Page 16 - Jimmy Hines: A View from the Open Hearth
ISSUE : Issue 27
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/12/1
When the furnace was charging, the second helper and I would be over at the back of the furnace, cleaning out the runner. The runner would be a long spout at the back of the furnace from the tap hole. Finished metal would come out the tap hole along this runner and into a ladle. And we'd have to clean that old scrap off and re- mud it so that next time we tap out, the metal coming out will run on this mud. Just an ordinary clay we'd plaster with a trowel. Then the next heat, when you'd finish the tapping out, it'll be easy a- gain to get the scrap off the runner. Then by the time you''d get that work fin? ished, the furnace would be finished charging and we'd have to go over to the front. And after all this process of work? ing the heat, making the bottom and charg? ing the furnace, the tracks in front of the furnace would be dirty--and it would be up to the second and third "helpers to clean up the tracks. Then following that, it would be just about the proper time to sit down and make tea and have a lunch. And while we were having our lunch, the first helper would be ordering the metal-- that would be iron from the blast furnace. It would be brought up and stored in what they called the mixer. The iron would be stored in there as a hot liquid for when? ever any of the open hearth furnaces would want it. And the helpers' job was to hook up the ladle to the charging car, which had a great big cable with a big hook on it coming down--hook up the metal ladle and poured that metal into the furnace. It would generally take about three ladles .' And of course the melter would be standing over by the wall, taking it all in, doing nothing. Then we wouldn't be doing anything until the scrap in the furnace would be melted down and the limestone would be coming up, except that we were reversing the furnace, the gas and air through the checkers, eve? ry 15 minutes--and that was by hand. And in the meantime the first helper, the melter, would be taking stock of the fur? nace, taking charge of it. And once the limestone started coming up he'.d say, "Okay, boys, we'll give her the spar (fluorspar)." Now, he'd pull the door up. Great big chains coming down controlled it. We'd have to give him a hand sometimes, pulling the door up--then we'd get into the spar bin and shovel spar in. There were 3 doors in the old furnaces. And it wasn't just a matter of throwing it in the door--you'd have to spread it around like on the farm, all over that stone. And you can imagine that heat, with the furnace door up, and you're looking into a path of melted steel, and the flame on the furnace all the time. And you're in front of it. Damn well right it's hot. The months of July and August, it was damn hot. Well I'll tell you. And the floor from the fur? nace over to the front of the mill--it would be so hot in the summertime you could fry eggs on it. Heavy boots and heavy soles. Because the checkers from the gas producers were underneath that floor-- and we were getting all the heat. Aiid win? tertime wasn't so bad, but you'd be sweat? ing in front of the furnace, and then when the heat was over, you'd have to get in a shack somewhere where there's some heat to keep warm. Or bundle up close to the fur? nace. Now you're past the spar stage and it's time to pour a test. If it was coming in high carbon, it was the job of the second and third helpers to get into the ore a- gain. Well, I've seen us there, working long hours on Sunday night. Now every sec? ond Sunday, we'd have to work a long shift--24 hours. If you worked the long shift, you could schedule a night off to the week. So this Sunday I started in, working a heat, and we got to the test stage and had to shovel ore--heat was com? ing in high. Well, we shoveled 4 boxes of ore, which would amount to close to 10 tons. In the middle of July. I said to the fellow working with me, after a day like this I'm not coming out again tonight. I'm not risking going through another thing like this in one day. Oh, come on out, he said, I'll charge the ore--which meant, the more ore that's charged, the less we'd Ideal Ice Cr'un Ca Ltd. A Complete Line of Frozen RxxJs Ice Cream and Fountain Suppfies 162 Prince St. Sydney 564-4549 Tourist Brochures & Colour Frint4>ng A Specialty PRINTERS LIMITED 180 TOWmSEND STREET, SYQNEY. N.8. TELEFHONE (9021 S64'n46 Three Locations in your area ROBIN Cheticamp Main Store 224-2022 Inverness 258-2241 Cheticamp Furniture Store 224-2434 YOUR FAVORITE SHOPPING CENTRE FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS. F
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