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General Maintenance Mechanics

History

Before machines came to dominate the manufacturing of goods, craftworkers had to learn many different kinds of skills. Blacksmiths, for example, had to know about forging techniques, horseshoeing, making decorative metalwork, and many other aspects of their trade. Carriage makers had to be familiar with carpentry, metalworking, wheel-making, upholstering, and design.

The Industrial Revolution set in motion many new trends, however, including a shift toward factory-type settings with workers who specialized in specific functions. This shift occurred partly because new machine production methods required a high degree of discipline and organization. Another reason for the change was because the new technology was so complex no one person could be expected to master a whole field and keep up with changes that developed in it.

In a way, today's general maintenance mechanics recall craftworkers of the era before specialization. They are jacks-of-all-trades. Typically they have a reasonable amount of skill in a variety of fields, including construction, electrical work, carpentry, plumbing, machining, direct digital controls, as well as other trades. They are responsible for keeping buildings and machines in good working order. In order to do this, they must have a broad understanding of mechanical tools and processes as well as the ability to apply their knowledge to solving problems.