included, such as English, economics, modern language, factory organization, and others. These subjects are not frills but essential parts of a wellbalanced education.
The students learn much of the actual making of paper and paper pulp and of the scientific principles on which the industry is largely based. The pulp and paper making machines are small but real and the processes are conducted in the laboratory as they are in the mill.
In the several courses on the making of pulp the student attends lectures on the mechanical, soda, sulfite and sulfate processes of pulp manufacture, with special attention to the factors affecting the quantity and quality of the product, the manufacture of chlorine by electricity, the bleaching of pulp and the machinery used in the pulp mill. Laboratory work affords practise in analyzing sulfur, lime, pyrites and bleaching powder, and in making paper pulp. A part of the laboratory time is spent in one of the pulp mills near by, working as “spare hand.” The pulp and paper mills in the vicinity make a great variety of products and are most cordial in cooperating with the university. Courses in bleaching and coloring pulp are also given. In the former a study is made of the influence of such factors as temperature and pressure on the process and product, and in the latter the student works out color formulas, compares dyestuffs and makes small amounts of paper to match colored samples.
The instruction in paper making also involves both study and practise, beginning with a textbook and lecture course on the mechanism and operation of paper mill machinery. This is followed by a lecture course on paper manufacture, the history of the industry, cellulose, its properties and treatment in the mill, raw materials and processes used in making paper and properties of paper. In the complementary laboratory course the student again "gets his hands in it." The class is organized so that each in turn acts as foreman, beaterman, chemist, loftman or millwright. This gives the student a taste of responsibility and experience in planning and "bossing" a piece of work. Rags are boiled, washed and bleached and paper is made from all the standard raw materials.
The sheets are seven by nine inches, made on hand molds such as all paper makers used till 1800. The students have made white and colored papers, writing and wrapping papers, news, book and blotting papers in lots of ten pounds at a time.
One of the important features of the paper and pulp curriculum is that each student is expected to spend at least one undergraduate vacation in a pulp or paper mill. He puts on overalls, gets more or less dirty, takes orders from a foreman and gets about two dollars a day. He learns a lot about human nature, of what a man may be expected to do, of his own unimportance and of relative values. His experience is a part of his education and he is always much the better for it.
The university has a paper-testing equipment that is very nearly complete and the students are taught the use of each instrument and to interpret the result of the test. Each sample is tested in a number of ways, altho some papers must reach a standard in a particular property, as newspaper in tensile strength, wrapping in bursting strength, writing in resistance to penetration of ink. All papers are examined microscopically for the kind of fibers and the proportion of each and analyzed chemically for loading, sizing, and like properties. For example, a student is given a sample of writing paper. He reports on the various tests and then calculates the amount of rag, wood pulp, size, and such for 1000 pounds of paper to duplicate the sample.
The senior students each year make a special study of a selected process, such as boiling, beating or sizing. The equipment of the pulp and paper and other laboratories is used for thesis work and for the investigation of special features and problems of the industry as well as for instructional purposes. The several engineering laboratories are also available.
The university looks forward to the possession of a model paper mill of semi-commercial size, such as that with which the progressive, enthusiastic and generous paper makers and paper machinery builders of Germany have equipt the excellent schools of paper making at Darmstadt and Eberswalde.
Several of the young men to graduate in June have already accepted good positions.
J. NEWELL STEPHENSON UNIVERSITY OF MAINE
The appointment of teachers in cities-FRANK WASHINGTON BALLOU—Vol.
II, Harvard Studies in Education. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1915.
225 p. $1.50. A volume of 202 pages—An introduction by the author; Chapter I, Evolution of the present appointive agencies; Chapter II, Present methods of appointing teachers in cities; Chapter III, The significance of the present methods of appointing teachers; Chapter IV, Eligibility, qualifications and methods of determining them in selected cities; Chapter VI, City boards of education, their size, membership and committee organization; Chapter VII, Changes in the size of boards of education, in methods of selecting members, and in their term of office in twenty-eight cities, from 1893 to 1913; Chapter VIII, The selection of the city superintendent of schools, tenure and salary; Chapter IX, Summary and conclusions—a constructive plan for appointing teachers.
A handbook giving experience and customs of a classified list of cities which can not fail to be valuable to the student. The book bears upon its title page the date 1915, yet the statistics used are those of the Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1912. St. Paul changed its method of handling the school situation nearly two years ago, but the change has escaped the eye of the author. The volume is marred, too, by an inaccurate report of conditions in a New England city and questionable interpretation therefrom.
The remedies proposed for existing evils are not convincing. The extension of the term of office of the superintendent of schools in any city merely lessens the number of conflicts, but intensifies the pressure. The remedy, too,