Technical High School, Springfield MA
Edward Ellsworth Holton
Eight and Twenty Years! Planers, shapers, lathes, milling machines, grinding, groaning, shrieking, squeaking; belts flapping, pulleys whirling, the penetrating squeal of adamantine steel against rapidly revolving grinders, showers of sparks illuminating the murky atmosphere, over all and through all the pervasive smell of warm oil.
Where is this place and who is master here? One, tall and lean darts here and there; a vigorous whirl of an adjusting handle on some machine, then the gentlest touch on a sensitive and exact measuring gauge. "How is this for size?" queries and anxious student. Out comes the mircrometer and then a hasty adjustment of a high-powered lens set somewhat rakishly under the heavy overhanging brow. "One one-thousandth of an inch oversize; take it back for another cut, young man." The busy master views the student at the heat treating furnace. "Watch the temperature!" he exclaims, as the white hot flame curls around the inanimate but resisting steel. "Speed too fast!" A quick adjustment of belts on cone pulleys brings the desired number of revolutions on the lathe. And so it goes.
Taps. dies, chucks, gears, hammers, hack saws, files, wrenches; how the words fly here and there, bandied back and forth between master and pupil! What a record! Eight and twenty years!
Engines, engines, and still more engines, gauges, gears, water motors, hydraulic presses, drill presses, year after year issue unendingly from this place.
Who is responsible? Everyone at Tech knows; none buy our friend and fellow worker, Edward Ellsworth Holton.
Out of the ship, the quick step, the pleasant greeting with the warm smile lighting up a face genial and friendly will be missed from the corridors of Tech.
And what of his influence with students past and present? It lives on with them, with the hundreds of the them, the line lengthening down the years.