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> Issue 28 > Page 43 - C.M. (Clem) Anson and Steel

Page 43 - C.M. (Clem) Anson and Steel

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1 (463 reads)

C. M. (Clem) Anson and Steel CM. (Clem) Anson: My father was in steel- making. And my grandfather. My grandfather went over in the States with Carnegie at one time, building blast furnaces for him. And he built one of the first blast fur? naces in India, about 1901, just about the time I was born. And my great-grandfather had his own little shop in the backyard of his house, where he made knives outside Sheffield. I started in 1915, in Australia. My father was manager of the only steel plant in Australia, when he went up in 1910 or something like that. They took him out of England. Then my dad went to start up the first electric steelmaking furnace in Australia, a small one. Not too long af? ter that he took me out of school and put me in the lab. I used to do the'steel anal? ysis, by following the book. Test to get the right carbon content. So I wasn't quite 15 when I first went to work in a steel plant. (And at 14, your life's direction was pret? ty well set.) Oh it was, definitely. I al? ways loved it. I used to go with my dad on Sundays when I was a little shaver, Sunday mornings--6 years old. I've always known what I wanted to be, so I was lucky in that respect. I wanted to be a steelmaker. My dad was managing the plant, and I sup? pose I was looking forward to being what Dad was. I worked with my father in Austra? lia. He stayed with tjiat new plant a lit? tle more than a year--then he went back to his old plant in Australia. And I started working in the rolling mills there. I was more of a chaser for- the boss, messenger, I was only 15 years old. Then I went to the open hearth and started working on the furnaces. Third helper. I was doing a man's job, that's all. Third helper-- that's the lowest in the furnace crew at the open hearth. I shoveled limestone, i- ron ore, anything that had to be shoveled. Wielded the sledge. In those days we didn't have the type of furnace you see here, where they tilt. It was stationary furnaces with a tap hole in them, and when a heat was ready you had to drive a bar through a tapping hole at the back of the furnace--inch, inch-and-a-quarter bar--and you- drove that with a 12- or 14-pound sledge until you drove that through, and the molten metal would come out. Oh yes, it was a long time before I needed a desk at a steel plant. The First World War was on and first and second helpers were leaving the plant to enlist--so I got promoted fairly fast. Within a year I was first helper, with very little experience. I was there a lit? tle over two years. Then the second elec? tric plant was built in Australia, and the man who was going to boss that plant of? fered me a job, and I moved there on my 18th birthday, to be assistant to the guy they were bringing out from the States to start up the plant. Within 3 or 4 months they sent him back and they gave me his job. Only 18 years old. And I ran the elec? tric furnace part of that plant for nearly two years. I was doing a man's job. I looked more than 18--and I had some exper? ience. Then my dad came to visit me. Took me to the hotel for dinner. Asked me, "How much notice do you have to give them to leave?" I thought he was crazy. Here I was boss of my end of the plant. The world was already my oyster and I had it well-opened. I was drawing big money--about 52 dollars a month in those days. He said, "I want you to go school." Said, "You haven't got enough education to get where you want to go in this world, I hope." And the up? shot was, I gave my resignation the next morning. Within a month I landed in Mont? real and went up to McGill to get in. I studied metallurgy and engineering--the science faculty, it was called--graduated in spring of 1925. (Did you know about Sydney Steel?) Not a thing. (They weren't discussing it in the classrooms at McGill?) No. But I wanted to work in Canada and the States for awhile before I went home. It was a bad time for steelmaking with depression on. But they had a new man here, a general manager, his name was Kelly--H. J. Kelly. They brought him from Lackawanna in 1924 to head up this steel plant at Sydney. He was at Mc? Gill, saw the head of the metallurgical de? partment, told them he was looking for a young man to come down to Sydney to be trained--and I happened to go in a couple (43)
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