Artisans in the 18th Century

for grades: 

Students will learn about the trades and crafts practiced on Elfreth's Alley and Philadelphia in the 18th century.
Students will learn about the apprenticeship system in colonial and federal Philadelphia.
Students will recognize differences between paths to careers in 18th century and the present day


Chart paper, chalk or white board, or SmartBoard techonology.

  • Have students brainstorm a list of trades and crafts. Record on chart paper. Teacher should guide discussion toward pre-industrial trades.
  • From the list generated, teacher will choose a number of trades/crafts that are represented on Elfreth's Alley (see Appendix 1)
  • Student will research how the assigned craft was learned and the terms of apprenticeship
  • Discuss what might have restricted a potential apprentice from a particular trade, i.e. race, religion, etc.
  • Individually or in groups, students will use selected websites and/or published sources to discover the tools and training needed for a particular trade.
  • Students will create a poster (broadside) advertising for apprentices for their assigned trade. He/she should indicate understanding of the craft and what the employer is looking for.
  • Student will create an apprentices "journal page" about the work day in their craft and their living circumstances
PA history standards: 
8.1 B,C; 8.2 A,B,C,D; 8.3 A,B,C
LESSON - as pdf document59.15 KB