O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 25

from so many different countries and
cultures and having to adapt as adults to
their new world and country, most of the
Yellin employees did not spend too much of
their time and energy passing along their
knowledge to the next generation. As the
Yellin workforce aged and disappeared,
after the end of the 1920 construction
boom, a lot of the knowledge that came
from Europe was gone forever. There is a
lot to be frustrated about-how could they
not pass over their skills and knowledge
to the next generation? Had they forgotten
how they learned the trade of metal work
while apprenticing in Europe?
Above their skills, what matters most of
what should have come from these talented
professionals from Europe is the vehicle
through time of manual knowledge, the
concept of apprenticeship. Apprenticeship
should be a natural component and part of
our professional lives. It is what we do as
parents, preparing our kids to face life and
its difficulties. It is the mother holding the
hands of a toddler taking his first steps, the
caveman showing his son how to hunt for
meat, a father holding his young child to
be stable on a bicycle until he can peddle
by himself, etc., etc. It is the alphabet of a
skilled worker.
In the company where I work, we have
young valuable men who would be so much
better at what they do if they had started
with a formal apprenticeship with some
experienced colleagues and workers. A lot
of them, having never really and formally
learned the alphabet of the trade, according to some precise rules, are tripping on
almost every job, almost daily, because of
their lack of sometimes basic knowledge.
The disappearance of apprenticeship in
20th century is a sign and proof that the
former generations have given up some
of their duties and responsibilities to the
generations to come. The trades of the 21st
century are paying a high price for the loss
of what should be the greatest human tradition. And then we ask everyday: Where
are the skilled workers?
In today's American dream, giving an
education to our children is the most obvious choice. We all hope our kids will do
better than we did, and we all are ready
to break our piggy bank to pay for their
college years. I am invited several times
a year the local high school by the French
teacher of a honor class to mainly present

AN OVERVIEW OF COMPAGNONNAGE
Compagnonnage is an education and training (formation) program that evolved out of the medieval
French guild system. In the Middle Ages, compagnons (qualified journeymen) occupied the stratum
between masters and apprentices. Masters in the old sense do not exist today, but compagnons still
do. They concentrate on preparing youth, who begin as apprentis (apprentices), to become skilled
artisans, their compagnonnage successors, conscientious citizens, and solid family men. Forms of
compagnonnage existed in most European countries hundreds of years ago, but today it is viable only
in France. Some French people believe that the system expired before 1900.
A youth usually enters at 16 or 17 as an apprenti (apprentice), one of about 4,000 who do so each year,
after finishing collège (middle school), where he/she probably placed in the bottom half of the class and
decided that lycée would not be enjoyable. He/she becomes an associate of a compagnonnage maison,
which is like a small college, housing 15 to 150 youths, with classrooms, workshops, dormitories, dining
hall, exhibition hall, and other common areas. He/she immediately begins an entry-level job, arranged
by local compagnons, in the trade he has chosen from the 25 or so available: cabinetmaking, carpentry,
masonry, automotive bodybuilding, metalworking, upholstering, pastry-making, etc. Ideally, his patron
(boss) is a compagnon, but often he is simply a well-regarded craftsman. He receives an entry-level,
subsistence wage, as do all French apprentices, only about 5% of whom are in compagnonnage.
About half of all apprentices reside in the maison; the others remain at home. However, for two
weeks of every eight they all live in a maison for stage (intensive training), which includes vocational,
academic, and moral components, and is led by young compagnon in their métier called a maître de
stage, who very recently concluded his own formation. After two years, completion of a small but
challenging travail (project in his trade), passage of the basic Government exam in his metier, and a
formal initiation, a youth becomes (if he wishes and is invited to do so) an aspirant. Compagnonnage
is traditionally an all-male organization, but women are now accepted in all métiers. The first women
became aspirants in 2004. It is expected that in coming years qualified women will become compagnons.
The young aspirant resides in a series of five to eight of the 150 or so maisons in France, and probably one in another country, such as Switzerland, Germany or Belgium. The typical maison projects
a collegial, goal-directed ambiance, remarkable in that no one older than his mid-twenties resides
there. The aspirant undertakes increasingly demanding jobs in his métier in the region of the maison,
for which he now receives the pay of a skilled worker. His travels among maisons and jobs are his Tour
de France. Life on the Tour is demanding (a combined total of 50 to 60 hours per week, on the job, in
voluntary evening and Saturday practice in the workshop of his trade, in academic and professional
classes, and in informal teaching and mentoring by and of fellow residents); sexually segregated
(postponement of marriage, little partying); communal (shared chores, mutual support, no hazing);
and replete with rituals (initiations, feasts on metier saints' days, traditional gestures and argot in
everyday interactions). He is immersed in a pervasive program of moral education that transmits and
reinforces the values and beliefs of the program, such as work as the means to personal fulfillment,
tradition and progress as co-essentials in the practice of the métier, pride in one's efforts and products, compagnonnage as fraternity, and the centrality of family in private life. Religious instruction
and proselytization are explicitly banned.
After five or six years, the aspirant may request to become a compagnon. If his skills and character
are acceptable to his seniors, he executes a challenging chef d'oeuvre (masterwork) in his métier and
undergoes a second initiation, during which he receives his symbolic regalia and his full compagnonnage
nickname. He is now an itinérant (unsettled compagnon), who will probably remain in a maison for a year
or more, teaching and mentoring the younger boys, while working days in a well-paid outside job. After
this, he selects a city or region in which to establish himself in his métier, and becomes a sédentaire.
French employers regard compagnons as the aristocrats of their métiers; they are sought after,
expected to set standards for other workers, and deferred to in problematic circumstances. They
belong to networks of craftsmen who share common backgrounds, assist each other in obtaining
jobs and clients, and participate in the affairs of their métier and the maison in their city. They may
specialize in restoration (e.g., historic buildings, antique furniture, classic cars), but more often they
do contemporary work in construction, factories, and especially their own small businesses.
John & Dorothy Herzog

September/October 2017 * O&MM Fabricator | 25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017

President’s Letter
Letter From the Executive Director
NOMMA Network
NOMMA Education Foundation
Apprenticeships: Getting Involved With Worker Training
The Collective Mind Gate Series–Part V
Shining Light: How to Work With Illuminated Handrails
Sole Proprietorship or Corporation?
Employment Lawsuits Happen
Supplier Members
New & Returning NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
Gold Members
Landscape Architect to Blacksmith to Soon-to-Be Preacher
Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Intro
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover1
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover2
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 3
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 4
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 5
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 6
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 7
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 8
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - President’s Letter
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 10
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Letter From the Executive Director
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - NOMMA Network
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 13
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - NOMMA Education Foundation
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 15
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 16
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 17
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 18
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 19
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Apprenticeships: Getting Involved With Worker Training
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 21
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 22
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 23
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 24
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 25
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 26
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 27
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 28
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 29
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - The Collective Mind Gate Series–Part V
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 31
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 32
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 33
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Shining Light: How to Work With Illuminated Handrails
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 35
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 36
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 37
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 38
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 39
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 40
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Sole Proprietorship or Corporation?
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 42
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 43
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Employment Lawsuits Happen
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 45
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 46
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Supplier Members
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 48
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - New & Returning NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 50
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Gold Members
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Landscape Architect to Blacksmith to Soon-to-Be Preacher
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 54
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover3
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0518
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0418
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0617
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0517
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0317
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0616
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0516
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0316
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0615
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0515
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com