Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 52 > Page 1 - Frank Murphy and the Open Hearth

Page 1 - Frank Murphy and the Open Hearth

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1 (938 reads)
 

Frank Murphy and the Open Hearth From a conversation during the last days of the Blast Furnace and the Open Hearth. The last heat in the Open Hearth Furnace was on June 17, and the last cast from the Blast Furnace was July 2,1989. (Frank Murohv reads from his notebook:) "The first heat tapped on the Sydney Steel Plant on December the 31st, 1901. And the first heat on that electric furnace tapped on November the 18th, 1937. And the first million tons was tapped on December the 28th, 1969, at 2:25 Sunday morning." And the first time we ever made 17 heats (in 24 hours)--that was on March the 31st, 1969. (Seventeen heats....) In 24 hours. On the big furnaces. And that was an all- time record. (And a heat is what?) Is 200 tons of steel--200, 250 tons. And (so) it was 3578 tons in one day. That's why it kills me to see this place go down the drain. And I think today, what they should do is put a crepe on Number 1 Gate and call her dead. That's my feelings of Sydney Steel. It's the end of a complete era of--our island is gone. We'll never get over this. To me, now, this is like, cut the head off a turkey and, it's over. Be? cause- -as much as I hate to say it--I have no faith in (that new) electric furnace. BOFs (basic oxygen furnace), yes, but.... Maybe so. Who knows? I hope I'm wrong. (Well, you've worked with electric furnace before.) I worked 25 years on one. They built it in 1937. And I worked right on that from 1937 up to 1953. And then I went back on it again, you know, on different times. In fact, I worked about 1960 on it. (But it's not there today.) It's there, but just a shell. It's stripped--you know, all the cables are taken off. The furnace is there itself, but there's no electrodes or no transformers, taken away and all that. (And can you remember your reaction to the company bringing in an electric furnace in 1937?) Oh, we thought it was fantastic. You know? Because all it was making--it was only a 10-ton furnace--it was a spe? cialty furnace, for making gun barrels and gun breeches, gun blocks, propeller shafts for the Navy. See, we'd pour a shaft, and in one ingot it would be taken to Trenton and machined down--be forged and machined --be probably 100-150 feet long. Just one piece of steel. That electric furnace--that's where your specialty steel was made: chrome, nickel, titanium--all those. It was a special fur? nace for alloys. We were refining right down to the finest thing. We were making all the special ax- CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE, NUMBER FIFTY-TWO WRECK COVE, CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA SECOND CLASS MAIL -- REGISTRATION NUMBER 3014
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