Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 27 > Page 13 - Lew Allan Davis & the Railroad / Jimmy Hines: A View from the Open Hearth

Page 13 - Lew Allan Davis & the Railroad / Jimmy Hines: A View from the Open Hearth

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/12/1 (340 reads)

sort of tunnel, across the floor, and right into the open hearth furnace. It would go through what they call a checker. Say we had the gases coming in on the north end, right through the furnace and out on the south end. And out the stack. And every 15 minutes we would have to re? verse that, take the gases off the north end and put it on the south end. The rea? son for that is that the gas going out the checkers (a great big tunnel affair check? ered with bricks crossways, with holes be? tween) --those bricks would have to get heated up. So that when the cold air would be coming in, when it reverses, that check? er would be good and hot, and the cold air coming in with the gases would heat up as well before it gets to the furnace. The gas would come through the checkers and right up into the furnace. Automatically burn when it'd come in. It would be coming in as a flame. When it hit the checkers it would sharpen up that flame. And when it hit the furnace it would be bang, bang, bang. Burning all the time. Until the fur? nace was tapped out. Then the producers would ease up on it. There would be a gas producer for each furnace, and all those men would be doing would be shovelling coal, The blast furnace made the iron. The open hearth is changing the iron into steel by mixing it with a certain quantity of lime? stone, iron ore, and scrap steel. You put the limestone in first. At that time it was around 10 or 12 boxes. That would be charged into the furnace with what they called the charging car. Then they charge the ore, an amount according to the kind of heat you were charging for. If you were charging for a rail, you wouldn't put as much ore in as you would for soft steel, a low-carbon heat. Because if you charge too much ore, the heat would come soft and be metallurgically no good for rails, the carbon would be too low. Four-carbon steel--that would be riveting. Right up to a rail, which would be 69 to 70 carbon-- quite a difference in the ore you'd charge. The foreman would tell you "charge back for a rail" or "charge back for a soft"-- and the carbon you were making--and that would be your next job. If I was told to charge a soft heat, an ordinary soft heat-- that'd be 18 to 23 carbon--I'd have to find out how the silicon in the iron was running. And if that's running normally around 90 or 100 silicon, I have to charge an amount of ore to take care of that. Say if I was charging for a soft heat, I'd charge it with 8 or 9 boxes of ore; but if I was charging for a rail heat, a higher carbon, I would cut down on the charging ore, charge about 4 or 5 boxes of ore. When the molten iron goes in, it starts boiling them. Then as we go along and I break a test--what I mean by breaking a test, you pour a bit of metal in a little iron box and it solidifies, and the third helper would knock it out and cool it off in a water pan. He'd bring it to me when I was the first helper, and I would have to turn around and judge the carbon--judge it according to the grain of the fracture, (Now, do they call one of the managers in to make this decision?) No, no. No way. (It's important for me to know that. Who was making the decisions on the floor, in the steel plant?) The foreman's job is, when I get the heat ready, he's to come down and tap it out. That's his job. That's it and it only. He'll turn around and say, your next one will be for a soft heat (or whatever) carbon--and he'd be gone and you wouldn't see him anymore till the next heat you'd be ready to tap. Every? thing depended on the men on the furnace. It was in their hands. The foreman doesn't come down and take over the furnace and The Sound of Cape Breton's, magazine' This issue of Cape Breton's Magazine has a Sound- sheet recording bound right into it. This may be a one-time-only gift to our readers, as the cost is quite high. But we felt it worthwhile to give our readers a chance to hear the sound of Rita MacNeil singing (talk with her begins on page 22) and Gaelic precenting (article beginning on page 45). For help in meeting a portion of the costs of this Soundsheet, our thanks to: THE WARDEN AND COUNCILLORS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF THE COUNTY OF CAPE BRETON THE COLLEGE OF CAPE BRETON PRESS THE DEPT. OF CULTURE, RECREATION & FITNESS, CULTURAL AFFAIRS DIVISION MAYOR AND THE CITY OF SYDNEY Thanks as well to Pat Martin, Engineer, and Ralph Dillon, both of Audio Atlantic, Halifax. For the Gaelic, John Shaw, Glendale, taped two evenings, Beverley and Allister MacGillivary taped a third. CO-OP DO-IT- YCXJRSELF Home Improvement Centre GoniBitI* fifttkt of Kjmbtf, buiidbia mpplli, ??Ml ill. • - ->? .J- flTJiti at Mk''vlAla ' We cater to the building public Component Homes & Cottages # • CX>OP Building Supplies Sythey 539-6410 PortHsMtosbury 625-2600 (13)
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