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> Issue 37 > Page 7 - Women in the Steel Plant, World War 2

Page 7 - Women in the Steel Plant, World War 2

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1 (359 reads)

out and fell into the hot car that was on tracks. And then it would go down to what you call the quencher station. When he drove in there, the water came down and it would quench the coke. Because it was red hot, coming out. And sometimes, when the coke came out, it'd spill a bit. And we had to go then with a shovel and shovel it back in the oven. It might be just a coup? le of shovelfuls. Or sometimes they'll have what you call a spill. And then there'd be quite a bit that you'd have to shovel. (Red hot?) Oh yes, red hot. Then they had what you call the mud truck, or the mud car. This thing was on tracks. Between Number 4 and Number 3 battery they had a big place--this man was inside there--he had a mixing machine. It was mud. And we had to bring the machine up to the door, and load it up with this mud. And af? ter they put the door back on, then we had to come up with the mud truck. We had like a handle; what would you call it? (Like a trowel?) Yes. We'd take that and do the door, mud it all around, seal it, really. Then the old mud that had come off--the person with the wheelbarrow came behind, and they'd have to scrape up the old mud and put it in the wheelbarrow. And then they took it back into this place where this man was making the mud. (Was this considered heavy work?) The mud- ding part was. When you went down to load it up, it was very heavy, to shovel it. Es? pecially when you had to load the top part of the mud truck. Sometimes the men would help, you know, if they were in the mood, they'd help you. (And if they weren't?) Well, you do it yourself. You just won't believe how heavy that mud was. Especially when you had to throw it up on top. And you had to put enough on that truck to mud those--I just forget the amount of doors. (Was this truck mechan? ized?) No, it was something you pushed. It was on wheels, and ynu just pushed it a- y y y long the track. Had to push it, to door, to mud each door. from door Ca 1919 overview of the Coke Ovens I still in use through World War 2 I seen from the pusher side. Then there were some women that picked coke. After they quenched the coke, it used to go down this slide, and it would run up on this big conveyor belt. And the women used to be up, then, on each side. They used to pick coke. There were certain pieces that they were picking out. And sometimes the coke would spill off of this belt. Then we had to go down like on each side, and take this with a shovel and shov? el this coke back up on the belt. And it used to be kind of wet and damp and things down there, you know, from off of the coke. But the mudding was really the hard part, t9 get the mud to stick on those doors. You know, there was a certain way you had xm'mmmmmmmmmam tO thrOW the mud, tO get it to stick. And then you take it and level it off all a- round so the gas wouldn't seep out. (I guess you earned your mon? ey.) Oh, I guess I did, I wasn't ashamed to put my hand out for my pay. At that time, for 7 shifts, we were getting about $20. My dad died shortly after I started, I think I was only working for, I don't think it was quite a year, when he died. It was nice at first, because he used to get up in the morning, 'cause he worked all day shift, too. And he'd get up in the morn? ing and make my breakfast and wake me up, and both of us would have breakfast to? gether. He worked down at the other end of the plant, down at the foundry. And both of us would leave for work at the same CONTINUED
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