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Watchmakers Sweep Floors

From The American Horologist magazine, June, 1945

Watchmakers Sweep Floors

Editors Note: "The following item of interest to watchmakers appeared in the Vocational News, the publication of the Milwaukee Vocational school which in its curriculum sponsors a complete course in watchmaking." By Al Browy

Note: In an earlier article Al Browy showed his fellow watchmakers as champion smasher-uppers; now they're pictured as sweeper-uppers.

What would you think of a housekeeper who swept her floors about ten times each day? You would naturally say she was a bit "tetched" or had a "screw loose," wouldn't you ? Yet the floor in the watchmaking classroom, 108, is carefully swept nearly that often during an average school day.

Let there be no inference even hinted that the watchmakers are "tetched," even though it is often true that they have a screw loose. For when you see them at frequent times down on their hands and knees diligently wielding a hand brush and manicuring each inch of floor space, it is because they have lost some tiny screw, jewel, staff, or other minute part of a watch and are resorting to the only successful method of finding it.

The small watch parts that are so difficult to see with the naked eye are even more difficult to hold. Tweezers have a habit of squirting them away, a reminder of the fun youngsters have in squeezing wet watermelon seeds and seeing them shoot great distances.

No matter how careful the watchmaker tries to be, he always encounters this difficulty. In the future if you walk into the neighborhood watchmaker's shop and find him on the floor, don't think for a moment that he is on his knees salaaming. On the contrary, and perhaps with vitriolic expression, he is just like all other men of his trade, down on his "prayer bones" searching for the ever-elusive jewel, screw, roller, or what have you. The one consolation to the student is the gratifying truth that it happens to even the best of them.

It is safely computed that the finished student watchmaker has worn out the knees of six pairs of trousers before he has completed the full course of study, which ordinarily covers a period of two years (one and one-half years of study on the bench and six months of searching on the floor). Time spent on his knees looking for lost parts can, therefore, be classed under the heading of research" 

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