Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 27 > Page 15 - Jimmy Hines: A View from the Open Hearth

Page 15 - Jimmy Hines: A View from the Open Hearth

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/12/1 (346 reads)

tell me what to do or anything. If there's say, a green helper and he's not too sure of himself, he might rather go to an old hand on the next furnace than go to the foreman. (How would the old hand treat him?) Oh, good. Same as his buddy. (Were there classes?) No, no, no, no. There was one class over there--steelworker--and that was it. (I mean, did they ever take the helpers and set them in a classroom and teach them how to judge that test break?) No way. You taught yourself. For instance, I started as third helper, and it was my job to break those tests, and I'd have to take them to the first helper, the melter--he'd judge the carbon accord? ing to the grain, and I'd ask him ques? tions. That's where I_ learned. And when I was melter, if I thought it was high, I'd have to use more ore to get the carbon down. People may have forgotten, had steelworkers here. but we really When I worked there, men were proud to work there, and they took pride in their v7ork, I'll tell you that. And they had skilled steelworkers, the best--and I'm saying that not primarily to put myself up there, because there were men over there better than me. I had to learn from those fellows. They were just going around doing their ordinary jobs, running the furnace, and I'd just watch what they were doing, and that's how I'd learn. It's the men on Pouring a ladle of molten iron into the open hearth furnace; above, pouring a test. that furnace--that's who's making that steel. The procedure I'm telling you about is back in the old dark days of making steel-- nearly all by hand. Previous to that, when the first open hearth furnace started, everything, everything was put in by hand. But not here. When this mill started, it was at the stage of mechanical loaders to charge the furnace. The charging car oper? ator would be running this machine on rails. It had a ram on it, 14 or 15 feet long. It would pick up the box on a car in front of the furnace, pick it up with a ram, go right into the furnace through the door, and electrically turn the pan over and dump it. The melter would tell that charging car operator how much stone to put in, how much ore to put in--and scrap would be there, of course. Scrap steel. General scrap. Pieces of pipe, ends cut off of the rails, the ends of the blooms in the blooming mill come back to the open hearth to be re-melted--and carloads of scrap coming into the plant all the time. Charging car was all electrically operated. But there's nothing electric as far as those of us at the furnace working a heat. We did it damn well the hard way and sweated it out. It was all done by hand. The men working the gas producers--all hand work. And those of us at the furnace, different materials going in, all by hand. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE (15)
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