The colony has not yet, in her brief history, contributed much to the new inventions of the machinery of the world, and exhibits of machines and implements at any of our Shows are, in the case of New Zealand manufactures, more an exhibition of the good handicraft of the workman than the genius of the contriver or designer. The excellence, for instance, of New Zealand made drays, waggons, buggies, and other specimens of the cartwright and coachbuildera’ handiwork is to
be looked for less in the design,—though any novelty in design tha' will add to the comfort of a conveyance or the handiness of a dray will undoubtedly be noticed andappreciated—than in the material used and the skill displayed by the journeymen who have actually made the article. There are not many large manufacturing firms in the colony of such implements as ploughs, harrows, &c., and nearly every local blacksmith if applied to could and does turn out drays, and other wheeled care for the farmer. We remember, at last show at Tinwald, hearing many complaints against the judges’ decisions regarding the drays shown on tl at occasion. The judges, of course, gave their awards according to their ability, and were probably able to give sound reasons for their disposition of the prizes. But their desposition did not give the satisfaction we should have liked t) see. The chief objection raised was that the workmanship, from a workman’s point of view, had not been considered ; and as a consequence, exception was taken to the judges themselves, who were not practical men. On the face of it this seems a valid objection, that is worth the trouble of any Association trying to meet. Not long ago a case occurred, and was brought under ournotice. A prize was given to a dray because the price was £1 below that marked upon its neighbor. In every other respect, to the eye of the man who was not a practical builder of drays, the two seemed to be equally good. But it was pointed out by a practical man that on the shafts alone there was a difference in value of more than the difference in price between the two drays. The shafts of the one were of stringy bark, and that of the other iron bark, and for shafting purposes the iron bark is vastly superior to the other. There are many little points of excellence that only a practical man is able to adjudge upon, and much labor and skill may be expended by the exhibitor upon the article he shows, that would be lost upon a novice and never taken into account at all.
It stands to reason, then, that as far as possible the judges of colonial made implements should be selected from men themselves able to make the articles shown, and whose knowledge of the craft is such as to command the respect of their fellow tradesmen. We hope that in choosing judges for this class of exhibits at the Tinwald Show the Association will be able to secure the services of men who are able to bring a practical tradesman’s knowledge to the aid of their judgment.
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