Remember When High School Girls Took Home Ec and Boys Took Shop?

Well boys, 1956 Shop Class was just delivered to my driveway.


This Colchester Student Lathe was, until today, in a shop in the Bronx, run and used by the original owner. It’s in perfect condition and ready for another 60 years use in son’s new shop.


New in 1956, this was $4300. Today new they cost a kings ransom so this is a find and a real a joy to behold……

I pronounced it lathe, to rhyme with bathe. Others say it’s pronounced lath to rhyme with bath. If you are over 60, you are likely to be able to tell me which pronunciation is correct.

The school I went to taught shop to the boys and they LOVED the time to create something, to learn a skill, to be guys, just guys, and to hear the stories from the shop teacher (who was affectionately Three Finger Louie, a shop accident I guess! Oops.) Too bad kids aren’t taught Shop anymore, and HomeEc too for that matter. Both have a place in real life after school and both teach a usable skill to make a living.

I’ll see if I can get Mr. EOS to take a photo to post here of what he crafted in shop as a kid. Don’t hold your breath!


9 thoughts on “Remember When High School Girls Took Home Ec and Boys Took Shop?

  1. I grew up with Shop Class in high school, my wife took Home Ec, but today’s kids don’t need no stinkin’ skills, they got this:

    1. The photo didn’t come through Peter. Try and email it to me and I’ll post it or try and capture the link to the photo again.

  2. Is that a string of Christmas lights in the background? Shall I send photos of my blooming poinsettias? I finally removed the outdoor wreaths only because I feared birds would nest in them. Actually happened once.
    Lathe has a long a and lath, a short one. In my book, anyway. Is electricity include in your son’s lease?
    Can’t wait until his bookkeeper identifies the business.

    1. Sheesh, you saw my Christmas lights? Busted. I confess, those stay on year-round, on my gigantic fir tree that required a bucket truck to install them and costs a fortune to do. So yes, they stay until they die. One strand always falls, thanks to birds who live inside the tree and make a mess of light string connections. My wreath (dead) is still on the front door and was going to be a blog post tomorrow!!

  3. Lath : (noun)

    ( 1 ) Thin narrow strip of wood

    Laths are used in making false ceiling.

    Lathe : (noun)

    ( 1 ) Machine that shapes pieces of wood, metal, etc…by holding and turning them against a fixed cutting tool

    This factory has computerized lathe.

    The lathe you have is a classic and should last another 100 years if its been taken care of as you said.

  4. I think my junior high Home Ec sewing teachers must have subjected me to satanic rituals that I have repressed. To this day I can’t go into a fabric store without feeling faint. I don’t do hemming, except w electrical tape (works pretty well actually). I’ll do a shirt button, but a coat button? Yikes 😱

    1. I never took HomeEc so I’m even less skilled than you when it comes to sewing. I figure that’s where Italian tailors and seamstresses come in. I do own a sewing machine. Just don’t ask me why I bought it or the last time I used it.
      I have sewn shirt and coat buttons but my hems looks like Helen Keller did it! Oops.

  5. No more shop or home ec classes? I hoped they still had shop and home ec classes at Central and Western Middle Schools, since I had my eye on one of those high paid middle school assistant principal jobs here in town as a retirement job. I realize that at Eastern Middle School everyone is on the sales and trading or trophy wife track, so no shop or home ec classes there.

    The other day I sat next to a young woman on a plane who spent a good part of the flight checking her orders on Etsy. She earns a living by baking cookies and things for special occasions, like graduations. My daughter also texted us a picture of the cutting board she made in a friend’s shop from scrap wood.

    My business plan was to have my middle school students make these type of things in shop and home ec at the expense of Greenwich taxpayers and I would sell them on the internet.

    What a downer. Is this an April Fool’s joke?

    1. I ASSUMED there is no more Shop and Home Ec taught anymore. Do I actually know? No. I’m pretty sure Bedford high schools don’t teach it unless you’ve left the college track for the VoTech route. Does GHS have Shop?
      Etsy is amazing. So many young talented people making tons of money. Your plan is excellent. Go for it!!!

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