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Special Edition issued by The American Society of Mechanical 
Engineers through the courtesy of the Author and concurrent with 
the edition published by John Wiley and Sons. 


n^HIS book is dedicated to the loyal^ able^ brave and fearless 
men who so faithfully stood by me throughout my career. 
To them all^ in whatever capacity employed^ I am ever grateful^ 
and I should like to call each one by name and to thank them 
personally^ from the depth of my hearty for their most valuable 
assistance and for the uniform kindness they have ever shown me. 
They deserve the plaudits of the country for the innumerable 
blessings they have conferred in performing the great amount of 
mental and physical labor necessary in accomplishing the marvelous 
changes and wonderful results that have marked the development 
of the iron and steel business from my first connection with it some 
seventy years ago. 

^jurK^^>^ j^Hu-z^^ 


In this short preface I wish to tell my friends who 
read this book how it was that I came to write it. My 
undertaking it came about wholly through the persistent 
urging of a number of old friends, who insisted on my 
writing out for them, in my own words, an account of 
my life struggles ; and the publication of my autobiography 
before my death is again owing to the fact that, against 
my wishes, these good friends would not wait for it, but 
insisted on having it now. And so I have jotted down 
the record of my life, and it is given to you as I wrote it. 
You must not expect fine language nor eloquent periods, 
but only the honest record of the hard-working life of one 
who loves his country and his fellow men, and who has 
tried to serve both. 




Forewords from Old Friends xi 


I. Family History i 

II. Early Farm Lite 7 

III. School Life 13 

IV. School Life (continued) 20 

V. Boyhood Days 24 

VI. My Apprenticeship Days 32 


VIII. NoRRiSTOWN (continued) 49 

IX. Safe Harbor 59 

X. Fever and Ague 67 

XI. NoRRiSTowN, Second Time 77 

XII. KuNZiE Furnace 80 

XIII. Catasauqua 90 

XIV. Cambria 91 

XV. Cambria (continued) : The Three-high Rail Mux . . . 108 

XVI. Cambria (continued): Fire and Reconstruction 116 

XVII. Cambria (continued) : Retrospect 125 

XVIII. Bethlehem: Iron Rolling Mill and Blast Furnaces 139 

XIX. United States Rolling Mill at Chattanooga 144 

XX. Puddling 147 

XXI. The Bessemer Process 149 

XXII. The Bessemer Process (continued) 159 

XXIII. Open-hearth Process 166 

XXIV. Blooming Mill 169 

XXV. Structural and Plate Mill 173 

XXVI. Forge and Armor-plate Plant 177 

XXVII. Forge and Armor-plate Plant (continued) 189 

XXVIII. Conclusion 204 




Afterwokd 208 

Honors 210 

Engineering Societies, College Degrees, Medals, Committees 215 

The Fritz Engineering Laboratory 216 

Seventieth Birthday Anniversary Dintsier 227 

Eightieth Birthday Anniversary Dinner and Foundation of 

THE John Fritz Medal 266 

Awards of the John Fritz Medal 325 

Testimonial Dinner by the Manufacturers' Club of Phila- 

df.lphia 326 


Many men have written their autobiographies, giving 
the details of lives which had been more or less useful to 
their fellow men, and covering periods in the world's 
history during which events of greater or lesser moment had 
occurred. It is my privilege to write this foreword to the 
self-told story of a long life of great activity, whose every 
accomplishment was for the advancement and betterment 
of civilization. If ever the appellation of "a self-made 
man " was correctly appUed, it is emphatically so as relat- 
ing to John Fritz. Born from sturdy stock, given very lim- 
ited opportunities for education, but blessed with splendid 
physical health and strength, and endowed with a clear and 
logical mind and inherent mechanical genius, he resolutely 
set himself the task of mastering every problem which 
might confront him in life's struggle, and persistently sought 
the problems. This necessitated a life of hard labor and 
frugality, in which was developed a character of great 
strength, but also one of equal integrity, remarkable 
simplicity, and broad sympathies. So active a life of 
necessity encountered frequent opposition and many con- 
tests, defeats as well as triumphs, but always commanding 
respect and generally receiving affection. Respect and 
affection for Mr. Fritz are not confined to his own country 
or continent. He has been honored by many of the Scien- 
tific Societies of the whole world, and has had many and 
remarkable evidences of personal esteem and affection 
from his fellow men, while to the whole Iron and Steel 


fraternity, as well as to his neighbors, he is, in his old age, 
respectfully and affectionately known as " Uncle John." 

Mr. Fritz's more than 89 years have covered the most 
eventful era in the world's history; in fact, it is hard to 
realize that any one life could have witnessed so many and 
such wonderful achievements; — placing on a practical basis 
the construction and operation of steam and electric rail- 
ways; the invention of the electric telegraph; that of the 
daguerreot3^pe, and the art of photography; the laying and 
operation of ocean cables; electric lighting; the telephone; 
the phonograph; and the other wonderful electrical en- 
gineering developments — perhaps the most startling of 
all — wireless telegraphy; the making actual of submarine 
navigation; and the until lately unbelievable science of 
aviation. In Mr. Fritz's own particular field of engineering, 
he witnessed the discovery, and participated in the develop- 
ment of the epoch-making Bessemer process, followed by 
the Acid and Basic Open-hearth, and now the electric 
furnace; and besides those, the other tremendous develop- 
ments in the Iron and Steel arts, in which he was an active 

It is fortunate that the incidents of such a life should 
be recorded in Mr. Fritz's own way and in his own words; 
and speaking for those of us who are left of the many who 
were associated with him and therefore who knew and loved 
him, I thank him for this his latest work. 


In July, 1 86 1, the clouds of war hung dark over the 
placid valley of the Brandywine. News had come that 
Bull Run had been fought and lost. In a plain farmhouse, 
a depressed wife went about her daily tasks, when a slender 


lad entered. " Mother," he said, " I have enlisted; I 
am going to the war." She only turned and rejoined: 
" Well, my boy, never let me hear that they shot you in 
the back." 

That woman was the mother of John Fritz; the boy, his 
youngest brother. If his mother never had occasion to use 
this Spartan encouragement to her eldest son, we know that 
her training of him had been on the same lines, and we also 
know that never did any of the Fritz children, boys or 
girls, ever turn their backs on any duty, any hardship, any 
danger. But, side by side, with this stern teaching there 
acted upon them the gentle, though not less powerful, 
influence of the father, the German farmer, whose very 
glance, though never hand or voice was raised against his 
children, was more feared by them than the mother's, we 
may be sure, always unmistakable corrections. This man, 
George Fritz, John Fritz's father, was one of Nature's 
noblemen; a born mechanical genius, a clear thinker, with 
a gentle heart and keen sense of humor, all of which 
quaUties he handed down to his son. 

The humble home built by these people was the university 
of John Fritz. His post-graduate course was taken in the 
battle of a long and varied Hfe, covering, we may say, the 
entire period of modern development. In these two schools 
he acquired those qualities which characterized the parents 
and helped to create his own commanding personality. 
There he learned, and learned well, the great lessons of 
humanity and life. Let us rejoice that there were no 
universities and hardly any schools in reach of Chester 
County, Pennsylvania. If there had been, America would 
never have had a John Fritz. He would, no doubt, have 
become a great personality, but one moulded in the common 
form, and of the usual type; he would have been one of 
several others. Now, he has been unique, alone in his class. 


Untaught, as far as printed education went, he entered 
life at the bottom, but with a vision always above and 
beyond the surrounding horizon, whilst ever holding close 
to the practical possibilities of the world in which he lived. 
He advanced, led, always led. Often opposed by the 
timid and commonplace with whom he sometimes had to 
work, he generally achieved that which he set out to do, 
because it was practical, logical and needed. 

John Fritz started out with the best of educations — 
the example of his parents. His clear head, his correct 
judgment, his justice, his tact and his kindly heart did the 
rest. And thus it is that he has now given to us who know 
him and to the several generations of men with whom he, 
during the better part of a century, has come into contact, 
glimpses of that education, of the life work built on it and 
of the man it made. And it is this personality, made up of 
strength, cautious daring, resource and judgment, but also 
of gentleness and honor, that his nearest friends, his 
brothers in profession, his aides, his workmen, and all the 
many who must remember him with gratitude as a helping 
friend in need, a sound and sympathetic adviser, a chari- 
table judge, do, and always will, honor and admire. 

It is to John Fritz, " The Man," that the technical world 
and his countrymen give homage in his old age when his 
life work is done, even more than to the great engineer who 
built the guns and armor which won the battle at Santiago. 

This is the fact which I, by these lines, wish to point out 
and emphasize to those who will now read his own simply 
told story of his life work. And it is again this personality 
of John Fritz, seen between the lines of his book, which 
will always give this autobiography a special value to the 
host of American engineers amongst whom he now stands 
honored and revered as the only surviving representative 
of that advance guard of engineers who, small in nimiber, 


strong in resource, perseverance and genius, laid the founda- 
tion for and started the building of the greatest industrial 
empire the world has ever known. 


When I was working for the Bethlehem Iron Works under 
the direction of John Fritz, he was ready at all times to 
consider suggestions from anyone. It is a great faculty 
to be able judiciously to discuss matters with those about 
us, and gather the consensus of opinion. This consensus 
of opinion is generally nearer right than any one man's 
judgment, and I believe that Mr. Fritz's ability and willing- 
ness to do this probably contributed much to his great 

He concerned himself not about money but about results 
that should be advantageous to his associates and the 
human race. If he had in hand a man or a machine they 
had to produce results. He could see the essence of a 
subject as none other could, and he could apply a remedy 
for a difficulty as none other could. 

The material engineering works of Mr. Fritz are ample to 
give him lasting fame, but the successful construction of 
the Bethlehem Iron and Steel Plants and his other previous 
great undertakings are far from being his most useful and 
enduring work. 

The best work, in my judgment, done by him was the 
training of the young men who worked under him. They 
have gone out to carry and spread broadcast his creed of 
initiative industrial progress, and through them Mr. Fritz's 
work is still going on from the St. Lawrence to the Rio 
Grande in all sorts of industrial enterprises based on his 
engineering methods. 



"What man is there among us who coming in contact 
with a great soul is not made the wiser, better and happier 
thereby. A drop of water on the petal of a lotus glitters 
with the lustre of a pearl." 

And who among us that have had the honor and privi- 
lege to know the author of this book, to know Uncle 
John Fritz, but will say we have come in contact with a 
great, a noble soul. 

Who of us will ever forget the cordial greetings, the 
delightful talks he has given us, the cheery smile on his 
face as he has told us of his life work; aye such men as 
Uncle John "help to move this dark world nearer the 
sun." They fail not to pour good oil on the axis of this 
old round earth that she may run smoother on her bear- 
ings as we journey around the sun. It is such men that 

" Give us the glad good morning 
As we pass along the way, 
And leave the morning's glory 
Over the livelong day." 

The world knows Uncle John Fritz as the great engineer, 
his loved ones and we his friends of ye olden time know 
him as a man among men. 




I WAS born August 21, 1822, in Londonderry Township, 
Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was the oldest child of 
a family of seven children, three brothers and four sisters. 

I was born of parents of exemplary character, my father 
being a man of high moral standards; he fully impressed 
upon my mind the importance of absolute integrity, energy, 
and economy. My mother was a true Christian woman, 
and early taught me to read and revere that book of books, 
the Holy Bible, and to trust in the Supreme Being; and 
that to respect and obey His laws was a duty which man- 
kind should not disregard. At this distant day, to my 
mind, the moral and religious training received from my 
parents was the most important training I could possibly 
have received; and I have ever thought the highest honor 
I could pay to their memory was to endeavor to follow their 
noble example. 

My father, George Fritz, was born July 26, 1792, in 
Cassel, Hesse Cassel, Germany, and came to this country, 
landing in Philadelphia August 26, 1802, with his father 
and mother, Johannes and Gertrude Meinhard Fritzius, 
and their children, Conrad, Margaret, John, and Henry 
(EUzabeth, Catherine, and Mary were born in this country). 


They were accompanied to this country by my grand-father's 
brother, J, George Fritzius, and his wife, Eva Catherine. 
My great-uncle and his wife immediately went West and 
were never afterwards heard of. 

My mother, Mary Meharg, was born June i8, 1799, in 
Londonderry, Chester County, Pennsylvania. She was 
a daughter of William and Hannah Connor Meharg. My 
Grandfather Meharg emigrated from Tobermore, London- 
derry County, Ireland, about 1787. He was of Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterian stock. 

My father and mother were married July 26, 182 1, at 
Hepzibah Church, East Fallowfield, Chester County, Penn- 
sylvania, by the Rev. Jethro Johnson, a famous Baptist 
minister of that day. They had seven children. John, 
the subject of this sketch, married Ellen W. Maxwell and 
had one daughter, Gertrude, who died at the age of seven 
years; Hannah Ann married B. Frank Stroud; Catherine 
married Isaac E. Chandler; George married Ella Maclay; 
Sarah married Robert Russell; Elizabeth married Hiram E. 
Russell; and William married Eleanora Paddington, of 
Baltimore, Maryland. 

My brother George was born December 15, 1828, in 
Chester County. He early displayed a proclivity for 
mechanical pursuits, a talent which he certainly inherited 
from his father. When about the age of eighteen he was 
apprenticed to one of the leading master builders of Phila- 
delphia, to learn the carpenter's trade. He became a first- 
class workman, but I could see no great outlook for him in 
that line of business and believing he had much mechanical 
ability, I made up my mind to get him, if possible, into the 
mechanical engineering line. I was at that time in the 
employ of Messrs. Moore & Hooven of the Norristown 
Iron Works, Norristown, Pennsylvania. Fortunately for 
both George and myself, there was quite a good machine 



shop in Norristown, and a highly esteemed friend of mine, 
Mr. Archibald Johnston, was financially interested in and 
also the manager of the shop and was an able mechanical 
engineer. I told him about my brother George bemg a 
good carpenter and that I wanted to get him in the engineer- 
ing line, and said to him, " Sometime when you are in want 
of a man to do the coarser work in the shop, I should be 
pleased if you would give him a trial." He said, " Send for 
him at once; I am in want at this time of just such a man." 
This I did, and inside of three months George was on the 
best work in the shop and soon proved to be a first-class 
pattern maker, an important person about a manufacturing 
plant. When I went to Catasauqua I took him with me 
and also to Cambria. There I found him apt in any place 
I put him and he soon became useful to me and learned the 
business rapidly. When I left Cambria in i860 he suc- 
ceeded me as Engineer and Superintendent of the Cambria 
Works and remained in that position until his death. 

When the War broke out he was connected with a volun- 
teer company and at once offered his services. The com- 
pany was accepted and he was in his place ready to fulfill 
his duty. The Cambria Company requested him to remain 
at home and upon his refusing to desert his comrades in 
arms, Mr. Morrell, the General Manager, appealed to the 
men, showing them that if George went with them the 
rolling mill would be compelled to stop. It was only at 
the earnest request of his fellow soldiers that he reluctantly 
consented to remain at home. Later when drafted, al- 
though exempted through the loss of part of all the fingers 
of his right hand, he refused to claim his right under the law 
and contributed to the support of the Government by 
paying the exemption money. Not satisfied with this, he 
subsequently furnished a representative recruit. While 
making no profession of religion, he contributed largely to 


the building of the Methodist church at Johnstown, as well 
as looking after its erection. He died August 5, 1873. 

WilHam was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 
February 26, 1841. When fourteen years old he followed 
us to Johnstown and apprenticed himself to the Cambria 
Iron Company as a machinist. He remained in this 
capacity imtil i860, when he went to Bethlehem. At the 
outbreak of the War, he responded to his country's first 
call and enlisted in the three months' service in the First 
Pennsylvania Infantry, and after his first term had expired 
he enlisted in a cavalry regiment and served for three years. 
While thus engaged, he was seriously wounded and was 
granted a furlough. When the Government erected its 
rail mill at Chattanooga, according to plans I prepared at 
the Gk)vemment's request, he was placed in charge of it, 
and ran it successfully until the War was over. He then 
accepted the superintendency of the Abbott Iron Company 
of Baltimore and remained there several years. Later he 
entered into partnership with Horace Brooke in the blast 
furnace business in Baltimore, Maryland. About five years 
before his death he was obliged to give up work on account 
of faihng health. He died March 20, 1884. 


At this distant day I look back to my early boyhood, 
when I lived on the farm, as the most pleasant period of my 
life. In the summer we waded in the brook, caught butter- 
flies, and, as we grew older, had the more exciting sport of 
fighting and destro3dng the bumblebee and hornets' nests, 
which required both skill and daring, and we often came 
out of the encounter somewhat wiser, but many times not 
so good-looking. 

The most innocent, interesting, and instructive pleasure 
that we, as youths, so much enjoyed was the time we spent 
with the young stock in the fields, — the colts, calves, and 
lambs; and it would, to the people of to-day, who know 
nothing of farm life, be a great surprise to know how tame 
and companionable they can be taught to be, — the colts, 
of course, first, as the noble horse is always in the lead; they 
could be taught to rear up, and lie down. We would twist 
straw into ropes and make what we called straw harness 
and dress them up in the most fantastic style, and march 
them around for hours at a time, they seeming to enjoy 
themselves as much as we did. 

The calves would follow us all around and were very 
tame and gentle, but seemingly had some object in view 
and generally wanted something to eat. They were not 
susceptible of being taught like the colt, but at times were 
quite playful. 

The lamb became very domestic and playful, and there 
was one trick that he would readily learn and that was to 



butt; unfortunately, however, he would never forget it and 
often became troublesome and at times vicious, frequently- 
practicing his early learned tricks on people, much to their 
annoyance and sometimes to their detriment, which caused 
timid people to give him a wide berth. At times some of 
his butting was amusing to spectators, but annoying to 
his victims. 

Children on a farm also get a correct knowledge of all 
domestic animals, such as learning how to take care of the 
noble horse — to handle, harness, and drive him. They 
also learn about the forests, — the names of the various trees, 
and their peculiar properties, the character of the wood, 
and the various purposes it is used for. They have an 
excellent opportunity to study botany, learning the names 
of flowers and plants and how to cultivate them. They 
visit the orchard, and in season pluck the ripe and delicious 
fruit from the trees with their own little hands and eat it 
with a relish that they will never experience in after life. 
They hear the birds sing and admire their beautiful plum- 
age, and learn their manner of building their nests and 
rearing their young. They learn a useful and instructive 
lesson from the industrious ant and the busy bee. The 
study of the habits of the bee is an exceedingly interesting 
one, not only to naturalists, but to all people who take an 
interest in the habits of the more intelligent insects, amongst 
which the bee ranks high. They visit the sweet little 
brook and see the small fish darting through the water; 
they wade and dabble in the stream, which is as clear and 
fine as their own dear little hearts. Where can children 
have such an opportunity to commune with nature as on 
the well-regulated farm? Moreover, the information gained 
in early youth is frequently retained in the mind, when that 
which is gained in after years is forgotten. 

Between the ages of six and seven years my farm labors 


commenced by dropping corn, in grains to the hill. When 
the corn was about three inches high, I rode the horse, 
attached to the harrow, to guide him between the rows. 
Next the corn had to be kept clear of weeds, which had to 
be pulled up and hoed out. By this time the hay harvest 
was on and mowing commenced, and it was my duty to 
carry drink to the harvest men in the field. This consisted 
of fine old rye whiskey and fine water fresh from the spring 
near by. 

About the time the hay was secured the wheat was quite 
ready for the sickle, and in addition to seeing that the men 
had all they wanted to drink and water quite fresh from the 
spring, I gathered sheaves between drinks, — which were 
quite frequent. Shortly after the wheat was housed the 
oats were ready for the cradle if erect; if down, the scythe 
was frequently used; the oats harvest is generally easier 
and more quickly over than the hay, wheat, or rye. My 
duty continued the same until the crop was all in the barn, 
and as I now remember I was not at all sorry the harvest 
was over. 

I now supposed that my duty as grog boss and gathering 
sheaves was ended, and I began wondering what would turn 
up next, but did not have long to wait. The next morning 
after the completing of the harvest, I was called as usual 
at about four o'clock. I walked down two pair of stairs, 
as I slept next to the shingles, rubbing my eyes, feeling 
somewhat tired, but more sleepy. I went out and took 
down the tin wash basin which was hanging by the side of 
the house, filled it with water, and gave my face, neck, and 
eyes a good washing, which refreshed me very much. About 
this time my father came up from the barn and said, 
" Good morning, John. This promises to be a fine day. 
We will raise the potatoes; the ground being dry no soil will 
adhere to them, and they will go in the cellar clean and dry, 


which is important, they being much more likely to keep 
well than if put away wet and dirty. After you have 
driven up the cows, come to the field." 

It was the custom on the farm to go to work at sunrise, 
the women doing the milking, properly putting the milk in 
place, and feeding the young stock and chickens before 
breakfast, which was taken at seven o'clock. After break- 
fast we again went to the field, all having been previously 
arranged for the plow. It was started and a furrow was 
made as close to the potatoes as possible without injury to 
them. Then spades or shovels were used to turn them out. 
There was no use for old rye in digging potatoes, conse- 
quently not so much water was used. My duties were, 
therefore, changed to that of picking potatoes, a task which 
did not to me savor much of a promotion, as it required 
neither technical nor practical knowledge; but being a 
private, it was my duty to obey commands and to faithfully 
do as ordered. My father being a particular man and at 
times exacting (at least as a boy I often thought so), every- 
thing had to be done in the best possible and most careful 
manner, consequently the potatoes were put in a basket 
and gently placed in the cart or wagon without a bruise or 
an abrasion of even the outer skin, i 

I mention this fact as an illustration not only of how I 
was taught to pick potatoes, but also of how I was taught 
to do everything, for all I was called on to do had to be done 
in a like manner, to the best of my ability. And I unhesi- 
tatingly say that much of the success that I may have 
attained in life is largely due to the careful and exacting 
training received in early youth from a kind and exacting 

It was early in the hot month of August and a hot day. 
In picking potatoes you can neither stand erect, sit, nor lie 
down, but must be in a stooping position, and as the hot 


sun was shining on my back I fully made up' my mind that 
I would rather be grog boss and gather sheaves in the har- 
vest field than pick potatoes. But it was a duty and had 
to be done, so I stuck to it, saying nothing, but my mind 
was active. I was next sandwiched into school for a short 
time, until the time to get ready for the fall seeding was on. 

Being now in my eighth year and large for my age, and 
healthy, I was able to do a considerable amount of work in 
the way of getting the ground ready for the plow. I 
assisted in loading and spreading the manure on the field, 
which my father told me was very healthy work and not as 
hard as carrying sheaves and drink to the harvest men, so 
I was happy. By the time seeding was completed the corn 
was ready to cut and stack and in a short time was ready 
to husk. When this work was finished and the corn and 
fodder had been taken care of, the time for threshing out 
and winnowing the grain had come; this work was at once 
commenced and soon completed. Both grain and straw 
were put in their proper places. 

It was now November and next in order was to prepare 
for the winter. As coal at that time was not used, at least 
not in the farming districts, wood had to be cut and so 
placed that it could be easily secured during the winter. 
The cattle of all kinds were housed and made comfortable, 
the farming implements looked up and put in their proper 
places, under cover. The leather had come from the 
tanners and the shoemaker was in the house, as was the 
custom at that time, ready to make each member of the 
family a pair of shoes, which were calculated to last a year. 
Our dear mother furnished all the family with a good supply 
of woolen stockings, much better and more serviceable than 
can be gotten to-day, knit out of yarn, that was spun off 
the distaff, by her own hands, from wool sheared from the 
sheep that were raised under her fostering care. Society 


was then more economical and simpler in habits than it is 
to-day, it being the custom for people to raise wool and flax, 
to spin, knit,and weave, and largely make their own apparel. 
The people were industrious, contented, and happy, and full 
of sympathy for the poor and unfortimate. 


My father, having attained celebrity in his trade as mill- 
wright and machinist, and being pressed by people who 
were greatly in want of his services, decided to devote his 
time wholly to his calling. Doubtless thinking I was 
rather fresh to become a full-fledged farmer, he concluded 
to put the farm, or rather lot, in some other hands to work 
it for a time. 

, I was then over eight years old and as I had had but little 
schooling my parents were both anxious to get where I 
could have the benefit of six months' schooUng in a year. 
This was a number of years before the time of free or public 
schools, and the only opportunity of securing an education 
was limited to three months in the summer and the same 
in the winter. It was before pedagogy had become a 
science, and the teachers were not so well qualified for the 
discharge of their duties as they are at the present time. 

We moved to a place much nearer the school than where 
we had formerly lived, so near that I could attend in all 
kinds of weather. For three months of the time in summer 
I was very fortimate in attending a school kept by a lady, 
Miss Rebecca Clark, who was educated at the Friends' 
School, at West Town, Chester County. She was a born 
teacher, and I am sure that I learned more in the three 
months that I attended school with her, as teacher, than in 
three times three months with any other teacher I was ever 
with. She was a lovely woman with a magnetic and 
commanding presence, kind-hearted, and gentle, yet pos- 



sessing a moral firmness, which she skillfully applied, 
always reproving with kindness and in the most gentle 
manner, endeavoring at all times to command the confidence 
and respect of the children, which is so essential for the 
success of both teacher and pupil; this she accomplished 
in an eminent degree, not only with the children of the 
school, but also with all who knew her. 

The winter school was some two and one-half miles from 
where we lived; the snows were much deeper than those we 
have now, and the roads were generally so badly drifted 
that it was scarcely possible for one of my age to attend 
regularly. The next summer Miss Clark failed to get a 
sufficient number of scholars to warrant her enough com- 
pensation for her labor. This was owing to the estabHsh- 
ment of a school at the other end of the district, which I 
was compelled to attend, in consequence of Miss Clark's 
failure to secure a school. I was disappointed, and, as the 
teacher was incompetent, I learned but little. Probably 
it was much my own fault. Miss Clark was an ideal 
teacher, greatly loved and respected by all her scholars. 
As I was compelled to go to an indift'erent teacher who was 
not hked, satisfactory results were not likely to be fully 
realized. As one of the objects my father had for leaving 
the farm (that of giving me an opportunity for an educa- 
tion) was in a measure a failure, as his business required 
him to be from home so much of his time that he grew weary 
of it, and as he was fond of his family and all were happy 
when he was with them, it was agreed all round that it 
would be best for him to go back to the farm. 

I was now nearly ten years of age, stout and healthy, and 
was able to do much of the farm work. The farm or lot we 
had formerly lived on was small, and as quite a family of 
children were growing up, both father and mother thought 
it very desirable to have more land. Consequently, they 


sold the farm and bought a larger one, of about fifty acres, 
about one and a half miles from a school. This enabled 
the girls to attend the summer quarter and the boys the 

It was here in an old country log house that I took my 
scholastic degrees. The building was under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Society of Friends, generally known at that time 
as Quakers. They held service in their meeting house 
twice a week, first-day and fifth-day meetings as they were 
called, which were attended regularly whether in seedtime 
or harvest. They also had what were called quarterly 
meetings, which took place every three months, and which 
it was the custom for all the school, when in session, to 
attend ; all walked over to the meeting in a body under the 
eye of the teacher, and remained until it was over. I have 
been informed that I heard Elias Hicks speak, and I have 
no doubt it is so, but I cannot remember him. He was an 
able man, and a great leader of the Friends, and it was 
his views on the Divinity of Christ that caused the separa- 
tion of the Society into two parts, now known as Hicksite 
and Orthodox. The Friends were a most excellent people, 
good neighbors, charitable, peace-loving, and peace-making; 
in early life I was much amongst them, and I have no doubt 
that I profited by association with them. 

In order that the present generation may fully compre- 
hend the difficulty of securing an education when I was a 
boy, some eighty odd years ago, it will be quite in place 
to state, very briefly, the condition of the schools, as they 
existed at that date. It was a number of years prior to 
the time when the great commoner, Thaddeus Stevens, 
made his eloquent and farseeing appeal to our State legis- 
lature, sixty odd years since, in favor of our common school 
system. The predictions he made in that memorable 
address when the bill was under discussion have been fully 


verified. The benefits the youth have derived and are 
deriving from the free school system, viewed alone from a 
social and economic standpoint, are incalculable, and the 
impetus public schools have given to agriculture, manu- 
facture, and commerce is of great importance to both state 
and nation. 

Well, we were on the new farm and were pleased with the 
change and with the new farm also. My father was from 
home but little the first summer, leaving only for some 
important work and then only for a few days at a time. 
My duties were practically the same as those of my two 
former years on the farm. As the farm was large, the work 
was somewhat harder and the harvest season longer. When 
the seeding was done, the corn all in, and all fall work 
completed, I was next gotten in order for my three months' 
schooling, which generally commenced in the latter part 
of November or early in December. I was then over ten 
years of age, and had only about one and a half miles to 
walk. I attended school every day it was in session, up to 
the latter part of February, or the first of March, when the 
winter term closed. 

The teacher was a Mr. Baker, who was considered a very 
competent person. He had succeeded in obtaining sub- 
scriptions for about forty scholars, which was quite a good 
number for that time. He was a stern, resolute person, 
qualifications that many people at that day thought essen- 
tial, especially for the winter term, when only boys attended. 
As a great many of the boys were from fourteen to twenty 
years of age, people were of the opinion that to insure 
proper control it was necessary for the teacher to know how 
to handle the rod. In this line Mr. Baker was an expert, 
ever lookyig for an excuse to use it. An opportunity one 
day occurred in the most imexpected manner. The older 
boys took delight in plaguing the kids, as they called the 


younger boys, by breaking up the plays, whatever they 
were, and annoying them in any way they could. One day 
when there was snow, the younger boys, I being one of 
them, were passing by the end of the Friends' meeting 
house. I spied a knothole in the shutter of the gable-end 
window, and having a snowball in my hand I inadvertently 
threw it to see how near I could come to striking the hole. 
Of course all the rest, boylike, must see how near they could 
come to striking the mark. About the time we were getting 
our best work in, we received such a volley of snowballs 
from the older boys that we were compelled to make a 
hasty retreat, much to our chagrin. But we did not have to 
wait long for revenge and it came in a most unexpected 
manner. The older boys at once took the cue to see if 
they could put a ball through the hole, but they threw such 
a volley against the time-worn shutter that it went to 
pieces. About this time we younger boys saw our teacher 
coming up the road. We stepped out of the way, but where 
we could have an eye on him. He halted a short distance 
from the older boys and took in the situation. As he was 
in the rear of them, they did not see him until he was 
quite close. Then, of course, they began snowballing each 
other. He passed them seemingly without taking notice 
of what had happened, but knowing the pleasure he seemed 
to take in the use of the rod, and that he was always on the 
lookout for an opportunity to use it, we could see danger 
ahead. But, as the larger boys had done the damage, we 
consoled ourselves with the thought that they would get 
the worst of it, and we would have the satisfaction of see- 
ing them severely chastised for the rude treatment we ever 
received from them. 

We did not have long to wait to see what was going to 
happen. As soon as school was called to order and all had 
taken their seats, Mr. Baker called the older boys whom 


he had seen snowballing the shutter and ordered them to 
stand in line. He then took down one of his choice rods, 
of which he kept a number on a couple of pins in the logs 
back of his desk, stepped to the front, and addressed them. 
I do not remember the words, but their substance is clear 
in my mind, and knowing him well as a man and neighbor, 
and being familiar with his disposition and his manner of 
talking to the boys, I think I can give quite a clear idea 
of what he said, but probably more certainly of what he 
thought. He at all times greatly magnified any offense 
the boys were so unfortunate as to commit. He said, 
" You seem to be possessed of a mahgnant spirit and prone 
to do evil. The defacement of property used as a place 
of worship by a God-fearing and unassuming people, to 
whom you are indebted for the use of this building for a 
schoolhouse (in which I yet hope to teach you all to see the 
evil of your ways), is not only a great outrage against the 
Society of Friends, but also against the community, for 
which offense you must be punished. While I greatly 
regret that you have committed this outrage, it gives me 
some pleasure to administer to you the chastisement 
you so richly deserve." He began at one end of the line, 
and gave every boy a severe whipping, sending each 
one to his seat as he completed the punishment. He 
then returned to his desk with a benignant smile on his 
face, as though he had done his duty, but somewhat 

Being looked on as rather a leader of the younger boys, I 
must confess this was an anxious period for me. As I was 
not sure that the teacher had not seen the younger boys in 
the same act and that some questions might not be asked 
who commenced it, I quite naturally supposed that I might 
be called on to answer that question. Had I been asked I 
should have promptly said, as we had entire confidence 


in each other, that I was the one, and that would have been 
all I knew about it. There was no fear of squeahng among 
the boys so long as no disgraceful or wicked act was com- 
mitted. There were, however, no questions asked, much 
to the relief of the younger boys, myself included. 

SCHOOL LIFE. — Continued. 

In looking back at this distant period to my schoolboy 
days and taking all the conditions into consideration, I 
think that next to Miss Clark, Mr. Baker was the best 
teacher I ever had. Yet their mode of teaching and manner 
of keeping order were diametrically the opposite, the former 
accomplishing the purpose by kindness and simple per- 
suasion, the latter with absolute despotism. But in fairness 
to both teachers it is proper to say that the make-up of the 
schools was widely different. As Miss Clark taught in 
the summer, her scholars were principally girls and the 
younger boys, but few of them being over ten or twelve 
years of age. As Mr. Baker taught in the winter, his 
school was entirely of boys, from eleven upwards to seven- 
teen, and frequently twenty years of age. The winter 
schools were the only chance the farmer boys, who were old 
enough and able to work, had to get an education. This 
condition of affairs (primitive as the schools were) neces- 
sarily caused a large attendance. The last three winters 
that I attended school, at the age of thirteen, fourteen, and 
fifteen, the attendance numbered daily over forty scholars, 
all boys, and of all ages from eleven to eighteen, and some 
up to twenty-one. The reader, if he knows anything of 
boys of the ages referred to, can well imagine the difficulties 
the teacher had to contend with in keeping proper order, 
to say nothing of the time necessary for the proper instruc- 
tion of the students. 

Fortunately for the teacher, but very unfortunately for 


the scholars, the studies were few and simple in character. 
However, had they been otherwise, a very large majority 
of the boys could not have given them proper attention, 
as after school they had long distances to walk, the stock on 
the farm to take care of, the wood for the night to put in 
the box, then supper. The principal light used in the rural 
districts at that time was the tin dish open lard lamp, and 
the tallow dip, with frequently the spitting wick. In the 
morning the duties of the night previous had to be repeated; 
after this was done, then the long walk to school in all kinds 
of weather. When I look back from this distant period to 
my boyhood days and compare the economic conditions 
of the school system of that time with those of the present, 
with the beautiful and comfortable schoolhouses (I might, 
comparatively speaking, say palaces), located at most con- 
venient distances, divided into rooms suitable for elemen- 
tary teaching, and to some extent technical, under the 
charge of teachers graduated in the science of pedagogy, all 
under the watchful eye of the county superintendents, who 
are, generally speaking, persons well educated and intelli- 
gent, comparing favorably in that respect with most of our 
learned professors, and when I consider the high schools 
where the graduates who receive their diplomas are well 
fitted to accept responsible positions or to study almost any 
one of the learned professions, I feel that the youth of 
to-day should be most profoundly grateful for the almost 
marvelous opportunity they have for securing, in our free 
schools, an education that will fit them for almost any 
position in life. 

When I was going to school, some of the well-to-do 
farmers would send their sons to an academy and their 
daughters to what was called a Young Ladies' Seminary, 
but neither of these schools could be compared with our 
present system of high schools. The Friends, or Quakers 


as they are now generally known, would send their children, 
for a year or so, to their own school at West Town, when 
they were say about fourteen to sixteen years of age, but 
the poor farmer with a mortgage on his farm (as was gen- 
erally the case), and with a large family of children to raise, 
and interest on a mortgage to be paid, had but little chance 
to give any of his sons an education beyond what they 
could get at the winter subscription schools. 

It was my good fortune to get along well with the teachers. 
I do not remember getting a whipping at school or even a 
severe rebuke. I do not claim that I was any better or 
freer from pranks than other boys, but in school I was a 
student. When out, I was a boy amongst the others. At 
that time the schoolmaster was a perfect despot, making 
his own rules and enforcing them absolutely. Should his 
oral commands not be obeyed at once, the rod was applied 
until the command was complied with, and there was no 
appeal. Should the victims complain to their parents, the 
reply was, *' Behave yourself and do as the master tells you, 
and you won't get thrashed." This was cold comfort, 
consequently but few complaints were made at home. In 
the winter schools, the course of instruction was extremely 
simple. Comly's spelling book, with definitions, was 
studied; in reading, the introductions and sequel of the 
English reader, and the Columbian Orator were the books 
used; history, geography, and grammar were not taught. 
In mathematics. Pike and Bennett's Arithmetic completed 
the studies, except in the case of a very few pupils, whose 
parents lived near the school and were able to let their 
children attend in the summer; boys who had mastered 
Pike and Bennett struggled with mensuration for the 
purpose of becoming surveyors, a title that commanded 
some respect at that time, and to see a surveyor with his 
instruments and chain measuring the farms and roads, 


caused much excitement with the boys of that day, and 
should any of the boys be so fortunate as to help carry the 
chain, they forthwith would become surveyors. The in- 
struction received in writing was, if possible, even more 
meager than that in the other subjects. Learning to 
properly hold the quill-pen, making letters, and imitating 
headlines written by the teacher, was the limit. Such a 
duty as writing an essay or composing a sentence we were 
never called on to do. 


We had now lived on the new place one year, and as I 
was one year older and as my father was more from home, 
I had much more and somewhat harder work to do than 
the previous year. I had this year to learn to do all the 
important work on the farm, such as plow, harrow, mow 
grass, and reap grain, — all hard work. There were no 
mowing or reaping machines at that time; all grass and 
grain had to be cut with the scythe or sickle. All this I 
had to learn and do something at. My father was doing 
more at his trade this year than the previous year, and this 
not only put more work on me, but more responsibility. 
I had a slight offset against this, however, as I occasionally 
had to take my father's chest of tools to where he was going 
to work. This I enjoyed very much, as I got to see the 
country, and besides it gave me an opportunity to see the 
different mills, — flour mills, cotton and woolen mills, for 
all of which my father did work. This was a rare treat for 
me, deepening and broadening the foundation for the love of 
machinery that I already possessed, and gave me the oppor- 
tunity of seeing and becoming familiar with the various 
operations and the ingenious and delicate machinery that 
was used in the different processes of manufacture. 

The spinning and weaving of cotton goods was the kind 
of manufacture which I had the best opportunity to see, 
as there were two mills but little over a mile from where 
we Uved, and my father did all the difficult repairs for both 
of them. This necessitated my making frequent visits 



to the mills, and when I could possibly spare the time I 
would spend it in the manufacturing department. It 
commenced at what was at that time called the picker, or 
beater, which prepared the cotton for the carding machine, 
which properly arranged the fibers of the cotton. The 
throstle and mule did the spinning and put the yarn in 
shape for the loom. All of the machinery interested me 
greatly, but the shuttle flying or shooting from side to side 
was a mystery that I was unable to solve. But of all the 
machines in the factory, the mule was to me the most 
interesting and instructive. But why it was called a mule 
I; was at a loss to know. But however degrading its 
name may have been, it was the one machine that com- 
pletely captivated me. To see a machine some thirty feet 
or more in length, with its many spindles, spinning yam, 
with one-half of the machine fixed and the other part moving 
back and forth through a space of some eight feet or more, 
spinning the thread as it ran out, and winding it on spools 
or bobbins on its return, making it ready for the loom, was 
to me most marvelous. Being young, with mind free, 
clear, and active, and not yet crowded, the impression was 
the more lasting, and although eighty years have passed 
over my head since I first witnessed that almost bewildering 
sight, and I have changed from a tow-headed boy to an old 
gray-headed man, with a mind filled with events that have 
taken place during my long, eventful, and active fife, the 
feeling of astonishment, and I may say of fear, that I 
experienced when the door was opened and I was, for the 
first time, ushered into the noisiest place I had ever been in, 
is almost as clear in my memory as it was on that first day. 
The machine, or mule as it was called, was placed at the 
end of the building, and so close to the wall that when 
the traveling part of the machine was out the space was so 
narrow that it looked dangerous. When I first entered, 


the man in charge, called the mule spinner, was placing 
his knee against the pad to start or push the moving part 
back, as I supposed, to its place (they are now driven by 
power), but it immediately started back again, coming 
directly toward where I was standing. Not knowing the 
exact place it was going to stop, I rather instinctively 
moved sideways toward the door to await results. After 
seeing it moving in and out several times, always stopping 
at the same place, my fears were, in a great measure, 
quieted, but the noise was at first something terrific. After 
a few visits, however, I got quite used to it, and lost but few 
opportunities to get in to watch the machines at work. 

I must now come back to the farm again. The next two 
years on the new farm differed but Kttle from the previous 
year, except that as I grew older I had to do all kinds of 
farm work, and I was quite proud of my attainments. 
My father being a very particular man, everything I was 
called on to do had to be done in the best manner possible. 
The furrow must be kept straight and of even depth; if the 
plow struck a stone in the bottom, that was too large to be 
taken out quickly, the place was marked and the stone 
was either taken out or buried deeper so that the plow would 
not touch it. This had to be done before the ground was 
harrowed and finally prepared for seeding. This training 
was a good thing for me, as it taught me to do everything 
well, an important lesson for me in after life, as principles 
instilled in the mind in youth are seldom forgotten. 

The duties and routine of farm life were so similar to 
those of the previous year that it is unnecessary to allude 
to them. The next two winters of school also were practi- 
cally the same as far as routine was concerned. Of course 
some progress was made in learning; but no new books or 
new studies were introduced. 

I shall now very briefly describe the last two years of my 


farm life as one; as they were so similar and the routine of 
the farm changed but little, it is useless to go over it fully. 
I was at that time in my fourteenth year and made a full 
hand at any work on the farm. In the harvest field I held 
the post of honor, pitching on on the near side in the field, 
and pitching off in the barn, the two hardest positions to fill 
in harvesting. During these two years we burned Hme 
to put on the farm. The limestone quarry was about two 
and a half miles distant from the kiln in which it was burned, 
and it fell to my lot to do the hauling; this was done in the 
spring, after seeding and before harvest, or after harvest 
and before fall seeding time. The hours for all workmen at 
that time were from sunrise to sunset. It was my duty to 
be at the quarry, have the wagon loaded and on the scales 
waiting for the workmen to take the weight of the load. 
This required early rising in order to get the team in proper 
shape and in the quarry at the time named. But this I 
did not mind, as all farmers at that time were early risers. 
I was anxious to have some knowledge of everything that 
was necessary to be done on the farm, and the burning of 
lime was about the only part of the business that I had no 
experience in. Hence, it was a source of pleasure, as at all 
times I tried to get all the information possible about 
everything I had to do with. This practically completed 
my farm education; as it was before the introduction of 
agricultural machinery, all work was done by hand. It was 
a source of great satisfaction to be able to say that I had 
done all kinds of work on the farm, and to feel fully con- 
scious that I had not only done it, but had done it well. 

Having given a very brief account of my last two years of 
farm life, I wiU next give briefly something of my last two 
winters of school life. 

First, we had a new teacher, by the name of Elisha 
Jefferis, the son of a well-to-do Squire, who lived close to 


the schoolhouse, and whose sons were so fortunate as to 
have had the advantage of both winter and summer schools; 
besides this, our teacher had attended an academy for two 
terms, and was quite a well-educated man for that time; 
he seemed to be a good teacher, was very generally liked 
by the scholars, had good order, and used the rod but little 
in comparison with the previous teacher. There was little 
or no change in the books or in the system of teaching, 
especially during the first winter. The boys generally 
seemed to be getting along quite well with their lessons and 
were pleased with the new teacher. In spelling and defini- 
tions I was doing so well, standing at the head of the class 
in which I was the youngest, a large majority of the class 
being from sixteen to eighteen years of age, that I became 
ashamed of standing at the head, or rather sympathized 
with the others, and asked the teacher to let me stand at 
the foot of the class as long as I missed no word in either 
spelling or definition, with the understanding that if I 
missed any he should place me in the class, where, in 
accordance with the rules, I properly belonged. He agreed 
to do this, and it was so rarely that I failed that he let me 
remain at the foot permanently, and it seemed to have a 
good effect on the older boys. 

In arithmetic I got along quite well and I was very fond 
of it; my father told me that it would be very useful to me 
in the future, consequently I did my best. But five days 
in the week for three months in the year, is too short a time 
for the proper study of Bennett's Arithmetic. The teacher, 
however, was well satisfied with the progress I was making. 
This pleased me very much, and my parents also, and their 
satisfaction added much to my previous stock of pleasure. 
But this was not all that was in store for me. Being handy 
with the ball, and lively on foot, I was asked by the older 
boys to take a place with them in their ball game, some- 


times called long town ball, the predecessor of modern base- 
ball. In the simplicity of my boyhood days I thought this 
a very great honor, and imagined that it was a great step 
on the road to manhood, the goal of boys' ambition. This 
was the second of the two winters and the last school that 
I attended. 

Being now between the ages of fifteen and sixteen, I was 
fully impressed with the importance of a good education, 
and did my best at this session to get it, and not without 
some good results. At the close of the session, the teacher 
commended me for what I had accomplished in the way of 
mathematics, and said that the next winter I should take 
up the subject of mensuration, as it would be a useful 
branch of education in after Ufe. That subject was attain- 
able at the schools as they then existed, but, most unfortu- 
nately for me, it was the last schooling I received, except 
the one month of schooling provided in my articles of 
apprenticeship. But it was not only in mathematics that 
I was successful, as I ranked second in the ball game, as it 
was played at that time. Judging by the interest some 
colleges of to-day take in baseball and football games, 
success in them is more important than in mathematics and 
all other studies. 

I have given a brief account of the last two years of farm 
life and the last two years of my happy schoolboy days. I 
said good-by to my loved companions and the playmates 
of my early youth, a large majority of whom I have never 
since seen, and many never heard of. Having no class or 
graduating days, and no Alumni Associations, to hold or 
call us together, except by mere accident, we lost sight of 
each other for all time. I often think, when I hear and 
read of the meetings of the Alumni Associations of the many 
colleges and schools, how thankful the graduates should 
be for the opportunity they now have for securing an educa- 


tion compared with that of seventy or eighty years ago. 
Now there are free schools for all, with their well-educated 
and trained teachers, under the eye of able, practical, and 
scientific Superintendents, with rooms to suit the various 
classes and teachers for each of them, and with the studies 
scientifically arranged. An education can be obtained at 
the public schools to-day superior to that of the country 
academy, as it existed before the days of free schools. At 
that time the academy filled a gap between the day 
or subscription school and the college, much the same as 
the preparatory school does to-day between the public 
school and the college, for those who are so fortunate as 
to have an opportunity to secure a collegiate course of 

As I now had but one more summer to spend on the farm, 
and as I have previously referred to the various duties as 
being largely routine, I will make no further allusion to 
them, except to say that I occupied the same leading posi- 
tion that I had been occupying for years previous, until the 
harvest was all properly stored and the fall grain in the 
ground. This ended my early days on the farm. Receiv- 
ing my father's most favorable congratulations on what I 
had done and on the manner in which it had been done, 
and hoping that whatever should fall to my lot in the future 
might be equally satisfactory to my employer, the time of 
my departure had come. Notwithstanding the long hours 
and hard work that had to be done on a farm (as before 
stated, it was prior to the introduction of agricultural 
machinery, and everything had to be done by hand), yet 
the Hfe on a farm is so natural and so free and interesting, 
and above all so independent, that when my time came to 
leave it, and to go into a new field of business, with all to be 
learned, I must confess that the separation caused me much 
regret; and to leave a plain and happy home, looked after 



by kind parents, surrounded by affectionate sisters and 
brothers, to go for all time out into the world to meet no 
one but entire strangers, was a source of very great anxiety, 
and it was difficult for me to fully realize that such an event 
was about to take place. 


Early in October, 1838, I went to Parkesburg, Chester 
County, Pennsylvania, as an apprentice, to learn the trades 
of blacksmithing and country machine work. These con- 
sisted of doing such work as was required by the farmers and 
small manufacturers of the neighborhood, such as the shoe- 
ing of horses, ironing wagons, carts, and carriages, and all 
work required of a smith; and in the machine line, repairs 
wanted by the farmers on their threshing machines and 
other machinery used about the farms, and also both the 
smith and machine work for repairs and renewals required 
by the cotton, woolen, and other manufacturers, such as 
grist and saw mills, blast furnaces, and forge plants. 

At the shop where I worked there were four smith fires, 
four anvils, and for that time a fair supply of small smith 
tools and stocks, taps, and dies for cutting screws. There 
were also two small lathes for turning iron, and a small lathe 
for doing pattern work; at times the latter was used for 
turning and finishing light brass work, all on wooden shears 
or beds. There was also a very good makeshift of a drill- 
press bolted up against a ten-inch wooden post. All of these 
tools were of the crudest character, but capable of doing, 
in a very elementary way, such machine work as was re- 
quired in the neighborhood. In addition there was a set 
of rolls for bending boiler plate, shears and punch, and a 
kit of small boiler maker's tools, which put the shop in a 
position to do boiler making in a small way. 

The power to drive these tools was a six-horse-power 



engine and boiler; both had, practically speaking, been 
built in the blacksmith shop by my new master. It was a 
rude machine, but worked quite well, and I don't believe 
there is to-day one mechanic out of one thousand that could, 
under the same conditions, build such an engine. He would 
have to make his own drawings and patterns, make his own 
forgings, and fit the work all up, without tools, except 
makeshifts. To-day as many men work on an engine as 
there are parts to it, and each man has a special machine, 
specially designed to do his work on. There are few all- 
round mechanics to-day such as there were sixty years ago; 
even good all-round machinists, valuable as they are to-day, 
are getting scarcer daily, and the present shop practice is 
better calculated to make machines out of men than to 
make good all-round mechanics. 

After pumping the bellows and handling the sledge for 
some days, I was set to holding the dolly against the rivet 
heads on the inside of a thirty-inch boiler shell, with two 
awkward fellows on the outside doing the riveting, fre- 
quently missing the rivet, striking the sheet, and making 
such a noise as made my ears buzz like a nest of bumblebees. 
The diameter of the shell was so small that the shell had to 
be placed in a vertical position to rivet the sections to- 
gether; after some four or five feet in length were done 
the rivets had to be taken in from the top. Picking them 
off from there in so small a space and placing them in the 
holes was no very easy job, and the heat in the rivets and 
the mild October weather, combined with the noise made 
by the riveting and the cramped position I had to do the 
work in, made the job a very undesirable one. 

To make things a Httle more lively for me, and to have a 
little fun for themselves, the workmen commenced to play 
tricks with the cubs, as the apprentices were called at that 
time. Being quite familiar with the men and boys of the 


cotton and woolen mills, I had learned something of the 
pranks they would play on each other, and this placed me 
on my guard. Consequently, I was not so easy a victim 
as they had anticipated. I talked but httle to them, but 
watched for an opportunity to turn the tables, and had not 
long to wait. One day one of the workmen complained in 
my presence that his feet were troubling him. I asked him 
if he had greased his shoes and on receiving an affirmative 
answer I asked how the grease had been appHed. He 
answered, " On the outside." I replied, '' Why, you booby, 
you ought to put the grease on the inside of your shoes and 
then you won't have any more trouble." My trick was 
such that they played no more tricks on me, and I was at 
once admitted into their confidence. 

I w^orked on the boiler — chipping, calking, riveting in 
the heads and flues, and the like — until it was completed 
and tested. I was not sorry when the work was over; my 
head was in a buzz from the noise in riveting and my hearing 
has never been as distinct as it was previous to my boiler- 
making experience. In chipping and calking I used the 
hammer in the right hand, consequently the left hand was 
a subject for sympathy, being covered with sores. No 
bones were broken or fingers mashed, however, and in a 
week or ten days the hand was all right again. This trouble 
was not unlike some of the diseases incidental to children, 
rarely occurring the second time. This ended my first 
experience in boiler making. While it was somewhat 
rough, it was of great value to me in after life, and will be 
referred to later. 

My next advancement made me helper to my boss, 
Thomas Hudders. My duty was to pump the bellows, use 
the sledge, and do anything and everything I was told to do. 
As his fire was the largest and best equipped one in the shop, 
and as he was a good workman, the heaviest and most 


difficult work was done at his fire. Consequently, I was 
in the best possible place to learn, and I made good use of 
the opportunity. My boss, having the business to look 
after, was necessarily at times away from his fire. At first 
he left me, during his absence, doing small and light work, 
such as could be done without a regular helper, but in a 
short time, when he might be absent from the fire for half 
a day or so, he would give me a striker, and would leave 
heavier and more difficult work for me to do. This was my 
opportunity and I did my best. 

I remained in this position for some months, when my 
boss was taken sick and was unable to get to the shop to 
remain long. I, however, continued at the fire and learned 

I had now reached my second year of apprenticeship. 
The boss had gotten able to be in the shop most of the day, 
but was unable to do any physical work. One morning he 
said to me, " There is a very heavy wagon that must be 
ironed and it must be done soon, and I want you to do it." 
The wagon was what was called, at that time, broad tread, 
with tire five inches in width, and, as I recollect, about three 
quarters of an inch in thickness. The magnitude of the 
job almost took my breath, and I could only say that I 
didn't know how to do it, whereupon my boss said, " I will 
tell you." This was the heaviest job that up to that time 
had ever been done in that part of the country. There 
were no proper facilities for handling that class of work, and 
no rolls of sufficient capacity to form the tire; altogether it 
was a most formidable undertaking for a sick man and a 
boy. My boss, though unable to work, was in the shop 
the greater part of the time and could give instructions as 
to how to do the work. Under his direction, and with the 
assistance of two helpers, we succeeded in doing the work, 
and the boss said it was a very creditable piece of workman- 


ship. I was very proud both of what he said and of the 
workmanlike manner in which we had succeeded in doing 
the job. When my boss got well, he and I ran the large 
fire, doing the best and heaviest work. 

Primitive as the shop was, it was the only shop in the 
neighborhood that could do any heavier class of work than 
that required by the farmer, and in addition to being able 
to do the heavier and a better class of forgings it was the 
only shop of the kind that had power and machine tools. 
These consisted of a drill press, lathes, shears, and punches 
for boiler-plate work, and taps and dies for cutting screws. 
They were all of the most primitive construction. The 
drill-press head was cast off a sixteen-inch lathe head 
pattern and bolted to an upright post about ten inches 
square; the table consisted of wooden blocks of various 
thicknesses piled upon the shop floor until they were of 
the proper height for the job that had to be drilled. But 
crude as the tools were in both design and finish, we were 
able to do a variety of work on them, and the experience 
was useful to me in after fife, as it taught me how to do 
work in case of an emergency, without proper tools. An 
ability to do this is, at times, of the utmost importance, 
especially about an iron and steel plant, where delays are 
very costly and at times dangerous. 

Some time during the year 1839, I first saw a shotgun, 
with the percussion cap lock. I at once saw it was so much 
superior to the flint lock then in use that it would surely 
come into general use. Having in my own right a very 
good gun with the old-fashioned flint lock, I made up my 
mind to have it changed, if possible, to the cap lock. As 
there was no gunsmith nearer than Lancaster or Philadel- 
phia and as I had no money to pay for the change, I de- 
cided to make the change myself, or at least to make the 
attempt. The result was so satisfactory that every person 


in the neighborhood who had a gun and used it brought it 
to me to have it changed. It was no uncommon thing to 
see a number of guns in an old chest that I kept for the 
purpose, waiting their turns, or for the money to pay for 
the change, as there was no trust for gunsmith work, it 
being a separate business from the smithy. As I was the 
sole proprietor and as there was no other gunsmith nearer 
than Lancaster or Philadelphia, I had something like a 
monopoly and the Attorney General did not interfere. I 
did all the work myself and at night when other people were 
having a good time or were sleeping. Saturday night was 
my harvest time, as I could work all night. I would make 
the forgings in the early morning and the noon hour, during 
the week. All the fitting and putting together was done 
at night. The Hght was a tallow dip or an oil lamp, both 
of them bad for this class of work. All of the parts that 
were needed for the change, so far as I was concerned, had 
to be forged. Consequently, it necessitated much work to 
fit them up in good and proper shape, and a good and smooth 
finish was essential to make the change look well. The 
owner, in turn, was proud of the change and took pleasure 
in showing his gun to his friends. This was to my advan- 
tage, as it brought more work, and another important 
benefit to me was the fact that it impressed upon my mind, 
as a boy, the importance of making a job, of whatever kind 
it might be, look pleasing to the eye, which I ever after 
endeavored to do. The work was also a valuable experi- 
ence for me, as I learned how to use small tools and do small 
and hght work in a creditable and workmanHke manner. 
During my apprenticeship quite a variety of work was done 
in the shop, the new and especially the most difl&cult jobs 
were generally assigned to me to do. All this was of much 
value in after life. 

Parkesburg was situated on the line of what was known 


at that time as the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, 
now a part of the great Pennsylvania system. The shops 
for the repair of the motive power were located there, 
consequently I soon became interested in the locomotive. 
The Superintendent of the shop, William Hardman, who 
was an Englishman and boarded with my master, was quite 
a talker, and at that time I was a good listener, and showed 
him some attention, while the other boys would at times 
be rude to him. The consequence was that he and I became 
very friendly and he would tell me anything I asked of 
him. This was before the link motion was in use, and with 
some of the engines, especially the Baldwin, which used but 
one eccentric for both forward and back motion, skill was 
required to get the valves so set as to exhaust evenly, in 
both motions. The Superintendent, when he could do so, 
would arrange the time for setting the valves so that I 
could be with him, until I fully understood the principle 
and was capable of doing the work myself. We became 
fast friends, and the knowledge I obtained from him was 
of great value to me in after Ufe, and he ever has had a 
warm place in my memory. He went South to take charge 
of the motive power on a road, as I remember, in Georgia, 
and wanted me to go with him as Assistant Superintendent. 
I was very anxious to do this, but my mother did not want 
me to go so far from home, as it seemed to be at that time; 
consequently I somewhat reluctantly abandoned the idea 
of adopting railroading as a calHng. 

There being several wheelwright shops in the neighbor- 
hood, I was induced to start a smith shop to do their work, 
but this business, after I had my mind set on railroading, 
did not prove congenial, as there was but little or no out- 
come in it. The little knowledge I had gained of mechanics 
only made me eager for more, so I made up my mind to 
take up the iron business as a calling. But here a more 


serious difficulty was encountered, which, for the time, 
prevented me from carrying out my more advanced ideas. 
It was in the early forties, when the general business of the 
country was in such a depressed condition that the iron 
works, small and primitive as they were at that time, had 
little or nothing to do, so it was not possible for me to get 
employment in that line. As stated before, my father was 
a millwright by trade. This caused him to be from home 
the greater part of the time, consequently the farm was 
necessarily more or less neglected; so, for a time, like Cin- 
cinnatus, I returned to the plow and to my first love, the 
farm, where I was one of a happy family, and I again took 
up the work I had left some five years previous. 


In the latter part of the year 1843 business, to some 
extent, revived, and in the autumn of '44, much to my 
delight, a party commenced to build a mill, in Coatesville, 
for rolling bar iron. This was a branch of the business that 
I was most desirous to enter into, but unfortunately the 
condition of the iron business of the country did not war- 
rant the proprietors in pushing the work to completion. 
This was to me a grave disappointment, but I did not 
despair, and at once I made up my mind to try to get work 
of any kind in some one of the distant works. 

At that time the Iron Works, at Phoenixville, Pennsyl- 
vania, were considered the largest and best in the country, 
and I concluded to see if I could get employment there. 
I arrived there on a Saturday at about noon and found the 
mill standing idle. Upon inquiry as to where I would be 
most Ukely to see the Superintendent, I was told some- 
where about the mill. I looked him up and told him I 
was looking for employment. I received, at once, an 
unfavorable reply. The Superintendent said business was 
very dull and that they had more men than they knew 
what to do with. Thus ended my first interview. 

Knowing there was quite a large iron works at Trenton, 
I concluded to go there. I had heard that a new mill was 
being built at Norristown, and so I thought it prudent to 
stop off, as it was on the road to Trenton, and I might 
possibly be successful in securing employment. I landed 
in Norristown on the same afternoon at about three o'clock 



and went direct to the ofi5ce, and there met both of the 
proprietors, Messrs. Moore & Hooven, and found them both 
to be courteous gentlemen. I told them what I wanted. 
They said in reply they were sorry they could not give me 
emplo^TTient, as their mill was not completed ; if it had been, 
they said, the times were so bad, they would not start it. 
So I left their office for Trenton. 

In returning to the street, I passed through the mill and 
was looking at some of the machinery when Mr. Moore, 
one of the owners, came towards me. A thought passed 
through my mind that he was going to order me out, but 
this thought was soon dispelled. He at once commenced 
to talk to me in a pleasant manner. Being a Friend he used 
the plain language, which caused me to feel quite friendly 
toward him, as most of our neighbors at home belonged to 
the same persuasion and of course used the plain language. 
After a pleasant talk he asked me if I was used to hard work, 
to which I frankly answered, " Yes." He asked where I 
was raised; I told him, on a farm, and what I had been doing. 
To all his questions I gave a prompt answer. He then said, 
" Young man, I like thy looks; will thee remain here until 
Monday?" I replied that if there was any probability of 
my getting employment I should be pleased to do so. He 
then said their manager was absent, but was expected to 
be at the works on Monday morning, and that I should call 
at about eight or nine o'clock; so I remained over. But 
it was both a long and an anxious period, from Saturday 
evening until Monday morning, and in a strange place. 

At length the appointed time came around, and I was on 
hand promptly. In a short time Mr. Moore, accompanied 
by a large, fine-looking man, walked leisurely into the mill. 
Near to where I was standing they came to a halt and held 
a short conversation in an undertone. To me this was a 
most trying ordeal, as it was to determine my fate. as to 


whether I should get a job in Norristown (situations were 
not asked for at that time) or should have to go to Trenton 
and find out what the chances of work were there, with the 
probability that owing to the general depression of business 
the result would be very unfavorable. 

After the brief conversation before alluded to, Mr. Moore 
and the other gentleman walked up to where I was standing 
and Mr. Moore introduced the gentleman with him as 
John Griffin, their general manager. I confess that I had 
some dread of meeting him, as the words general manager 
at that day seemed to my simple mind as though I were to 
meet a supercilious kind of a person who would hold one 
at a distance, but the contrary was the case. Mr. Grifl&n 
was a fine-looking, affable, and intelligent gentleman; the 
last-named trait worried me, as I did not know how to talk 
to him. After some hesitation, I mustered up the courage 
to tell him what I wanted. He then asked me what I had 
been doing, and if I was afraid of hard work. I answered 
both questions in a manner that seemed to be entirely 
satisfactory, and he told me to come to work the next 

When I entered the mill first to go to work, I fully 
reaHzed that I was amongst entire strangers, without pres- 
tige to aid me or compass to direct my course, with mind 
untrained for systematic work or study, with but scant 
education and untrained talent. My thoughts naturally 
went back to the scenes of my boyhood days, and to the 
old home where my kind parents and my loving sisters and 
brothers still remained. My feelings at that time can be 
better imagined than described. I now fully realized that 
I was enlisted, as a private, in the army for the great battle 
of fife, and I made up my mind that I would faithfully do 
my duty in whatever position chance might place me. 

I was put to work by the foreman to assist the mechanics 

Fig. 3. — John Fritz in his youth. (From an old daguerreotype). 



in erecting the machinery, boilers, and furnaces in the mill. 
I went diligently to work, keeping my eyes and ears open 
and my mouth shut. In a few weeks I was advanced to 
the grade of a regular mechanic, and continued in this posi- 
tion until the mill was completed and in operation. I was 
soon after placed in charge of all the machinery of the plant. 
This was quite a responsible position, and soon proved to 
be an onerous one. There were three sets of rolls in the 
mill, all driven by one engine. This made a number of 
gear wheels necessary, in order to have the trains properly 
located and the proper speed for each set of rolls. In 
order to have the rotation of one set of rolls changed to 
deliver on the opposite side of the other two, idlers were 
used. These idlers soon proved to be a source of great 
trouble, as all idlers do, whether animate or inanimate. 
It was here that my most serious trouble commenced, and 
simultaneously my rolling-mill education commenced. 

The cogs in the wheels would break out, and at times 
would get out of mesh with the wheels in contact ; a general 
smash-up was the result, and the whole plant would come 
to a standstill. Then it was work day and night, in the 
grease, until all was ready to start again, — a job which 
sometimes would take a week or more. At times only a 
cog or so would break out, and we would dovetail and bolt 
others in their places temporarily, at all times a most 
dangerous practice, but so expeditious that we would fre- 
quently assume the risk. But the trouble became so 
serious and costly that the idlers were taken out and re- 
placed by two wheels of proper diameter to gear into each 
other, thereby entirely dispensing with the idler. This 
portion of the mill gave but little trouble after the change 
was made, but the product was delivered on the wrong side 
of the rolls, and had to be passed back over them. This 
caused delay and was to a small extent costly, but the 


consequent delay and cost could be reckoned absolutely 
per ton of finished product, while the cost resulting from 
the delay and repairs of a breakdown could not be foretold. 

It was there that my hostihty to all geared mills com- 
menced, and I said if ever I had an opportunity to build a 
rolHng mill, there would not be a cog wheel in the rolling 
department, and my opinion has not changed. It was here 
that the Httle knowledge I had gained about the locomotive, 
combined with a small amount of practice with hammer 
and chisel, and also a pretty good amount of experience 
in how to do rough machine work without tools, was a great 
advantage to me in keeping in order and making repairs 
on the engines and the general mill machinery. At last the 
machinery in the mill was gotten into what was, for that 
time, fairly good working order. 

Having previously made up my mind to learn the iron 
business, practically, in all its departments, ' I concluded 
to take up puddling first. This was the most difiicult 
branch of the business to learn and properly control, and 
at that time the most important and most arduous. As 
my time was fully occupied in the day in looking after and 
keeping the machinery in order, the only possible time under 
the then existing conditions was to spend the evenings after 
supper at the puddling furnaces until about ten o'clock. 
This I did every evening, until I obtained a good practical 
knowledge of the art. At the same time I gave the furnace 
much thought and discovered that when the furnace was 
new it did not work as well as when it was about burnt out. 
I made up my mind that the roof was much too low. When 
put in, the bricks were nine inches in length and the furnace 
would be run as long as the bricks stayed in place, until the 
roof, in places, was but Uttle over one inch in thickness. 
This at once led me to the conclusion that the roofs were 
too low, but I wanted to be sure I was right before I made 


any suggestions. After several months of long hours, and 
hard and laborious work, and much thought on both the 
process of puddling and the improvement that was possible 
on the furnace, I concluded that I had gained sufficient 
practical knowledge to enable me to build a much-improved 
furnace, for both puddhng and heating. 

During all this time I had charge of the mechanical end 
of the business, which of the many branches of this great 
iron and steel industry is the most essential for success. 
It matters not how well you may be skilled in all other 
branches, if your machinery is imperfect you will surely 
come to grief, and the only possible way to attain success 
is to obtain a thorough practical knowledge of both the 
engineering and the mechanical construction of all the 
machinery used in the art. My desire to secure this 
knowledge became inordinate, as I soon learned that with- 
out it success could at most be only partial. Having 
already mentioned some of my troubles in this line, it is 
only necessary to say they were many and great and con- 
stantly increasing. Never shirking a responsibihty and 
never missing an opportunity to acquire knowledge was 
at all times my guiding star. 

Now, having by hard and hot work and long hours 
succeeded in acquiring a good knowledge of puddling, 
which at that time was the only process known to make 
cheap and fairly good iron out of pig iron made in the blast 
furnace with a mineral coal as a fuel, and being quite well 
satisfied that I could make important improvements in the 
puddling and heating furnaces, I turned my attention to 
the heating and rolhng departments, which are both im- 
portant, and spent my evenings there in the same way I 
had done in the puddling branch of the business, in order 
to get a thorough practical knowledge of the heating, 
rolling, and finishing departments. This was the only way 


possible to secure the knowledge I had fully made up my 
mind to obtain. While the work was much less laborious 
than that which I had performed in the puddling depart- 
ment, there were many problems met that were difficult 
to solve and at the commencement gave me much anxiety, 
owing to the secretiveness of the workmen, especially of 
the rollers and roll turners, who kept their templets in their 
pockets. At that time the practical men in the mill, 
especially the rollers and roll turners, were generally English 
or Welsh, and they were very jealous of any person whom 
they suspected of having any desire to learn their secrets. 
This made it exceedingly difficult to get any information 
direct from them. The experience I had gained in using 
tongs in the smith shop now became useful, and the rollers 
were much surprised at my skill in handling them. Con- 
sequently, I soon learned to roll on the puddle rolls, and on 
the roughing or breaking-down rolls, as they are frequently 
called. Both being hard work, the rollers did not object to 
my taking the tongs and giving them a rest for a spell. 
This gave me an opportunity to get quite a good knowledge 
of the proper shape and of the amount of work that was 
being done. At the same time I became better acquainted 
with the men and had in no small degree gained their 
confidence, which is a great step forward in the management 
of men. Much to my surprise, this soon proved to be a 
great advantage to them. 


NORRISTOWN. — Continued. 

About this time I was called to the office by the pro- 
prietors. This was so unusual that it caused me some mis- 
givings as to what they wanted. I promptly responded to 
their call, however, and was informed that they wanted me 
to take charge of the mill on the night turn. This was truly 
a great surprise, as such a possibility had never entered my 
mind. After my surprise had in a measure subsided, I said 
to them that I did not think I was capable and did not wish 
to assume so great a responsibility. I also said there were 
several young men who had been in their employ longer 
than I had and were entitled to promotion, and as there 
was some clerical work to be done, they, being much better 
educated than I, would be better prepared to fill the posi- 
tion. I gave their names, two of them being nephews of 
Mr. Moore, who was the spokesman on that occasion. In 
reply he said, " John, if I were going to look for thee in the 
evening until ten o'clock, I would come to the mill." This 
was the first intimation I ever had that the owners of the 
works were paying any attention to what I was doing after 
working hours. After some further conversation on the 
subject, both Mr. Moore and Mr. Hooven assured me that 
it would be a source of great comfort to them to know that 
I was in the mill at night, it being important to have a 
practical mechanic there at all times. Knowing this even 
better than they did, I accepted the offer, but I did so 
reluctantly, as I feared it might, in a measure, interfere 
with my plans for gaining a more practical knowledge of 



the iron business; this I had fully determined to practically 
work out in each and every branch. My mind had become, 
if possible, more fully imbued with the importance of the 
iron business, and I believed that it was sure to become the 
leading branch of American industry. 

After taking charge as Night Superintendent, I soon 
found that the practical knowledge I had gained by working 
at nights at the puddling furnace, and the attention and 
thought I had given the heating and rolling departments, 
had fairly well quahfied me for the position I was placed 
in. After some five or six months of hard and vexatious 
work I was placed on the day turn, in order to relieve Mr. 
Hooven, the acting partner, of much of the active work. 
By this change, Mr. Hooven and I could consult together 
on ever}' problem that might arise. Such problems were at 
that time of almost daily occurrence, it being previous to 
the application of that beautiful and wonderful science of 
chemistr}' to the metallurgical arts, especially in the iron 
and steel industries. 

I will allude to only one of the problems, and that one 
simply to give an idea of the difficulties that we encountered, 
and the roundabout way we had to resort to in order to find 
out what the trouble was, and how to avoid it To-day we 
simply take a piece of iron or steel to the laboratory and 
say to the chemist, " This piece of metal is cold-short or 
red-short, and I want you to tell me what causes it to be 
so." In a short time and, comparatively speaking, at a 
trivial expense, we get the desired information, which 
enables us at once to remedy the evil, whatever it may be. 
In making bar iron, flats and squares, the iron has to be 
made neutral — that is, neither cold- nor red-short. Con- 
sequently, neutral iron is much more troublesome and ex- 
pensive to make than either cold- or red-short. This was 
prior to the introduction of what is known as the boiling 


process, which is in use at this time, generally called 

The difference in the practice of to-day and that of fifty 
or more years ago is principally in what is called the fixing 
or lining of that part of the furnace in which the iron is 
worked. In the old-time practice, called the dry or fer- 
menting process, soapstone was used for the lining, and only 
white or mottled pig metal was suitable. In the present 
practice iron ore is used. Phosphorus is the principal 
element that makes iron cold-short (a fact which at that 
time we did not know), and all pig iron contains more or 
less of it; consequently it was a most difficult task to get 
a pig iron that was right, and the only way we had of learn- 
ing was by experimenting, which was both troublesome and 
expensive. After succeeding in finding an iron that could 
be used successfully, another and unexpected trouble 
turned up. In making round iron for shafting and car 
axles, red-short pig iron was used. When we would change 
back to neutral iron for flat and square bars, we would find 
for a time that the neutral iron had become red-short. 
This was a surprise and caused great annoyance, expense, 
and delay. It was thought that the men who had charge 
of the pig iron had made some mistake, and had gotten the 
different irons mixed, but we could find nothing wrong 
there. Next the blast-furnace men were accused of using 
different ores, or hot blast, but they vigorously denied it. 
After a more thorough investigation it was found that the 
trouble occurred every time the change was made, and that 
the trouble righted itself in a few days. This thoroughly 
satisfied us that it was not the fault of the pig metal but 
that the trouble was somewhere in the manipulation, and 
the only cause to which we could, in any possible way, 
attribute it was the cinder used in charging the furnace. 
Accordingly we had the cinder, made while puddling 


neutral iron, kept separate, and when the change was made 
from red-short iron to neutral, the cinder was correspond- 
ingly changed, and the trouble ended. This was an impor- 
tant lesson, and one that I will refer to later. 

Being now practically in charge of the mill and being in 
touch with Mr. Hooven, I had the opportunity to talk with 
him in regard to a number of improvements which I had 
thought out while I was working at night at the puddling and 
heating furnaces. The one to which I had given the most 
thought, before alluded to, was the increase in the height 
of the roof over the puddling furnace, I considered this to 
be of the utmost importance, and I wanted the roof raised 
some nine or ten inches. Mr. Hooven thought I was a little 
wild and suggested the width of a nine-inch brick — that is, 
about four and a half inches. At the same time I thought 
it would be an advantage to have the furnace longer, but 
this was not possible except at a great expense, and the 
height of the roof could be raised only some four inches, 
except at a considerable expense, which the condition of 
the business at that time did not warrant. So the roofs 
were raised only about four inches. Later they were raised 
nine inches. This made quite an improvement in the 
working of the furnace and thoroughly satisfied me that 
the change was in the right direction. I shall refer to this 
later on. 

I was now completely installed in my new position, and 
found both Mr. Hooven and Mr. Moore very clever and 
companionable gentlemen. They soon seemed to place 
entire confidence in my ability to look after the mill, not 
only in a general way but in detail. This I did and it 
pleased them very much. 

Notwithstanding I was now practically in charge of the 
mill, my hat still fitted me, and, as formerly, I came to the 
mill every evening, not to work at the puddling furnace, as 


I had previously done, but to go through the works leisurely, 
seeing what was being done and how, and thinking whether 
any improvements could be made, either in the machinery 
or in the practice. As the mill was in charge of the night 
foreman, I was in a measure relieved of the responsibility 
that I was subjected to during the day, in looking after the 
mill and seeing that the machinery was kept in proper order, 
and in addition having everything made ready for the night 
turn. The night foreman had only to see that the work was 
properly done and the machinery well looked after. My 
mind being much relieved at night-time, it was in a much 
better condition to imbibe and retain any improvements 
that might be suggested. 

One night an amusing incident happened. We were short 
of steam and I put a cut-off on the engine; as we wanted 
it finished, we concluded to work on it at night. Archie 
Johnston was doing the work. Mr. Hooven took a great 
interest in it and stayed with us all night. While I was 
busy at work at the engine house, they got to talking. 
The flywheels used to go to pieces in those days. Mr. 
Hooven said, " Now, I've got a flywheel in my mind that 
will not go to pieces." Archie said, " What is it?" Mr. 
Hooven said he wasn't going to tell. After a while Archie 
said, " I've got a puddling machine in my mind." Mr. 
Hooven said, "What is it like?" "Well," said Archie, 
" you tell me about the fljrwheel and I'll tell you about the 
puddling machine." 

At that time the mill men, such as puddlers, heaters, and 
rollers, were generally EngHsh and Welsh, and they got a 
full share of my time. In the evenings between heats, 
while they were smoking their pipes, cutties as they generally 
called them, I would sit down on a charge of pig iron and 
listen to them describing their mills in England and Wales, 
and their method of working. In all of this I was greatly 


interested, and at the same time I gained their confidence, 
which is so essential in the management of workingmen. 
In all my experience I have ever sought to secure and retain 
the good will of the workmen. With confidence fully 
established between the workmen and their employer, 
strikes rarely occur. I continued spending evenings in 
the mill as usual, and did so as long as I remained at Norris- 
town. My friends were all the time saying that it was all 
foohshness to spend so much time at nights in the mill, 
but what I learned in this way helped me greatly in the 
discharge of my duty as Superintendent on the day turn, 
and proved to be of inestimable value to me in after life. 
In fact, it was the foundation of whatever success I may 
have attained. 

I was now in a position to learn thoroughly the rolling- 
mill practice, as it then existed, which included the manu- 
facture of merchant bar iron of all general sizes, — flats, 
squares, and rounds, and in addition boiler plate, tank plate, 
skelp plate for making welded pipe, cut nails and spikes of 
all sizes. All of these branches were practically under my 
general charge. Mr. Hooven, attending to the office and 
the general business, had but httle time to be in the mill 
beyond giving orders as to the work that should be done. 
All this work was done in the daytime and was conse- 
quently under my general charge, but I found that looking 
after the machinery, which had to be kept in good order, 
was the most onerous, difiicult, and uncertain duty I had 
to perform, and above all the others combined the source 
of the greatest anxiety. When the machinery went wrong, 
as it frequently did, the whole plant was brought to a stand- 
still. So serious were the breakdowns, that they would 
at times keep the plant idle for a week or more at a time, 
compelling us to put in new gear wheels, and new teeth in 
some of the old ones, which caused me trouble. Many 


years after (at the celebration of my seventieth birthday), 
I was arrested, tried, and convicted for practicing dentistry 
without a diploma. 

With all the troubles that beset us we made some im- 
provements and a Httle money, and established the reputa- 
tion for making the best iron in the country. I was very 
proud of this reputation, and I have ever endeavored to 
follow the example set me by Mr. Hooven, of never allowing 
anything to go out of the works that was not the best in 
its line. This policy, if rigidly carried out, will surely pay, 
and to a conscientious person it is a source of much grati- 
fication to feel conscious that he has done his best. 

Quite a pleasant episode took place one day in the office, 
which at first seemed as if it might prove to be a source of 
embarrassment, as for a short time it did. A gentleman 
representing the Delaware, Lackawaima and Western Rail- 
road, came into the office quite hurriedly and with but Httle 
formahty, and said: " I want to talk to you about car axles. 
Some two or three years ago we got some from your works, 
and I was told you used nothing but charcoal pig iron in 
your plant." Mr. Hooven's face all at once became red, 
and I must even at this late day confess that I did not feel 
very comfortable, as there had not been a pound of charcoal 
used in the manufacture of those car axles. I had had no 
little to do in bringing this condition of affairs about, and 
whatever might have occurred I would have to face the 
music. Mr. Hooven, supposing there was something 
wrong with the axles, asked him what the trouble was. The 
visitor said, " Nothing at all. They were the best axles 
we ever had on our road, and we want a thousand more just 
like them." Then Mr. Hooven explained to him that, in a 
measure, he had been misinformed; that while it was true 
we used nothing but charcoal pig iron in the manufacture 
of bar iron, — flats, squares, and small rounds, — yet heavy 


rounds, such as shafting and car axles, were made entirely 
out of pig iron smelted with anthracite coal. The gentle- 
man then said he did not care what they were made out of 
but that he wanted one thousand more axles just like the 
others. He said that they had had a train of cars going up 
a heavy grade; near the top of the grade the cars broke 
loose at the tender and ran back at a furious speed, and on 
striking a curve went off the track down an embankment 
and were piled on top of each other and all smashed to 
pieces; wheels and axles had been broken in all sorts of 
ways, but not one axle with " Norristown " stamped on it 
was broken. The pig iron used had been largely made at 
the Robesonia furnace, out of Cornwall ore, and had been 
puddled by the old dry process, and I doubt if equally good 
iron could be so successfully made at this time by the same 
process of puddling. At that time we were in the dark for 
a reason why the iron was so perfectly free from cold-short- 
ness, and we did not know until after the introduction of 
the Bessemer process, a practice that compelled us to know 
absolutely what was in the ore. It was then that the 
chemist was called in to tell us some of Nature's wonderful 
secrets. This will be referred to again, and more fully, 
under the Bessemer process. 

In 1849 Messrs. Reeves, Abbott and Company arranged 
to build a rail mill and blast furnace at Safe Harbor, on the 
Susquehanna River, about twelve miles below Columbia 
and ten miles from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Having in 
mind that the furnace and the rail branches of the iron 
industry were in the near future destined to become im- 
portant parts of the business, and having quite a good 
knowledge of rolling-mill practice, and a very good prac- 
tical knowledge of machinery, such as was used in the 
rolling mills of that day, I made up my mind that it 
would be a good thing to learn something practical about 


the manufacture of rails and blast-furnace practice. Being 
determined to learn all I could, and having an opportunity 
to assist in building both the furnace and the mill, I con- 
cluded to accept the position. 

It so happened that Mr. John Griffin, who was Cjeneral 
Manager of the Norristown Iron Works when I went there, 
had been made the General Superintendent at Safe Harbor, 
and wanted me to go there with him, but did not want me 
to leave Moore & Hooven without their consent. So I 
went directly to them, fully and frankly stated the position 
in which I was placed, and also told them how important 
it would be to me to get such a practical knowledge as could 
be obtained in assisting in the erection of the rolling mill 
and furnace plant. At the same time I told them Mr. 
Griffin would not take me without their consent and that 
consequently I was at their mercy. 

At first they both demurred, sa3dng they did not want 
me to leave them; they moreover pointed out that Mr. 
Griffin could not afford to pay the salary they were paying 
me. " In this," I said, " you are correct, and I do not 
expect it, but the knowledge gained will much more than 
compensate for the difference in salary." My Norristown 
position was paying me $1000 a year, but I gave this up 
for a $650 position in order to obtain knowledge of another 
branch of the iron business. I asked them, especially Mr. 
Moore, who was a very liberal and broad-minded man, to 
give the matter full consideration. In the course of a few 
days I was called to the office and Mr. Moore said they had 
thought the subject over very fully and had come to the 
conclusion that my \dews on the subject were correct and 
that they could not conscientiously stand in the way of my 
accepting the situation. We parted the best of friends, as 
we had ever been, and remained so until death called them 
both to their long home. 


The time at length arrived when I had to say good-by to 
the proprietors who had been so good and kind to me, and 
to the loyal and kind-hearted workingmen, who had ever 
faithfully performed their duty, and were ready to obey any 
proper command. During the three long years, which, if 
measured by the hours I was in the works, compared with 
the time now spent in a similar position, would surely be 
over five years, so good and faithful were the employees that 
I cannot remember having had to discharge a single work- 
man, or having had occasion to severely reprimand one. 
This was no doubt largely due to the mutual confidence 
which at all times existed between us ; and this kindly and 
loyal feeling was no doubt established while I was working 
at night at the puddling furnace, gaining all the knowledge 
I could from them in regard to the art of puddling, the most 
essential branch of the business. During the talks between 
heats, before referred to, I gained quite a good knowledge 
of the arrangement of the mills and the methods of manage- 
ment, all of which was useful to me, and my familiarity with 
the workmen doubtless had much to do in bringing about 
the pleasant relations that ever existed between workmen 
and myself. I was never happier than when surrounded by 
them, and I found that if properly treated, they were ever 
loyal and faithful. I said to one of my good friends that 
I went to work in Norristown an entire stranger and now I 
left with a host of friends, to whom I sorrowfully bade 
good-by to try my fortune in another place and in another 
branch of the business, which, in my opinion, was des- 
tined to become more and more important. I had made 
up my mind that I would know something about it, well 
knowing it meant a year or more of the hardest and 
most vexatious class of work ever encountered, but I had 
no fear of hard work and would gain knowledge that 
would surely prove valuable in after life. 


In May, 1849, I went to Safe Harbor, In Lancaster, 
while waiting for a conveyance to carry my trunk to its 
destination, I met a gentleman whom I happened to know, 
who knew all about Safe Harbor, and who tried to persuade 
me not to go there, saying it was the worst place in the whole 
State of Pennsylvania for fever and ague, and that no 
stranger ever escaped it. From the way he talked the 
probabilities were that I would die with it. I told him my 
object in going there. He shook his head, smiled, and said 
good-by. I arrived at Safe Harbor in the evening and 
secured a boarding house, but not a very homelike one. 
After supper I walked down to the confluence of the Sus- 
quehanna River and the Conestoga Creek, quite a large 
stream, about a third of a mile from my boarding house. 
After taking a somewhat cursory view of the waters and 
their surroundings, I became somewhat apprehensive that 
my Lancaster friend's predictions might prove correct. 
However, my mind was made up to try to learn something 
of the rail business, and bad and all as the fever and ague 
was, it required something more dreadful to cause me to 
change my purpose. 

The next morning at five o'clock I was at the works. 
At that time the mechanics worked twelve hours for a day's 
work. At about seven o'clock Mr. John Griffin, before 
mentioned, the General Superintendent, came into the mill 
where I was and said, " Well, Fritz, how are you? I'm 
glad to see you here. You have got here just in time. The 



machinery is now coming and I'm anxious to have it put 
in place as soon as possible." How different was this 
meeting from our first meeting in Norristown several years 
previous, when we met as entire strangers, and I not even 
knowing what I would be called on to do or what I could do. 
Now we met as friends, with full confidence in each other 
personally, and he was satisfied that I was competent to do 
the work he had designated for me. At that time the duties 
of a person in charge of the erection of machinery about an 
iron works were very different from what they are to-day. 
It was expected that he should, in a general way, under- 
stand rolling-mill practice. Most of the machinery, except 
the engines, was fitted up in the mill, and there were no 
planers or slotting machines large and heavy enough to do 
the work on. The two-handed chisel and sledge were sub- 
stitutes for them, and men that were skilled in their use 
could do a large amount of work in a day, so well that but 
Httle work with the hand chisel and file was required to 
make the parts fit for use. All of this work had to be 
looked after by the person in charge and it was essential 
that he should be a practical mechanic, and besides he had 
to do his own erecting. At that time the facilities for 
hoisting and handling heavy weights were about as in- 
adequate as the machines were for doing heavy work. 

The plan of the mill being much the same as that at 
Norristown, I was quite at home in it. The gearing was 
well fitted up and made heavy and strong, so as not to 
break, — but it did break, as will be mentioned later. I 
got my crew organized, mostly Pennsylvania Germans, 
fresh from the farm, without any knowledge of what they 
were going to do, but they were good and wilHng workers 
and apt, soon becoming expert in handling the heavy parts 
of the machinery, and in doing the general work, such as 
is common in the erection of a new iron plant. 


After getting the men fully organized, we got along with 
my part of the work so rapidly that it was evident that the 
rolling mill would be completed before the blast furnace. 
Then the blast furnace superintendent would be in trouble, 
as the mill could not start until they could get pig iron. 
Mr. Collins, the furnace manager, came to me and begged 
me to help him get the furnace completed so that he could 
be making iron before the mill was ready to start. I told 
him to see Mr. Griffin and that I would do whatever Mr. 
Grififin wished me to do. Consequently Mr. Griffin came 
to me and told me that Collins was in trouble and wanted 
me to help him out, and he, Mr. Griffin, wished to know if 
I was wilKng to go. I said, " Certainly." I was at all times 
ready to do whatever he might want me to do, but I told 
him I would prefer not to work with the men who were 
putting up the blowing machinery, as they were too slow 
and their gait would demoralize my men. I suggested to 
him that I put up the gas and hot-blast pipe and the hot- 
blast stoves, or ovens, as they are at times called. This I 
was anxious to do, as it was an important part of furnace 
work — a branch of the iron business that I had made up 
my mind to learn. Both Mr. Griffin and Mr. Collins were 
pleased that I was going to take hold of that part of the 
plant, but they had no idea of the difficulty that was in 
store to get the pipe in place. In order to have the plant 
built quickly, different parts of the work had been done in 
various places. This fact caused me much anxiety, the 
probability being that the work from the different shops 
would not come at the same time. Being about a hundred 
miles from the shops where the work was done might cause 
much delay, and I might be blamed for a part of it. When 
mistakes are made, there is too frequently a disposition on 
the part of the parties who make them to shift the blame 
on some one else. 


Well, the first part of the work I took hold of was the 
pipe that conveyed the gas from the top of the furnace to 
the hot-blast stove and boilers. The total length of the 
pipe was about seventy feet, the diameter sixty-six inches. 
It had three angles in it, and it was shipped in three pieces 
for convenience of carriage. After some trouble I got a 
mast long enough to hoist the pipe in place, but the pipe 
did not fit, the error in the angles being so great that it 
would not go in place. Mr. ColHns was at hand and, being 
of an impetuous disposition, he fairly exploded in the use 
of language that was both expressive and impressive. We 
next sent for Mr. Griffin. He looked it over and calmly 
said it was a bad job, and that it would have to be sent 
back to the shop. This would take several weeks and be an 
expensive job, as the pipe would have to be hauled some 
ten miles on a wagon to the railroad, that being the best 
route to take it for the quickest transportation. From the 
first, my mind was made up that the best and quickest way 
was to do the work right there, and after the excitement was 
somewhat allayed I so told them. They wanted to know 
who was there that could do it. I told them that I could 
do it. They said, " It requires a boiler maker, and you 
are not one." In reply I said, " I do not pretend to be a 
boiler maker, but having held the dolly for riveting up 
boilers, worked the punch lever for punching the plates, 
turned the rolls for bending them, chipped and calked the 
joints and seams, and done some boiler patching, and 
knocked the skin off my left hand during my apprentice- 
ship, I am quite sure that I can make a creditable job out 
of it." Besides I looked upon it as much more of an en- 
gineering problem than a mechanical one. Finally, Mr. 
Griffin said, " If you feel sure you can do it, go ahead." 
This I did and at once set to work to get the proper angles. 

While I was at this part of the work, much the most 


difficult I had there, a fine-looking, elderly gentleman came 
along. It being a very hot day he was carrying an um- 
brella, which was uncommon at that time unless it was 
raining quite fast. He looked up at the pipe and said, 
" Young man, that does not seem to have the proper angles." 
In reply I said to him, as pleasantly as one could do under 
the circumstances, as I thought it was none of his business, 
" They are not right." After getting the correct angles, we 
took the pipe down and in one week's time made the change 
and had the pipe up again in its proper place, all right. 
Just as we had gotten the derrick down and the place cleared 
away, the same gentleman came along again. He looked 
up at the pipe and said, " Young man, you have made a 
good job of it." After he went away I asked one of the 
workmen who had been at the works from the start who 
that gentleman was. He said, " He is one of the owners, 
but I do not know his name." Soon after I learned from 
Collins that it was Mr. David Reeves, who afterwards 
became one of my lifelong friends. 

'After completing the work at the furnace which was 
assigned to me, I returned to the mill, and took up my work, 
which was in the same condition as when I left it. In the 
meantime, the erection of the machinery had become well 
advanced, so much so that it became necessary for me to 
hustle in order to be ready by the time the driving power 
was completed. Very fortunately, as it proved afterwards, 
we got one of my old Norristown companions, Mr. Louis 
Bowman, who was a good machinist and a good worker, 
to come and help me. Thus far my force consisted of none 
but handy laborers, but the time had come when there was 
much machine work that had to be done, requiring good 
mechanics, who were used to that class of work. All went 
smoothly until the works were started; then trouble com- 
menced. As the squeezer was driven by bevel gear, placed 


underneath, the cinder would fall in the gear wheels and 
on the journals, which caused them to cut and grind out 
to such an extent that the mill could not make good time. 
We finally took the squeezer up and made a shield of boiler 
plate to fit tight around the shaft. Here the knowledge 
I had of boiler making came in handy again. After the 
shaft and journals were completely protected they did not 
make much trouble. 

The next trouble that turned up was with the flywheel 
shaft. They called me up at about three o'clock one morn- 
ing. I went to the mill and found one of the journals cut 
and ground down from twelve to eight and one half inches 
in diameter. Just before sending for me they had sent for 
Mr. Griffin, and he came in shortly after I had gotten there. 
The day and night superintendents were both there, and 
the engineer whose fault it was. They all had a powwow 
over it, and all concluded there must be a new shaft, which 
would, at that time, take at least two weeks to get. 

I stood a little in the background, but was taking in all 
that each of them had to say. Mr. Griffin was in the habit, 
when any trouble occurred, and I was about, of saying, 
*' Fritz, what would you do?" This was what I was ex- 
pecting to come. He turned toward me, and said, " Fritz, 
this is a bad case, what would you propose to do with it? " 
I said, " Mr. Griffin, I would turn it up in place." He 
asked if I could do that. I said, " Yes." Then they all 
said it would be too light to stand the work, and would 
surely break and might kill a number of people. I then 
told them I would get a new pedestal six inches longer than 
the present one, and would make the journal six inches 
longer by trueing up six inches of the body of the shaft, 
which was twelve inches in diameter. Should the smaller 
part of the journal break, this would keep the shaft in place, 
and it would be perfectly safe, so far as the workmen were 


concerned. I suggested, however, that a new shaft be 
ordered at once, that we might be prepared for future 
emergencies. Mr. Griflan said, " All right, go ahead day 
and night until you have it completed." 

The workmen at that time were very skeptical, and did 
not believe the job could be done as I proposed, and so 
reasoned from the fact that I had suggested the ordering of 
a new shaft. There was a heater named John Griffith, a 
Welshman, who was a first-class heater, and a very intelli- 
gent man. He had listened attentively to what had been 
said, and soon after the crowd had left, he came to me and 
said, " You have but little skilled help that will be of any 
use to you in doing this job, and I am something of a 
machinist and am quite sure I can be of service to you, if 
you will give me the opportunity." I said, " John, come 
on and go to work, as I want all the good help I can get, and 
must have one good man for the night turn." My right- 
hand man, Louis Bowman, had had a part of his thumb 
taken off in the machinery and had gone back to his home 
in Norristown to have it taken care of. Personally, I was 
suffering from fever and ague. Altogether things were in 
a bad shape to take hold of such an unusual job as that 
which confronted us. Yet with all the impending difficul- 
ties, and they were many, we went to work, raised the fly- 
wheel shaft to its proper place, and put a temporary bearing 
under the journal. Notwithstanding that all the tools and 
fixtures had to be improvised, the next morning we com- 
menced turning the journal. In about a week's time the 
mill was in operation again, and the shaft ran for years, 
with the new shaft lying close by, and did not break, but 
was replaced by the new one during some extensive repairs. 
John Griffith proved to be a good mechanic and was a great 
help to me, having charge on the night turn during this 
vexatious job. 


Shortly after starting up again, Mr. Griffin said the mill 
was not getting out the amount of work that it should do, 
and asked me what I thought about it. I told him that 
I fully concurred with his views. He was anxious, indeed 
it was absolutely necessary, to produce a much greater 
tonnage in order to make their contract deliveries, and he 
asked if I would take the mill by contract, so much per ton. 
I told him that I would like to do so, but that together with 
the fever and ague and the hard work I had been doing since 
I had been with him, I was fearful that I could not keep up 
under any more of a load, having to do the roll turning, 
which at times was about all that one man could do. After 
some thought over the subject, and being fully satisfied 
that the tonnage could be greatly increased, which meant 
increased compensation, I told Mr. Griffin that Bowman 
would be back and that if he was able to go to work, and 
would join me, we would take hold of it. On Bowman's 
return, I stated Mr. Griffin's proposition to him and what 
he would have to do to make a success of it. He agreed 
with me in everything and was anxious to accept Mr. 
Griffin's proposition, which we did. 

Now, having almost practical control of the manufacture, 
we did our very best to get the mill in good shape, and in the 
course of a month we about doubled the output, a condition 
of affairs which pleased Mr. Griffin very much, and much 
elated both Bowman and myself. Besides the pride we 
had in what we had done, we were each of us earning much 
more money than we had ever earned before. 


In the course of two or three months, the fever and ague 
increasmg in violence, and the attacks becoming more 
frequent, together with the hard and exacting work which 
required a strenuousness that I could not endure, I was 
compelled to leave the place or die. I naturally chose the 
former course and went home to the old farm. Having 
great faith in the old family physician, I thought he surely 
could cure me, but he utterly failed to do me any good. 

There was a lady — a lovely woman — Hving on an adjoin- 
ing farm, who practiced the Thomsonian system of medicine, 
which, at that time, had many followers, and being a good 
neighbor and a kindly woman, she took a great interest in 
me and most thoroughly diagnosed my case. I told her 
of all my efforts to prevent the chill from coming on, that 
I had lain on a three-inch-thick plank between two heating 
furnaces, both at work, and only thirty inches apart, that 
the chill and shake had come on while I was lying there, 
that the suffering I had endured was simply indescribable, 
and that it had become a matter of indifference to me 
whether I lived or died. I also told her that every person 
I met, black or white, had a cure for me. After I had told 
her all, she said if I had faith she could surely warm me up. 
I told her I ought to be very strong in faith, as I had drawn 
but little on my stock on hand of late. The first thing she 
gave me was a concoction of lobelia, as an emetic, which 
made me so sick I thought I should surely die. After I had 
in a measure recovered from the effects of the emetic, she 



gave me a dose of the concentrated essence of all the heat- 
giving plants known in the science of botany; it was so hot 
that I was fearful I should take on fire, but she at once 
assured me that there was no danger, and that she had now 
accomplished what was absolutely essential. Before con- 
valescence could be expected, the cold needed to be com- 
pletely expelled from the system and must be driven from 
the center out. The good woman was greatly elated when 
I told her she had certainly warmed me up. She was now 
confident that she could cure me, but you can imagine her 
surprise when she came the next morning and found me 
suffering with one of my worst chills, and I told her I did 
not have any faith in the Thomsonian theory of medicine. 
It was useless to pursue in that direction any further. 

In the meantime, my former employers at Norristown, 
Messrs. Moore & Hooven, had learned where I was and 
wrote for me to come back to them, I answered their letter, 
saying I was totally unfit to do anything but sit about, and 
in the morning try to keep from freezing, and in the after- 
noon try to keep from roasting. They repHed to come over 
at once, as I could sit in Norristown as well as I could in 
Chester County and they could have the benefit of my 

Mr. Joseph C. Herr of Philadelphia, a good friend of 
mine, owned some iron ore property in Michigan about ten 
or twelve miles from the Lake Superior shore. He was 
going out to see it, and wanted me to go with him. He and 
others of my friends thought a change of climate and sur- 
roundings would certainly, in a measure, be beneficial to 
my health. Of one thing I was quite sure, the journey could 
not make me any worse, and so I arranged to meet him in 
Cleveland and go with him. In the meantime on my way 
to Cleveland I took in Newcastle and Sharon, Pennsylvania, 
to see the iron works at those places and in the vicinity. 


On the morning of the Fourth of July I went down to 
Beaver to take the boat for Wheeling. While waiting for 
the boat I had one of my worst chills and went down to 
the bank of the Ohio River and lay in the hot sun with a 
heavy overcoat on, shaking hke a nail-packing machine. 
Every party that came along had something to say, gener- 
ally asking what was the matter with me. Some of these 
remarks were quite amusing to me, even cold as I was. 
One fellow said, " Come on, all's the matter with him is he 
has got too much of the Fourth of July in him." I told this 
class of people, " You'd better go on, as you may catch the 
fever and ague and it is worse than the cholera." There 
was cholera about at that time. The more sympathetic 
class would want to know what was the matter with me. 
I told them it was fever and ague, but that they should 
not be alarmed as it was not contagious. They wanted to 
know if there was anything they could do for me. I told 
them the only thing that they could do was to stop the 
first boat that came down the river and put me on board 
for Wheeling, which they did. While they were very kind, 
yet I think they were glad to get me away, fearing some- 
thing might happen to me. 

The first thing I did after my arrival in Wheeling was to 
secure the services of a good physician. After spending 
several days in WTieeling under the care of a doctor, I 
recuperated sufficiently to enable me to get to Cleveland 
and meet my friend, Mr. Herr, at the time appointed. 
After spending a few days in Cleveland, we took passage 
on a steamboat for Ste. Marie, this being before the canal 
was cut at Sault Ste. Marie, connecting the waters of Lake 
Superior with Lake Huron. When we arrived at Ste. 
Marie, we had to wait some two or three days for the arrival 
of a boat on Lake Superior to take us to Marquette, that 
being the nearest landing to the iron mines we most wanted 


to see. At that time there were only two boats on Lake 
Superior. Some time after they collided and one of them 
sank, and, as I now remember, several lives were lost. The 
trip from Cleveland to Ste. Marie was very pleasant; the 
water on Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior was 
all the time very smooth. The passage through Detroit 
River, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and St. Mary's River 
is quite narrow in many places, so that we could, without 
a glass, see both shores at the same time. There were quite 
a number of passengers aboard, most of them very pleas- 
ant people, including some stage celebrities, one of them 
being Miss Charlotte Cushman, then in her palmy days. 
In addition there was a brass band on board, which 
would occasionally blow, in order to stir the animals up. 
Altogether, it was a very pleasant and enjoyable trip, 
and one that even at this late day I look back to with 

The voyage on Lake Superior from Sault Ste. Marie was 
rather monotonous until we were nearing Marquette, when 
the lake quite suddenly became rough. This caused an 
epidemic which continued until we arrived at Marquette. 
There were no deaths and many of the patients landed 
there, and all their stomachs were in fine condition to 
receive a good square meal. This was no easy matter to 
get, there being at that time, as my memory serves me now, 
only three or four houses, one of them a hotel built out of 
boards in shanty style. Ground rents being cheap, kitchen, 
dining room, sitting room, parlor, and sleeping rooms were 
all on the first floor. 

We landed in the evening. Early the next morning we 
looked for a guide and transportation. The former we 
found without delay, but the latter was very difficult to 
procure. The best we could find was a single mule which 
we chartered, concluding that we would ride and tie, which 


means that one of the party rides the animal for say half 
an hour, then gets off, ties him and goes on foot; when the 
other party comes up to the mule, he gets on him and rides 
the same length of time, and ties. We soon found that the 
plan did not work in this case, as both of us walked faster 
than the mule, consequently we put Mr. Mule in charge 
of the guide and let him hurry him along, and Mr. Herr and 
I footed it together, which was more comfortable than 
riding the mule. 

We went first to see what was called the Cleveland loca- 
tion, which showed a body of ore that, to a person used 
to mining brown hematic ore, was truly marvelous. We 
wanted to see what was known at that time as the Jackson 
location, a few miles distant. The guide did not want to 
go, saying there was more ore where we were than could 
ever be taken away. At that time I was told that a con- 
trolling interest could be secured in said Jackson location 
for $25,000, and I at once made up my mind when I re- 
turned home I would try to induce some of the iron men 
to take the subject up. 

The next day we returned to Marquette and went up to 
Eagle Harbor to see a copper mine. On the boat were 
several gentlemen who were interested in the mine I was 
going to see. As we had gotten pretty well acquainted on 
the boat, they invited us to go with them, and go down in 
the mine and see the native copper about which they had 
much to say. Of course I accepted their in\dtation and 
went with them. The mine was of some depth, but I 
cannot remember how many feet it was. After reaching 
the bottom and creeping through a small hole, we saw a 
mass of fine copper they said would weigh five or six tons, 
which, to my mind, would cost more to get out than they 
could get for it in the market. They had to take out the 
rock over it to give room for the workmen to swing the 


sledge, as it had to be cut in small pieces in order to get 
it out of the mine. 

In the evening, after we got back to the hotel, as it was 
called, they asked what I thought of the native copper I 
had seen in their mine. I told them that to me it was a 
marvel, but would cost too much to get to the surface to 
ever make it pay, and said if I had money to invest, I 
should certainly put it in the iron mines I had seen near 
Marquette, as they would surely become very valuable. 
But their heads had been so completely turned by the solid 
copper they had seen that day that they did not seem to 
know that there was such a thing as iron ore in the world. 
I afterwards learned they lost all the money they put in the 
copper mine. 

Now, having seen all that we intended to see, and my 
health being seemingly much improved, so much so that I 
was anxious to get back to work again, we turned our faces 
homeward. I anticipated much pleasure in getting back 
to Safe Harbor and felt able to fill my position again. 

But how soon one's fondest hopes are blasted. At 
Detroit we had to change boats, as I wanted to go to Dun- 
kirk, my friends going to Cleveland. While waiting for my 
boat, I had unmistakable evidence of the return of my old 
enemy. I went on board as soon as I could and at once 
went to my room and got to bed, and suffered with a most 
violent fever all night. I arrived in Dunkirk at about half 
past eight in the morning, about an hour late. The express 
train for Philadelphia, with which the boat was to connect, 
had gone about half an hour before. Rather than lie there 
all day, I took an accommodation train for Elmira. Soon 
after we left Dunkirk, the chill came on. After every stop 
the train made the conductor would come along, saying, 
" Tickets, gentlemen." Any person who has ever suffered 
with fever and ague will fully appreciate how annoying this 


was. At last I lost all patience and said to the conductor 
that any man that could not remember a passenger sitting 
in a car behind the door, with a heavy winter overcoat on, 
shaking with ague on a hot August day, was totally unfit 
to be a conductor on any railroad. After this short con- 
versation he disturbed me no more. 

I arrived at Elmira in the evening, and as soon as I got 
to the hotel I told the proprietor I wanted him to send for 
the best doctor in Elmira. This he did at once. In a short 
time the doctor came to my room, and said, " Young man, 
what's the matter? " I told him I had fever and ague. He 
wanted to make a diagnosis of my case so that he could treat 
me more intelligently. I told him that was useless, and 
would only be a waste of time, as I had fever and ague, 
pure and simple. I then asked him if he had any remedy 
other than quinine; he said he had not. I then told him 
to give me a prescription on the best druggist in town for 
thirty grains in three doses. He asked me when I was going 
to take them. I replied, "All before twelve o'clock." He 
said, " That will not do, the dose is too large; it will make 
your head buzz like a lot of bumblebees." Experience told 
me it would do so. 

The next morning I took the train for New York and 
escaped the chill, but my head was in a bad condition for 
several days. I went from New York directly home to 
Chester County and remained there for a few days and then 
went to Safe Harbor, to give it another trial, but I could 
not remain, as the attacks became more frequent and so 
violent that I was compelled to leave the best job I ever 
had up to that time. I was again a complete wreck and 
cared but little whether I lived or died, so I bade Safe 
Harbor a final adieu, and again went home to Chester 

When I got back from Lake Superior in 1852, after visiting 


the iron mines out there, the iron business was in an awful 
condition. Every one who had anything to do with iron 
was out of patience. In an effort to get them interested 
in the Jackson location, I went to see Coleman, Kelton & 
Campbell, Commission men in Philadelphia, and they were 
the only people who would talk about it. I was almost a 
boy, but they treated me very nicely, said they saw the 
value of the proposition, but that business was very dull 
and the property was too far away. Another iron man said 
I might as well talk about bringing iron ore from Kamchatka 
as from the Jackson location. In reply, I said, " You will 
see iron ore from Lake Superior sold in Philadelphia within 
ten years." Receiving no encouragement, I finally gave 
the matter up. If I had had $25,000, I would have bought 
one half interest in the Jackson location and it has been 
worth millions and is still extremely valuable. 

I was now in my old home, and in the midst of the 
surroundings where I passed my boyhood days, the happiest 
days of my life, but now in a condition that I did not know 
or care what I was going to do. In the course of a week 
or so my old Norristown employers learned that I had left 
Safe Harbor and had gone back home. They wrote me, 
saying they wanted me to come back to them. I replied, 
saying I was unfit for work of any kind. I was simply able 
to sit around, sometimes in the house or shade, sometimes 
in the sun; some days, if able, I would get to the barn. To 
this they replied, the same as previously, saying to come 
on, I could sit around as well with them as I could in Chester 
County and they could have the benefit of my experience 
and advice. Consequently, I made up my mind to go. 

A few days after I had been at Norristown, an old friend 
of mine came into the mill to see me and expressed much 
delight at seeing me back again in my old place. He said 
in a brusque but familiar manner, " What the devil ails 


you?" I told him I had the fever and ague. "Damn 
you," he said, " you ought to have it." I said, " What do 
you mean?" " Why," he replied, " I told you a year ago 
what to do and if you had done it you would surely be 
cured." '' Yes," I said, " but almost every person I have 
met for the last year has told me of a certain cure; many of 
them I tried but all failed and I became disgusted and re- 
pudiated them all." In reply he said, " If you will go 
where I told you to go, to Dr. John R. Rowand, of Phila- 
delphia, I will pay all expenses if Dr. Rowand does not cure 
you." He said the doctor had cured his brother of the 
same complaint after suffering with it for several years. 
He was so positive that Dr. Rowand would cure me that 
I told him I would go to see him the next day. This I did. 
Dr. Rowand asked me when I expected the next chill. I 
told him in a day or so. He then handed me a bottle of 
medicine, telling me to take three doses during the day. 
He said, " Ague goes by the multiple of seven and if you 
get it to-day, you will be most likely to get it in seven days 
from to-day. On the sixth day again take the medicine 
and continue taking it in periods of seven days for a month 
or two." This I did and I have never had the least touch 
of ague since, although it was a long time before my general 
condition became normal. I do not know what the remedy 
was, but I do know that I cured a large number of my friends 
of ague, by sending them to Dr. Rowand. 

To show that a first-class doctor is not necessarily an 
expert in other professional lines I will tell the following 
anecdote about Dr. Rowand. After he had cured me of 
the fever and ague he consulted me about a scheme of his 
that he thought would revolutionize the transportation of 
coal. His plan was to construct cylinders about six feet 
in diameter with flanges on the outside to fit the rails. 
He enthusiastically explained how easily these cylinders 


would roll along the rails. After I had shown him that the 
coal would be powdered by that process to such an extent 
as to become useless he thought that if partitions were put 
in the cylinders the scheme would work. I had such 
difficulty in convincing him that the plan was impracticable 
that I came to the conclusion that he was worse than the 


I NOW entered the employ of Moore and Hooven for the 
second time, and in my old position, which I filled as far 
as my health would permit. It was pleasant to be back 
in my old place and with my dear friend, Mr. Hooven, and 
to be in the midst of the mill workingmen who had ever been 
considerate and kind to me and who received me with true 

Some weeks after I had left Safe Harbor, Mr. David 
Reeves, the largest proprietor of the works, was there and 
said to Mr. Collins, who had charge of the blast furnace, 
*' I don't see the young man about who put up the work at 
the furnace." Mr. Collins said, " He has gone away." 
Mr. Reeves asked why and was told that it was on account 
of fever and ague. He then said, " We can't afford to lose 
him; where has he gone to?" He was told to Norristown. 
Mr. Reeves then wrote me, asking me to call at his Phila- 
delphia office, as he wanted to have a talk with me. I 
called as requested and found him to be a very courteous 
gentleman. He asked if I had left Safe Harbor for good; 
I told him I had. He said he was sorry as he did not want 
me to leave there. I told him I also was very sorry to 
leave, but that it was not possible for me to stay there on 
account of fever and ague. He then told me he would like 
to have me go to Phoenixville and take charge of the shops 
and all the machinery in the works; in other words to be 
their mechanical engineer. He said if I would go there he 
would pay me a good salary. I learned afterwards it would 



have been $1500 a year, a big salary for that time. Al- 
though I was getting only $1000 a year at Norristown, I 
declined Mr. Reeves' offer. 

He then told me that he had personally leased the old 
Kunzie Furnace on the Schuylkill River, about twelve miles 
from Philadelphia and asked me if I would be willing to go 
there and take charge of the rebuilding and changes which 
he proposed to make. I said I should be glad to do so, as 
I had been pretty well schooled in the rolling mills and I 
was well satisfied that the mineral coal furnaces must soon 
come to the front, as timber was becoming too scarce and 
too valuable to be used any great length of time for char- 
coal furnaces; that I wanted very much to get a practical 
knowledge of the blast furnace, but that I had just arranged 
to go back to the Norristown Works with Mr. Hooven. 
Mr. Reeves said he thought that all could be arranged as 
he and Mr. Hooven were good friends and the roUing mill 
business was very dull at that time, — and I knew well that 
was so. Mr. Reeves now told me that at the Kunzie 
Furnace he could afford to give me but little more than 
half the salary he could give me at Phoenixville. I asked 
him what he could give me. He said, eight hundred dollars 
per year. I told him if I could get away honorably from 
Mr. Hooven, I would accept the position. 

When I returned to Norristown, I told Mr. Hooven 
frankly the talk Mr. Reeves and I had had and gave him 
my reasons for wanting to go. I told him that I had quite 
a fair knowledge of all branches of rolLing-mill practice up 
to that time and was very anxious to learn something of 
blast-furnace practice. After some days and several talks 
it was agreed that I should stay with him long enough to 
get the mill in good order, which would take some six or 
eight weeks. I so reported to Mr. Reeves, and he at once 
agreed; consequently all was satisfactory. 


After completing my engagement with Mr. Hooven, and 
when the time had come for the separation for the second 
time from one who had ever been a true and kind friend to 
me, to engage in what was at that time, comparatively- 
speaking, a new business, with strangers to work with, who, 
in all probability, knew but little if any more than I did 
about it, and my friends all the time telling me how foolish 
it was to leave such a position as I had and to accept such a 
one as I was going to, and at a lower salary, — I must con- 
fess that I reluctantly left. It was, however, my desire and 
determination to get all the information possible in the 
practical branches of the iron business that compelled me 
to go. 


I NEXT reported to Mr. Reeves for instructions. He told 
me the plans, drawings, and specifications would be fur- 
nished by the Phoenix Iron Company, from Phcenixville, 
Pennsylvania. The machinery', castings, etc., would have 
to be made at different places, and my duty would be to 
see they were all right and have them properly erected, 
and get the furnace ready for blast. I also learned that 
Mr. James Collins, of Safe Harbor, was going to be the 
Business Manager, an appointment which was very agree- 
able to me. The furnace had been built by Mr. Kunzie 
(of the firm of Farr & Kunzie, manufacturing chemists of 
Philadelphia), who was an able chemist but was without 
mechanical or practical metallurgical knowledge, and the 
furnace had been unsuccessful from a business standpoint. 

Mr. Kunzie 's wife relates a story on him, that gives a 
good idea of the Httle chemical knowledge they had at the 
time of Mr. Kunzie's first experimenting in blast-furnace 
practice. He had much difficulty in blowing in, as we 
call it to-day, in other words in getting the furnace properly 
started in making iron. After having much trouble, and 
after several unsuccessful attempts to get properly started, 
he employed Benjamin Perry, known as Ben Perry, an 
Englishman, who was quite a good fumaceman for that 
time, to blow the furnace in, which he did successfully. 
Mr. Perry then wanted to get away to blow in a furnace for 
some one else and gave notice to that effect. Mr. Kunzie, 
not wanting him to leave, invited Mr. Perry to come to his 



house that evening for the purpose of having a talk with 
him in order to get him to remain. Mr. Perry, being an 
uneducated man, who could neither read nor write, supposed 
it was a social and that he would get a drink, consequently 
called. Mr. Kunzie, being a thorough chemist and well 
read up on the theory of blast-furnace practice, at once 
commenced to talk to Mr. Perry about the effect the dif- 
ferent gases had on the proper working of the furnace and 
had much to say about oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. 
Mr. Perry, supposing he had been invited to have a drink, 
said to Mr. Kunzie, " I don't know a damn thing about oxy- 
gin or hydro-gin, if you have some good Holland gin I will 
take some of that." 

Here let me say the problem in the early forties was, — 
can iron be made in the blast furnace with anthracite coal 
as a fuel? It was said (and I believe correctly), that Mr. 
Kunzie had experimented with a cupola to learn if heat 
sufficient to smelt iron ore could be gotten with anthracite 
coal ; having demonstrated to his satisfaction that sufficient 
heat could be so gotten he then built the furnace to prove it 
practically. But while he was experimenting, Mr. David 
Thomas (afterwards affectionately called Father Thomas 
in honor of his being the first man in this country to make 
iron with purely mineral coal as a fuel, on a commercial 
basis) built the Number One furnace for the Crane Iron 
Company's Works at Catasauqua, then called Craneville, 
and it was a success from the start. 

Mr. Kunzie deserves much credit for what he did and had 
he been so fortunate as to have had a good practical man 
with him he would have made a success. In changing 
the old plant, I saw some good ideas had they been properly 
carried out. 

In a short time we had that part of the plant that was to 
be changed torn out and the place cleaned up all ready for 


the mechanics to commence to rebuild, and the machinery 
was coming in and was being placed in position as fast as 
it arrived. Everything so far had gone smoothly, but some 
of the work was not up to the standard. I called the 
attention of the machinist in charge to it, requesting him 
to notify the engineer who had charge of the designing of 
the work, that part of the work was not up to standard 
and also that some of his plans should be modified. This 
brought a great storm over my head, but it was not of long 
duration. The engineer came down on me full of fight, 
wanting to know what authority I had for criticizing the 
workmanship. I told him it was my duty to see that the 
work was done and to have the furnace erected. " In 
regard to my criticism of your designs," I said, " they were 
made for your good, for I assure you, that, if erected on the 
plan you now propose, the furnace will be a dead failure. 
The modification that I would suggest can be made very 
readily, and while it is not good engineering, it will do the 
work and do it well, and is the best thing, in my opinion, 
that can be done to utilize the work that is already done." 
He became very angry and said the furnace should be put 
up as per plan. 

I then told Mr. Collins what had taken place between 
their engineer and myself, and I also told him what I had 
never done before (as I did not want to humihate the 
engineer), that the plan would not work, and that I did 
not propose to put up a job of work that I knew was wrong 
and would not answer the purpose it was intended for, and 
that he should get some one else to take my place, as I did 
not wish to be discharged. I also told Mr. ColHns that 
Mr. Hooven wanted me back at Norristown, and I would 
go where I could have work done as it should be. 

Mr. ColHns, without my knowledge, went at once to 
Philadelphia to see Mr. Reeves, and told him what had 


taken place between the engineer and myself. Mr. Reeves 
said, " You can tell Fritz that no one has the authority to 
discharge him outside of myself, and that I will be up to- 
morrow and see what the trouble is and see if it can't be 
arranged satisfactorily to both parties." He came up the 
next day and we together looked the plans over and he said 
I was right but he still wanted me to put the hoisting 
machinery up according to the engineer's plan. This I 
objected to, saying I could see no reason for going to that 
expense when we knew that it would not work. He said, 
" The engineer is a good fellow but seems to forget that you 
have had an experience that he has not had, and it will do 
him good when he finds the hoisting machine will not work; 
he will begin to think that there are some people in the world 
that know a little more about some things than he does. 
He does not seem to have taken into consideration that 
you have had more practical experience than he has had, 
which is so essential in changing and repairing work." 

At Mr. Reeves' request I put up in place the work in 
dispute just as it was received at the works. As soon as 
the furnace was completed it was tried and my predictions 
were completely verified. The material — coal, ore, and 
limestone — was taken to the tunnel head in cars on an 
inclined trestle work. The difficulty was in stopping the 
cars at the proper time and keeping them in the proper 
position, while the barrows containing the ore, coal, and 
limestone were taken off and the material dumped in the 

When ready to start I asked Mr. Colhns to have Mr. 
Reeves and the engineer on hand and on the top of the 
furnace, to see how their arrangement for getting stock up 
was going to work, and to have them near the lever that was 
to control the car, being well satisfied that they all could 
not get it out of gear. I placed the engineer at the throttle 


with instructions to run slowly and keep his eye on me. 
I would place myself in a position where I could see the 
men on top and him and I would signal him when to stop. 
I also instructed the leverman and manager to try to stop 
the car before it reached the top. 

All being ready we started up. When the car was about 
some twenty feet from the top the leverman tried to stop it, 
but.failed. Mr. Collins then jumped to the lever, then the 
engineer who had designed the plan, and finally Mr. Reeves. 
All failed to get it out of gear, so I signaled the engineer 
to stop the engine. They all came down and came into 
the engine house to see me. Mr. Reeves said, " Well, 
Fritz, I think we are all satisfied that this design will not 
work, and I want you to change it to the plan you first 
proposed and no one shall interfere with you in any way." 
So at it I went and made drawings, such as were made at 
that time, had such patterns made as were actually neces- 
sary, and castings were made, set up and in place in about 
ten days' time. 

All worked to our entire satisfaction and in about two 
weeks we had the furnace in blast and everything going 
well and the changes that were made all working as in- 
tended. The furnace continued to do well, made good 
iron and for that time a large quantity, and was considered 
the best furnace on the Schuylkill. Everythmg operated 
so satisfactorily that Mr. Reeves sent his furnaceman and 
engineer to see how nicely all was going. The engineer 
and I talked over the failure of his plan for the hoist, 
and he said it went to show that one man did not know 
everything and that I had one great advantage over him 
and that was experience, which was all important to the 
engineer. From that day until his death we were close 
friends and consulted with each other on important prob- 


One important improvement in furnace practice that 
was made at that time was brought about, I might say, by 
accident. One of the keepers was Mr. Colhns' brother, 
and the other one was a Welshman. On the latter' s turn 
the most and best iron was made. Mr. Collins, the Man- 
ager, was constantly finding fault with his brother, and 
charged him with negligence, especially on the night turn, 
where the difference was at all times the greatest when 
Collins was on duty. Being anxious to learn all I could 
about blast-furnace practice, I spent my spare time about 
the furnace, consequently knew much better what was going 
on there than the Manager did. My sympathy was with 
the brother, who was at all times watchful, and in my 
opinion, the more competent man. 

At that time there was a space under the tymp, which 
was about two feet from the inside of the crucible, and the 
dam plate about three feet from the tymp, making the 
opening about five feet in length and some thirty inches 
in width. This was used when the furnace was in blast, 
the idea being that it was necessary to clear the hearth or 
bottom of the crucible of anything that might collect there 
when the furnace was in blast. After the iron was run out 
of the furnace it was the practice to clean this space, with 
bar and sledge, at the expense of a great amount of hard 
work. The space was then filled with coal dust and loam, 
then covered with a heavy cast-iron plate held in place by a 
prop against a cast-iron plate or Hntel in front of the tymp ; 
this had to be done after every cast and once between 
casts, the time for casting being morning and evening. 
This working of the furnace, as it was called, was done 
about the middle of the day. This intermediate working, 
I made up my mind, was worse than useless. I could see 
no sense whatever in driving the heavy long cold bars in 
at the bottom of the crucible where it was essential that 


the furnace should be hottest. Some of the bars, called 
ringers, were ten feet long, so that they would reach the 
center of the crucible. They were driven in with a sledge, 
then four or five men would take hold of the end of the bar 
and work it round and roimd and get a lot of hot fuel out of 
the very place where it was most wanted. Besides, the blast 
was off the furnace all the time this working was being done. 

I now paid close attention to the two keepers to see how 
they worked the furnace and how long each of them had 
the blast off. I soon found out that Collins worked the 
furnace much more thoroughly, driving the cold bars into 
the furnace, and keeping the blast off longer. While this 
explained the matter in a measure, there was still a mystery 
why the Welshman should do so much better than Collins 
on the night turn, both in make and in quality. The inter- 
mediate time for working the furnace on the night turn was 
between twelve and one. 

I next directed my attention to the night turn and soon 
solved the mystery. Mr. Collins worked the furnace at 
midnight, the same as he worked it in the daytime, while 
the Welshman rarely worked the furnace at all in the night. 
This at once solved the problem, and proved that the 
intermediate working was not only useless, but was detri- 
mental to the natural working of the furnace. This was 
an important discovery, and fully confirmed my theory that 
it was wrong to put] cold bars in the crucible and work 
out a lot of good hot fuel and material that was, practi- 
cally speaking, on the verge of fluid metal, filling the space 
with crude and colder material, and that in the bottom of 
the crucible below the tuyeres, the most sensitive part of 
the furnace. Mr. Collins the Manager, his brother, the 
keeper, and myself got together and talked the whole sub- 
ject over, and were unanimous in the conclusion that the 
frequent working of a furnace was deleterious. 


It had already been shown to the satisfaction of us all 
that the intermediate or second working was now, beyond 
any question, injurious, and should at once be abandoned, 
but the question of the first working, after casting, known 
amongst furnace men as cinder raising, was not so easily 
disposed of. The long forehearth was filled with coal dirt 
and loam. After casting and after the blast had been put 
on, the cinder would, in the course of an hour or more, come 
up to the tuyeres. The blast was then slackened, the plate 
heretofore designated was taken off, the coal dirt and loam 
was shoveled out up to the t>rmp, and the cinder flowed in 
and filled the place up and was allowed to run out until 
it was level with the tapping hole on the dam plate. Then 
the cinder was covered with loam, and the heavy plate was 
placed in position again, and the blast put on; then the 
cinder was tapped as often as it came up to the tuyeres 
until casting time came around. 

It was now arranged that at the next cast the loam and 
coal dirt should be shoveled out to about eight inches from 
the tymp and the space be filled with loam, well rammed 
down up to that point and a narrower plate put on, and that 
at cinder raising, instead of opening up and working the 
furnace, a single bar should be driven in under the plate 
until it reached the cinder and then be withdrawn. It was 
supposed that the cinder would flow out after the bar was 

The next morning Mr. Collins was on hand at casting 
time and had the forehearth filled up as before arranged, 
and when the blast was put on he said to the furnace men 
in the most emphatic manner and in language that would 
not be becoming to a church member that if any man put a 
bar into the furnace other than in tapping for cinder he 
would at once discharge him. We now had an anxious 
wait of an hour or so to know what the result might be; we 


watched the tuyeres with much interest and when the 
cinder began to bubble there, we all knew that the crisis 
had arrived, and all went to the front to see the result 
of our long, anxious, and interesting investigations. The 
keeper cut a small gutter in the loam from the tymp to the 
dam plate, some three or four inches in depth, in order to 
guide the cinder to the notch in the dam plate. The place 
selected to drive the bar for cinder was some four inches 
below the tj^mp and about twelve inches below the tuyeres. 
The keeper placed the bar as directed by Mr. Collins and 
it was driven in some fifteen inches without any difl&culty. 
When the bar was withdrawn the cinder flowed out rather 
slowly but it was sufiicient to guarantee success, as we well 
knew that the next flush of cinder would be hotter. It was, 
and the result was entirely satisfactory. Taking into con- 
sideration the condition of furnace practice at that time, 
this was a marked improvement, making in all respects 
a closed front. Some years later Mr. Liirmann, of Ger- 
many, made an improvement on what we had done by 
the introduction of the water cinder notch, patented it, 
and it is now in general use. 

After being in Mr. Reeves' employ some twelve months, 
doing all that I was called upon to do and getting the 
practical furnace experience I so much desired, I concluded, 
as Mr. Hooven wanted me to go back to Norristown, to do 
so, and I told both Mr. Reeves and Mr. Collins of my 
intention to leave them and return to Mr. Hooven at Norris- 
town. They both objected, saying they did not want me 
to leave them. In reply I said to them that the furnace 
was going smoothly, and there was but little for me to do, 
and that I would be much more useful to Mr. Hooven than 
I could be to them, and besides I would be near by in case 
they had any trouble. " I could be with you," I said, "with- 
in an hour's time." They both were satisfied with this 


arrangement, so we parted in the most pleasant manner, 
and I confess that I left them with regret. 

I did business with four generations of the Reeves family. 
My first employer was Mr. David Reeves; the next genera- 
tion was Samuel; the next generation was David. When 
I was recently doing some work in Chester County, I 
wanted some beams and I sent over to Phcenixville for 
them. When Mr. David Reeves came to answer my 
letter, he said to his son Wilham, " You attend to this 
matter and then you can say to Mr. Fritz that he has done 
business with four generations in this firm," William 
mentioned that fact to me and said, " I cannot tell you 
anything about the fifth generation; I am twenty-six, but 
I have not yet come across a woman that pleases me." 


I NOW returned to Norristown for the third time, but not 
with the intention of remaining there. A party was plan- 
ning to build a nail mill and wanted me to build it for them 
and take the superin tendency of it. My intention was to 
do some work that Mr. Hooven wanted done and get the 
mill in good order, then take hold of the nail-mill project. 
As business was dull at that time, however, the project 
was deferred for a year. 

In company with my brother George and two brothers- 
in-law, Mr. B. F. Stroud and Mr. Isaac E. Chandler, who 
were then living in Catasauqua, we built a machine shop 
and foundry there, with the view of doing work for blast 
furnaces and rolling mills. But before we got fairly 
started, the party that had intended building the nail mill 
abandoned the project altogether on account of the dull- 
ness in the iron business. It so happened that Mr. David 
Reeves, whom I had been with at the Safe Harbor Iron 
Works and the Kunzie Furnace, had become interested 
in the Cambria Iron Works, at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 
and wanted me to go there as General Superintendent. 
He asked me to meet him at his office in Philadelphia, which 
I did, and it was arranged that I should go to Johnstown 
as soon as I could get away. My stay in Catasauqua was 
not only brief, but somev/hat unprofitable. I made some 
good friends, however, whom I esteem most highly at the 
present time. 



In June, 1854, my family and I landed in Johnstown at 
about nine o'clock at night. It was a dark and uninviting 
place. Looking down the Conemaugh in the direction of 
the works, the only light that could be seen was the reflec- 
tion from the coke ovens. We went to a hotel and spent 
an uneventful night. The next morning, while waiting for 
breakfast, I went out to see how the town looked in day- 
time, and I can truly say it was the most unattractive place 
I had ever been in. The streets were of clay, or rather of a 
dark loam, and organic matter; the sidewalks, with few ex- 
ceptions, were of boards or plank, and in a great part of 
the town were of the same material as the streets. Cows, 
hogs, and dogs, all ran at large; the dogs would get after 
the pigs, they would squeal, the cows would bawl, the dogs 
would bark, and fight. I should have been amused if I had 
not been there to stay. After I had been at Johnstown a 
short time I met Governor Porter, who told me that he had 
recently crossed the mountains in a stage, sitting outside 
with the driver. He said, " In looking forward I saw a 
number of houses. I asked the driver what place we were 
coming to. He said it was Johnstown. When we came 
near to it the driver said it was a darned shame to spoil such 
a nice piece of ground to build such a town on it." 

I next went down to the coke plant, which was on a level 
with the tunnel head of the furnace, some eighty feet above 
the valley in which the rolling mill and shops were located. 
After taking a bird's-eye view of the plant, I went to the 



mill and found it unfinished and not at all to my liking, but 
too far advanced to make any changes. Consequently, I 
concluded to complete it as designed and as early as possible, 
at the same time well knowing there was trouble in store 
for us when we came to start. One of the blast furnaces 
had been in operation for some weeks and there was some 
pig iron in the metal yard, which I examined and found to 
be a very inferior metal. I was told by persons who knew 
something about the reputation of the metal that it was no 
good, that it could not be sold or given away in Pittsburg, 
and that it could never be made into a rail. This, in con- 
nection with my own opinion, was enough to chill the ardor 
of a veteran. 

In starting the mill we made the pile in the usual way, 
and when it went into the rolls it split in two pieces and 
went out into the scrap yard. The conclusion was, too 
much heat. We tried another at a lower temperature; 
result, it spHt about halfway. We then turned end for 
end and passed it through the rolls, which closed it to- 
gether; sent it back to the furnace and reheated it, and then 
rolled it into a rail; the result was, flanges on both sides all 
torn from one end of the intended rail to the other. The 
rolls were then taken to the lathe and altered, put in place 
and tried again; result no better. Anticipating trouble, I 
had a set of new rolls quite ready, put them in the housing, 
and tried them; some improvement, but the flanges of the 
rails were still seriously torn and the head of the rail badly 
cracked on both sides. 

It was now evident that my worst fears were going to be 
fully reaUzed, and that we must have some better iron and 
devise some plan to get along with the least possible quan- 
tity. It was now that my Norristown experience proved 
helpful, as I had had much to do in getting up the piles for 
the various classes of work. This required different qualities 














•■ C-A -los,^ 


of iron, some cold-short, some red-short, and some neutral, 
the neutral being the most desirable; to obtain a good 
quality of it at a reasonable cost was the only way that I 
could think of to get over the difficulty. 

When I told the owners of the trouble and that we must 
have some good iron to help us out, for a time matters 
looked serious. They had been told, when they leased the 
property, that they could make pig iron for about six dollars 
per ton, and the kind of iron that I wanted for the flanges 
and heads of the rails had to be of a much superior quality, 
but after being told how small a quantity I thought would 
help us out, and that it was not possible to make rails with- 
out some better iron, they concluded to get it, hoping that 
later we could get along with a less quantity of the superior 
iron. In this view of the situation I gave them no encour- 
agement whatever, well knowing it would only be waste of 
time as well as of money to make any further attempts. 
Consequently, I let the mill stand until we got the better 

When the good iron arrived we had it puddled and 
started up the rail mill to try the experimental pile. So far 
as the pile was concerned, it was a success and the form was 
never changed in the least. A sketch of the pile is shown 
in Figure 5 on page 96, and this method was used as long 
as the Cambria Works made iron rails. On some orders we 
used what was called second-bottom iron, as shown in 
Figure 6 on page 96. This second-bottom iron was rolled 
out of the crop ends of rails into bars one and one-half 
inches wide, and of the same thickness as the puddled iron 
bars, generally about five-eighths of an inch. We had a pile 
that was eminently satisfactory so far as making the rail 
was concerned, if roUed on edge. How well the rail would 
wear was a very serious problem in my mind. Nothing 
short of an experiment would demonstrate the wearing 




qualities of such a rail, and at that time it would have taken 
too long to make the test. My fear was that the rails would 
split under the load. I finally made up my mind that if 
the piles were properly heated and that if the second-bottom 
iron bars in the rail pile were in contact with iron on its 
flat with a good heat, no trouble would occur. This in the 
end proved correct, but my anxiety did not cease until 
the rails were tested in absolute use. 

I was now satisfied that with a very small quantity of 
suitable iron for the flange and head an excellent rail could 
be made out of the iron produced at the Cambria furnaces, 
and that with such a mill as could be constructed the com- 
pany would be a great commercial success. But to attempt 
to run the mill as it was would have been commercial ruin. 

We now started the mill again, and while the flanges and 
heads were much better, the splitting was worse than before, 
as the strong iron in the top and bottom would bear more 
heat than the puddled iron in the center of the rail. I again 
tried, with no success, to make a pig iron that would stand 
more heat, so as to prevent splitting, but having only one 
kind of ore little could be done. I then had the rolls taken 
to the roll lathe and the work on the roughing rolls reduced. 
The result was only a slight improvement, and I felt that I 
had done all that could be done under the existing conditions. 

I had now fully made up my mind that there was but one 
thing to do and that was to build practically a new mill, 
making it three-high. That would require a large amount 
of money, which was hard to get in those days. The only 
thing that could then be done was to start up and do the 
best we could. As before stated, the reduction of work on 
the roughing rolls helped slightly, and by careful heating 
we could get some work out. Consequently, we made what 
we called a final start. 

In the meantime, we had gotten up a heavy buggy which 


we used as a battering ram and when the pile did not split 
open too much we would use the buggy to force the piece 
into the rolls so as to save the time and labor of turning the 
piece end about, but there were many piles that in the first 
or second pass would split or that would get too cold to 
roll and had to go in the furnace again. All this caused 
much delay, and the amount of patching of flanges that 
had to be done made me seasick, but the greater the difh- 
culty the more determined I was to fight it out, as I could 
see in my bed at night, when I should have been asleep, 
visions of a three-high rail mill, but in the distance. Yet 
I had faith that it would come, and I was certain in my own 
mind that it would be a great success, and that Cambria 
was destined to be the greatest rail plant in the world. 
But the road that had to be trodden was long, hard, rough, 
and dreary, and besides was beset with great danger. But, 
to use a lawyer's phrase, the Cambria Company was my 
client, and no lawyer ever wojked harder for his client than 
I did for mine, both mentally and physically. I knew no 
hours day or night, except time to eat, and but little to 
sleep, and that irregularly. 

This was the time that my all-round practical experience, 
which I worked so hard for and made so many sacrifices to 
obtain, came into use, and, coupled with courage and a 
spirit that bears it company, I felt able to meet any con- 
tingency that might arise. I did not have long to wait for 
an opportunity to put my mental, physical, and courageous 
qualities all to test. The puddle-mill engine flywheel was 
thirty feet in diameter, with a fourteen-inch-square rim; 
the segments were held together by double-headed T-bolts, 
which had been put so close to the end of the segment that 
the metal pulled off and the tees and the end of a segment 
went across the mill. Fortunately, no one was hurt. 

The mill was stopped at once and made safe. The 


repairs were made as follows: ten inches from the end of 
each segment across the face of the wheel grooves were 
cut in each end of the segment, two and one-half inches in 
width and of the same depth. There being sixteen seg- 
ments in the wheel, this made thirty-two grooves. Iron 
bands, sixteen in number, made out of two and one-half 
by three inch best wrought iron, were then put in on edge. 
These bands, or rather links, had to be made in a common 
blacksmith's fire and without a steam hammer, as the 
steam hammer and also many other important tools were 
not in general use at that time. The grooves in the 
segments had all to be cut by hand. The grooves were 
first roughed out with a two-handed chisel and sledge 
and then finished with the hammer and chisel. This 
was a big job for that period, and I can assure you that 
I got but little sleep during the time this work was on hand. 
We double-turned the work, both in chipping the grooves 
and making the Unks, and not a single man shirked his duty, 
but each did all he could to get the job done. We had 
neither gas nor electricity and had to use the old coffee-pot 
tin oil lamps to give light. 

We got the mill all in operation again but in a short time 
the rail-mill flywheel, which was built in the same manner 
as the flywheel on the puddle-mill engine, was considered 
unsafe to run at a speed that was absolutely essential for 
rail making, consequently we had to stop and fix it. This 
was a big, tiresome, and expensive job, and besides it kept 
the rail mill standing and nothing coming in, which, under 
the circumstances, was a very serious matter. Finally, we 
got in operation again and were getting along, making rails 
about as well as it was possible to do, with the mill as it was, 
and with the smaller mishaps that were daily occurring. 
These were not serious when compared with what we had 
gone through, but were exceedingly annoying, keeping the 


mill idle so much of the time, when the company was 
seriously pressed for money, and making it impossible to 
run the plant with economy; but I kept my temper as near 
zero as possible, and remained hopeful. Anticipating all 
shortcomings as far as possible, and being ready for them 
when they did occur, was the only thing that could be done, 
and by constant vigilance in all minor details and by 
making betterments when possible, we made a marked 
improvement in time of running, increased the output in 
a greater ratio, greatly reduced the cost of rails per ton, 
and also improved the quality. 

In the midst of all my troubles, the company took a 
contract to make several thousand tons of rails with hollov/ 
heads. It was impossible to make them out of their own 
iron, and I told them so at once. In reply, Mr. D. J. Morrell, 
the business manager, told me that hollow-headed rails 
were at that time being made at Wheeling out of pig iron 
that was made at Johnstown of the same ore that Cambria 
was using. I said it was not possible and some one was 
not telling the truth, and that we would go down to Wheel- 
ing at once and see for ourselves what they were doing. 
We arrived at Wheeling in the evening. After supper, 
Mr. Morrell proposed to call and see the proprietor of the 
mill where the rails were being made. I said, " No, we will 
call at the works to-morrow morning at about daylight." 
This we did, and hunted up the roller and found him, and 
he and I at once recognized each other, as he had worked 
for me in the Norristown Iron Works. After a few casual 
remarks, I said to him, in the presence of Mr. Morrell, 
" How are you getting along with the hollow-headed rails?" 
He said they had been having terrible trouble with them in 
trying to make them out of Johnstown iron and found it 
utterly impossible. He said they then got some better 
pig iron, which gave fairly good results, and used but little 


of the Johnstown iron. I asked to see the puddle mill and 
stockyard and saw they were using about enough of Johns- 
town iron to say it was a part of the mixture. 

At about eight o'clock, I remember, Mr. Stephens, the 
President and owner of the Wheehng plant, and the in- 
ventor of the hollow-headed rail, came into the works and 
was evidently much surprised to see us there. I told him 
frankly what I had come for and that we had seen all we 
wanted, and that they were using but little of the Johns- 
town iron in their mixture. He said, " You are mistaken 
about that; you have been wrongly informed." I said, 
"No, we have seen the mixture in the furnaces and I know 
the Johnstown iron wherever I see it." 

We now returned home and I was feeling somewhat 
better, and told Mr. Morrell we must have some good iron to 
start with and find out what we could do, that I thought we 
could use considerable of our own make of pig iron and that 
he could rest assured we would use as much as possible of it. 

I learned from Mr. Morrell that he was responsible for 
making the contract for the rails, and he understood from 
Mr. Stephens that they were using the Johnstown iron to 
make the rails out of, but he was now satisfied, and I told 
him I would do the best I could. This seemed to be a 
great relief to him. When we got well under way in making 
the rails, we found we could use considerable of the Johns- 
town iron and got out of the trouble much better than we 
first thought. 

We had now gotten the mill generally in pretty good 
shape, and running about as well as could be expected, and 
making some money, when an event occurred which was 
very serious. Previous to the time that my employers, the 
lessees of the mill, took the property, as I remember, Mr. 
Simeon Draper, a banker of New York, had advanced 
money for a certain railroad company to the original 


Cambria Iron Company, for rails to be made for them as 
soon as the mill was completed, and had taken a mortgage 
on the property to secure the loan. The original company 
having failed to complete the plant, the railroad company 
held the lessees liable for the fulfillment of the rail contract; 
and here appeared the United States Marshal, looking as 
gentle as a preacher, but we soon found him as firm as a 
judge. Next came the sheriffs of the adjoining three coun- 
ties, where the Cambria Iron Company held property, then 
came the constable with orders to attach anything that was 
movable, from a goat to a locomotive. We were now up 
against the real thing, — want of money, — and to make 
rails for the company on their contract without money 
was simply impossible, and we so told them. 

It was a gloomy day for Cambria. The workmen were 
restless and threatened to quit work, which I thought would 
help me in a proposition I had in mind to make. In com- 
pany with the United States Marshal, there was a gentleman 
whose name I think was Mitchell. He proved to be a very 
clever man, and was to remain there to look after the 
interest of the railroad company, while their rails were 
being made. I said to him, " There is, so far as I can see, 
but one way that you can get your rails. The men are 
dissatisfied and may quit work at any moment, and as soon 
as we commence work on your rails, unless there is some 
provision made that will insure their pay, they will quit 
work, and I understand there are judgments against this 
property that can be foreclosed at any time. In that event 
you will never get a rail or one dollar of your money. If 
your company will let us roll some rails not merely for you, 
but for other people, so as to obtain enough money to pay 
the laborers, I think you will eventually get all your rails, 
and I will promise you to do all I can to help you get them." 
The proposition was finally accepted. 


When we came to start making rails the workmen de- 
manded that the rails be delivered to some person author- 
ized to receive them and be held by him until they were 
paid. The company appointed their business manager, 
but the men would not accept him, and asked that I should 
be appointed; their request was granted. I was also made 
the agent for the railroad company, and every evening after 
the day's work was finished I received the rails, first to 
secure the pay of the men, and secondly, in the name of the 
railroad company to see that it got them. This plan 
seemed to work well and was satisfactory to all parties, 
and the sky seemed clearer and brighter for the success of 
the works than I had ever seen it. But at all times it was 
on the verge of bankruptcy, and the lessee company, tired 
of being harassed, not only by its own debts, but also by 
the obHgations of the parent company, concluded it must 
in some way secure more capital. This at that time was 
no easy matter, especially when the concern was in such a 
compHcated financial position as Cambria then was. 

The mill was shut down, and I was ordered to Philadel- 
phia to in a way become a promotor, a new business for 
me, and I had to do some talking to make some of the party 
I met believe that there could be any money made out of 
the works. But I assured them the Cambria Works could 
be made a great money-making plant if put in proper shape. 
All this time the three-high mill was uppermost in my mind, 
but I did not say a word about it, fearing it might provoke 
discussion ; this I did not want at this time, as several of the 
party were in rather a passive frame of mind and I thought 
it wise to let them remain so, as it would have proved fatal 
to my long-cherished idea to have the subject brought up in 
any way until after the matter now in hand had been 
settled. I was sure there would be opposition, and my 
chance for success would be much better then, as I believed 


the opposition would be in the minority but could not well 
back out. For several days but little was done beyond 
some small skirmishes about the propriety of putting more 
money into a manufacturing business that had made two 
failures in two years. This seemed to be the knock- 
down argument, and the fact could not be ignored. 

During this time I fortunately made the acquaintance of 
Mr. Edward Y. Townsend and soon gained his confidence. 
He was connected with the mercantile house of Wood, 
Bacon & Company, one of Philadelphia's best-known 
houses. This gave him a standing with capitalists, the men 
that were wanted. His firm looked upon the project with 
favor, wliich was encouraging. Then came up the question 
as to the amount of money that would be wanted. Here 
I was again placed in a vexatious predicament, being called 
on to name the amount required for the mill, well knowing 
that, if the three-high mill and other all-important improve- 
ments that really should be made were named, it would 
surely defeat the whole scheme. I concluded to make the 
amount as small as possible. Some of the party were 
inclined to think well of the property. 

We met at Mr. Charles Wood's office to talk over some 
plan of organization, and see what amount of money could 
be raised and how it could be done. They had previously 
decided it would require about one hundred and eighty 
thousand dollars, that this amount should be divided into 
six shares of thirty thousand dollars, that each share should 
have one representative only, but without limit as to the 
number of persons that it might take to make up each share, 
and that the name of the firm should be Wood, Morrell & 
Company. This was a wise arrangement and probably at 
that time the only way the project could be accomph'shed. 

The six representatives of the shares, who were all the 
stockholders that were known to outsiders, were the busi- 


ness managers. As I recollect they were Mr. Charles Wood, 
Mr. David Reeves, Mr. Matthew Newkirk, Mr. Edward Y. 
Townsend, Mr. Daniel J. Morrell, and Mr. George Trotter. 
All of them were successful business men and men of high 
standing and character. 

They next went to work to get all the shares fully made 
up, and in a few days succeeded. We thought everything 
was completed and that I could soon take the good news 
with me to Johnstown, and I was planning to go the next 
day, but we were mistaken. An unexpected trouble about 
the lease turned up, and for several days the atmosphere 
was gloomy and it seemed as if all our labor had been for 
naught. This condition of affairs existed for several days, 
but on the last day of grace in which they had to make the 
lease, they got all the six holders of the six shares together 
and at about nine or ten o'clock at night they agreed to 
sign the lease, but Mr. R. D. Wood, who was largely in- 
terested, despairing of their agreeing to sign it, had pre- 
viously gone home and gone to bed, and so the others had 
to go to his house, where all were in bed, call them up, and 
get Mr. Wood out of bed to approve the lease before twelve 
o'clock. Otherwise, as I now remember, the property 
would have been sold the next day by the sheriff. 

This was a close call and to me was a period of intense 
anxiety, not so much on my own behalf, as in the interest 
and welfare of some three or four thousand men whose 
existence and that of their families depended upon their 
daily labor; and for all this time, nearly two weeks, they 
had been idle. How those men with large families managed 
to get along is more than I can tell, but they were sympa- 
thetic, generous, and would share the last bite with each 

The next morning I started for Johnstown as the bearer 
of glad tidings. The morning after my return, I met the 


workmen and told them what had taken place (all of which 
they received joyfully), and further said, by way of en- 
couragement, that I did not see what could happen that 
would prevent the works from starting and running steadily, 
but I must confess that in the face of so many setbacks I 
at times had some misgivings, fearing something unforeseen 
might turn up. However, I told the men to get their 
furnaces ready to start up and said, " We must all work 
together and do our best to make it go. If we do this, 
success is assured." I was ordered to start the mill, and 
the workmen and the citizens of the town were all happy. 
All that could be seen from the Johnstown end was of good 

But after I had left Philadelphia for home a very great 
difference of opinion had shown itself in the new company 
in regard to the appointment of the officials in Johnstown. 
This resulted in the appointing of two General Managers, 
one General Superintendent, and one Assistant Superin- 
tendent. The last-named official was not needed. Mr. 
D. J. Morrell was made General Manager to succeed 
Mr. James, then the General Manager, and Mr. Wyatt 
Miller was supposed to be assistant to the Superintendent, 
but was not so named. I was again placed in a very 
embarrassing position. Mr. James, having been the Gen- 
eral Manager of the previous company, and having been 
requested by the minority stockholders to remain, had no 
disposition to resign. The result was that for some weeks 
we had two General Managers. Mr. James was a very 
clever man, to whom I had become much attached, and he 
was a brother-in-law of Mr. Da\dd Reeves, who was a good 
friend of mine. I had been in Mr. Reeves' employ for some 
years, and was sent to Cambria by him, and his uniform 
kindness placed me under obligations to him, but the 
majority of the firm were in favor of Mr, Morrell. Con- 


sequently, I decided my course should be absolutely neutral. 
The majority party did all they could to get me to side with 
them, but I positively refused to do so; in an unguarded 
moment, however, I said there was no use for two General 
Managers or an Assistant Superintendent. This was true, 
but it was not said to be used by them to get Mr. James or 
Mr. Miller out. This they did, however, much to my sur- 
prise and chagrin. They put them both out, and it natu- 
rally caused a coldness on Mr. Reeves' part toward me, 
which I greatly regretted, and it was some time before I got 
an opportunity to explain the matter to him. Mr. D. J. 
Morrell now became the sole General Manager. He was 
a very clever gentleman, but knew nothing about the iron 
business, which, to say the least, was unfortunate. Mr. 
Charles Wood was made the head of the firm and Mr. 
Edward Y. Townsend his assistant. 


After the new organization was completed and the 
officials got well in their places and all was working smoothly 
so far as they were concerned, the change in the official 
organization of the company did not remove or lessen the 
troubles in the manufacturing department, or increase the 
output, both of which items were absolutely essential to 
insure success. To continue to run the mill as it was, I 
could see nothing ahead but a most disastrous failure. Hav- 
ing previously given the whole subject my most thought- 
ful consideration, even to its most minute detail, I was 
prepared to submit my plans and recommendations to the 
new company. My proposal was to build a new train of 
rolls, three high, and twenty inches in diameter. This 
involved a new engine that would run with safety one 
hundred revolutions per minute, and it practically meant an 
entirely new mill. To this proposition they demurred, say- 
ing that it could not be done, as the expense was too great; 
besides, the mill they had was entirely new and was supposed 
to be the best mill in the country, and they were at loss to 
see why good rails could not be made on it. After some 
time and a great amount of earnest talk, I succeeded in 
convincing some of the representative stockholders that it 
was absolutely necessary to make some changes and im- 
provements, and that, if my suggestions were adopted, 
success was sure. 

At the next meeting the subject was taken up with a full 
board, and, as I was informed afterwards, the matter was 



fully discussed, and it was decided to build an eighteen- 
inch two-high train, geared, to replace the train we had, 
and I was ordered to go ahead at once with it. This was 
to me a very severe setback, as I supposed I had Mr. 
Townsend converted to the three-high direct-driven mill. 
To this order I replied most emphatically that I would not 
build the geared mill, as it would be money thrown away 
and time lost. In reply to my refusal to build the mill as 
ordered, they said my position was high-handed and most 
arbitrary and one I had no right to assume, as I was in their 
employ on a salary for the purpose of managing their works 
and had no right to dictate to them what they should do. 
I in a measure assented to this, at the same time telling 
them that if they persisted in running their works on the 
lines they had laid down for me, there would be a humiliat- 
ing funeral, and I did not want to remain to attend it, 
especially as one of the mourners. In a few days after 
receiving my reply, they gave me permission to build the 
mill as I wanted it, but suggested that I make the roll 
eighteen inches in diameter instead of twenty. I consented, 
as a compromise, — a great mistake, — and commenced at 
once to build the miU, and make other important im- 

About the time the patterns for the new train and also for 
the engine were completed, a protest was received at the 
works in the form of a legal document from the minority 
partners notifying the managing directors that they would 
hold them personally responsible for the building of the new 
mill. This was a most unexpected setback, and all the 
work on the new mill was suspended for a time, and the 
directors made another effort to get me to change my plans 
and build the old two-high geared mill, which the company 
had previously so earnestly urged me to do. I told them I 
was tired out trying to make rails on the old mill. They 


suggested that I could make a better mill two-high that 
would give less trouble, and consequently do more work. 
I admitted that it could be done, but the advantage to be 
gained would not warrant the expenditure, and the only 
thing that could possibly be done to make the enterprise 
a success was to build the three-high mill. 

The next Sunday morning Mr. Townsend came to the 
mill, where he found me in the midst of the regular Sunday 
repairs. After I was pretty well through with them he 
took me aside and showed me the protest. My hands being 
greasy, I asked him to read it to me, which he did. After 
all these years have passed, there is no person other than 
myself who can fully appreciate the trying position the 
managers were placed in. On the one hand, I was urging 
them to build a mill, on an untried plan, as a strong minority 
called it, this minority also legally notifying the managers 
that they would hold them personally responsible for the 
result. On the other hand, I was absolutely refusing to 
build the mill they wanted, and besides all this, they ridi- 
culed the idea of adopting a new and untried method that 
was against all practice in this and the old country, from 
which at that time we obtained our most experienced iron 
workers. Moreover, the prominent iron makers in all parts 
of the country had said to Mr. Morrell that the whole thing 
was a wild experiment and was sure to end in a failure, and 
that young, determined, cracked-brained Fritz would ruin 
him. The heaters and rollers all opposed the three-high 
mill and appointed a committee to see the managers and 
say to them that the three-high mill would never work, and 
that they, themselves, would suffer by reason of its adoption, 
but that if the managers would put in a two-high geared 
train, which they said was the proper thing to do, the mill 
would go all right. 

As I now look back to that eventful Sunday morning, 


many long years ago, sitting on a pile of discarded rails, 
with evidences of failure on every side, Mr. Townsend and 
myself quietly and seriously talking over the history of the 
past, the difficulties of the present, and the uncertainties 
of the future, I cannot but feel, in view of what since has 
come to pass, that it was not only a critical epoch in the 
history of the Cambria Company, but that as well the 
future well-being of my Hfe was in the balance. For, as 
Mr. Townsend was about to leave, after a full discussion 
of the Cambria Iron Company's condition at that time, he 
turned to me and said: " Fritz, go ahead and build the mill 
as you want it." I asked, " Do you say that officially?" 
to which he replied: " I will make it official," and he did so; 
and here I wish to say that to no other person so deservedly 
belongs the credit, not only of the introduction of the three- 
high-roll train but also of the wonderful prosperity that came 
to the Cambria Company, as it does to Mr. Edward Y. 
Townsend, then its Vice-President. 

Notwithstanding I now had the consent of the com- 
pany to go on with my plan for the new mill, many of my 
warmest friends, some of whom were practical ironmen, 
came to me and urged me not to try such an experiment. 
They said I had taken a wrong position in refusing to build 
the kind of mill the company wanted. " By so doing," 
they said, " you have assumed the entire responsibility, 
and in all probability the mill that you are going to build 
will prove a failure, and being a young man your reputation 
will be ruined for life." To this I replied that possibly they 
were right, but that I had given the subject the most careful 
consideration and was willing to take my chances on the 

The work was now pushed as fast as possible. In the 
construction of the rail train I made a radical departure 
from the old practice, which was to place breaking pieces 


at dangerous points in the train; these pieces were expected 
to give way under certain strains so as to save the roll from 
breaking. One of the previous methods was to make the 
coupling boxes and spindles light, so that they would break 
when any extra strain came on them; and the leading 
spindle had a groove cut around it to weaken it, so that it 
would be sure to break before the rolls. The result was 
the constant breaking of some of these safety devices. In 
addition to all these devices, there was what was called a 
special breaking box on top of the rolls which held the rolls 
in place. This was made hollow so as to crush if the strain 
on the rolls became too great. I directed the pattern 
maker to make this box solid. The mill manager, seeing 
the pattern was solid, went to the pattern maker to have it 
changed and made hollow, as he supposed it had been made 
solid through a mistake. The pattern maker refused to 
alter the pattern, saying the old man (as they called me 
over fifty years ago) had ordered it to be made that way. 
" Well," said the manager, " the old man has gone crazy; 
and if that box is put in as it is, the mill will be smashed to 
pieces, and I am going to see him about it." This he did, 
and I told him the box was going in solid, as I would rather 
have a grand old smash-up once in a while than be constantly 
annoyed by the breaking of leading spindles, coupKngs, 
and breaking boxes, to which he replied: " By God, you'll 
get it." 

When it became known that I had abandoned all safety 
devices another violent storm arose, and it was of such a 
character as to much annoy Mr. Morrell. He was a very 
clever gentleman, without experience in the manufacturing 
end of the business, and, being known as the General Mana- 
ger of the plant, he was naturally worried. This, of course, 
gave me much trouble, to keep him in hne, as every person 
he would meet that knew anything about the business would 


tell him of the great failure that was in store for the Cambria 
Iron Works. Some one told Mr. Wood, the President of 
the company, all about what was going to take place when 
the mill was started. I was told afterwards that he listened 
attentively to what they had to say, and then said to them : 
" Mr. Fritz has done many clever things for us that were 
said would never work, but always did, and I shall not 
interfere with him or his plans." 

The next and last person to talk to me on the subject was 
Mr. James Hooven, proprietor of the Norristown Iron 
Works, one of my dearest friends, with whom I had spent 
several of the happiest years of my life. He came to pay 
me a visit and to learn for himself what I was doing. He 
remained with me for several days and we talked the whole 
subject over, and, like the rest of my friends, he thought I 
was assuming an unwarrantable risk. " If this is a failure," 
he said, " your reputation is ruined for life. Have you 
thought this over?" I told him, " I have, and it is my 
rule not to make a move in any new thing until I have 
thought it over, not only as a whole, but also in all of its 
details, and I assure you this is no exception, and I now feel 
that success is assured." While he was with me I took 
him into the mill so that he could better understand why 
the change was so important. He at once saw that great 
results could be gained if the plan could be successfully 
carried out, but he could not see his way clear to indorse it, 
and thought I had attempted to do too much, all at one 
time, and thought it very dangerous to do away with ail 
safety devices, as they at times might prevent serious 
accidents. To this I replied that the only possible good 
such safety devices could do was the saving of a roll, and 
that it was very rarely that any roll was broken, except the 
finishing roll ; if the collars were as deep and fitted as closely 
as they should do to insure good work, and the safety 


device, or breaking box, as it was generally called, should 
crush, one end of the roll would go up and it was more than 
likely that some of the collars would be broken and the roll 
rendered useless. The loss by delay, caused by the break- 
age of the safety devices, was not only annoying, but 
was expensive. The train had to stop; all hands in that 
end of the mill were idle, heating furnaces damped up, coal 
and iron wasted in the furnaces. Add to this the loss in 
production and it became a matter of much importance, 
not only to the proprietors, but also to the workmen. 

The train was now practically completed, with all break- 
ing devices abandoned. The old mill was stopped on the 
evening of the 3rd of July, 1857, and after the 4th I com- 
menced to tear the old mill out, and get ready to put 
the new one in, and also to put the new engine in place at 
the same time. Everything in the rail department was 
remodeled and the floor line raised two feet. On the 29th 
of the same month everything was completed and the mill 
was ready to start. I need not tell you that it was an 
extremely anxious time for me, nor need I add that no 
engraved cards of invitation were sent out, that not being 
the custom in the early days of iron making; had it been, it 
would not have been observed on that occasion. 

As the heaters to a man were opposed to the new kind 
of mill, we did not want them about at the start. We 
secured one, however, out of the lot, who was the most 
reasonable one amongst them, to heat the piles for us. We 
had kept the furnace smoking for several days as a blind. 
At last, everything being ready, we charged six piles. At 
about ten o'clock in the morning the first pile was drawn, 
and it went through the rolls without the least hitch of any 
kind, making a perfect rail. You can judge what my 
feelings were as I looked upon that perfect and first rail 
ever made on a three-high mill, and you may know in part 


how grateful I felt toward the few faithful and anxious men 
who were about me and who stood by me during all my 
trials and difficulties, among whom were Alexander Hamil- 
ton, the Superintendent of the mill, Thomas Lapsley, who 
had charge of the rail department, William Canam, and my 
brother, George. 

We next proceeded to roll the other five piles. When 
two more perfect rails were rolled we were obliged to stop 
the engine, as the men were all so intently watching the 
rolls that the engine had been neglected, and, being new, 
the eccentric had heated and bent the eccentric rod so that 
the engine could no longer be worked. As it would have 
taken some time to straighten the rod and reset the valves, 
the remaining piles were drawn out of the furnace onto the 
mill floor. About this time the heaters, hearing the exhaust 
of the engine, came into the mill in a body, and from the 
opposite end to where the rails were. Seeing the unrolled 
piles lying on the mill floor, they took it for granted that 
the new train was a failure, and their remarks about it were 
far from being in the least complimentary. Mr. Hamilton, 
coming along about that time and hearing what they were 
saying about the mill, turned around, and in language more 
forcible than poHte told the heaters, who were Welsh, that 
if they would go down to the other end of the mill they 
would see three handsomer rails than had ever been made 
in Wales, where the greater part of the rails used in this 
country at that time came from, as well as the heaters who 
were so bitterly opposed to the three-high mill. 


CAMBRIA. — Continued : 

The next day being Friday, the regular day turn was 
put on in the morning, and in the evening the regular night 
turn was put to work, and all went well up to Saturday 
noon. It was the custom to stop rolhng at about twelve 
o'clock on Saturday. Mr. Hamilton and I left the mill at 
about six o'clock, and on our way home we congratulated 
each other that our long line of troubles and disappoint- 
ments was now over, and that we should have more time 
to give to changes and improvements that were so essential 
in other departments of the works. 

About an hour later I heard the fire-alarm whistle blow, 
and, rushing back to the mill, I found it one mass of flames 
from one end to the other, and saw at once that it was ab- 
solutely useless to attempt to save any part of the mill or 
anything in it. The shops were all close to the mill build- 
ing, the end of the machine shop being within twenty-five 
feet of the end of the mill. It being of the utmost im- 
portance to save the shops, all our energy was centered on 
them, but all hands seemed paralyzed for a time, thinking 
it useless to attempt to save the shops, as all of them were 
frame, with wood shingles for roofs, and all of them — 
pattern shop, foundry, and machine shop — were regular 
fire traps and all huddled together. It looked useless to 
try to save them. The company had a large boarding 
house near by. I ordered some of our best men to go there 
and get all the carpets and blankets they could find and take 



men enough to have them all brought up at once. I 
directed another party to get the ladders, fire hose, buckets, 
ropes, and hooks. As soon as the blankets and carpets 
came, the blankets were wet and the best men wrapped 
themselves in them, and ladders were gotten ready. For- 
tunately the roof on the end of the shop next to the mill 
was low and quite flat, so the men could walk on it readily. 
In a few minutes the roof was covered with carpets and 
blankets and two streams of water were playing on them. 
By the time the men got down off the roof the steam was 
rising off the carpets and it was so hot that we were fearful 
that the shop would share the fate of the mill. The crucial 
time would be when the mill building fell, and it was im- 
portant which way it fell. If it fell in, the shops would be 
safe; if out, then another hard fight was before us. The 
next few moments were of intense strain and excitement. 
But, if the walls fell out, we were prepared, as we had hooks, 
chains, and ropes ready, to pull the falling and unbumed 
timbers away. I had instructed the foreman in each de- 
partment to have his men all organized, and go to the 
foundry, get all the chains there were there, and ropes, 
hooks, etc., so that they could fasten to the charred and un- 
bumed timbers and pull them away from the engines and 
all important machines. I directed all to be at their places 
the moment the building fell, free the machinery from heat 
as quickly as possible, and see there was no water put on 
the machinery. Fortunately our suspense was of short 
duration. In less than one hour from the time the fire 
started, the whole building was lying on the ground, a mass 
of ruin. When the building fell, it all fell inward, to our 
great relief. 

The situation of Cambria affairs on that Saturday night 
was such as might appall the bravest heart. The result 
of our unremitting labors and anxieties lay there, a mass 


of black and smoking ruins, and the money that had been 
so hard to get, with which the new mill was built, was gone. 
The prospect was gloomy, but there was a gleam of light 
amid all the darkness, and that the pile of new and perfect 
rails which Mr. Hamilton had said had never been beaten 
by Wales, from which country most of the rails used at 
that time came. Above all, the mill had been tried and 
was a most magnificent success, and it was these two facts 
that cheered us up and renewed our courage with a deter- 
mination to rebuild the mill. 

The following day, Sunday, was devoted to rest and 
thinking over the situation; at any rate, it was not spent 
in the mill. During Sunday the workmen met and agreed 
to give the company one day's work on Monday, to help 
clear the rubbish away. I told them all to be cheerful and 
said that the works would surely be rebuilt and as quickly 
as possible. They aU, to a man, went to work, and I never 
saw a set of men work harder. By Monday night the mill 
was clear of all rubbish and on Tuesday morning we com- 
menced to get in shape to start up again. 

On Monday morning we sent a number of axemen to cut 
poles or timbers, say about twenty feet long and eight or 
ten inches in diameter at the butt or large end, and we also 
sent teams to haul the logs into the works. On Tuesday 
morning, carpenters went to work to frame them together, 
and the men raised them and braced them in place to carry 
the steam pipe and feed-water pipe for the boilers. The 
larger and upper pipe was the steam pipe, about ten inches 
in diameter; the smaller and lower was the feed pipe for the 
boilers, four inches in diameter. The trestles were placed 
about twenty feet apart the whole length of the mill, — six 
himdred feet, — and were erected the same way in the 
transepts, which were two hundred feet long each, making 
the total length of ten-inch steam pipe about one thousand 


feet, and the same length of four-inch water pipe, all of cast 
iron, and cross pipe leading from the main steam and water 
pipes to the boilers, made of four-inch wrought iron and 
copper. The old cast-iron steam and water pipes were 
almost totally destroyed. Where the pipes were not broken 
in two, the branches on them for the boiler connections were 
broken, and the cross steam and water pipes, which were 
made of wrought iron with copper turns for expansion, 
were so bent and twisted that many of them could not be 
used. Shafting, pulleys, and all light machinery were badly 
injured. The engines were all more or less damaged. The 
roll bearings, being soft metal, were generally melted out, 
and the rolls all had to be taken out and new metal put in. 

The outlook was most discouraging. The mill workmen 
were in sore distress, having been told by some persons that 
it would take a year at least to get the mill ready to run 
again. They came to me to know what they should do, as 
they could not live without work until the mill would start 
up again. I at once assured them that we would make rails 
inside of thirty days, and that we would give them all the 
laboring work we could during that time. This cheered 
them up very much. In twenty-eight days from the time 
of the fire we were running the mill on full time, but 
without a building; we put up a temporary frame to carry 
the hooks, and the workmen were covered temporarily mXh 
boards throughout the mill. 

The building that had just burned down was of wood, 
and I suggested that we rebuild with brick. This was 
vehemently opposed by some of the stockholders, but, there 
being a brickyard with good clay at the door of the mill, 
I at once made a contract with the men who had charge 
of the yard for all the brick that it would take to put up 
the building at $2.62^ per thousand. The building, whose 
total length, including transepts, was over one thousand 


feet and width one hundred feet, was put up and ventilator 
completed and under roof with slate by January i, 1858. 
At that time it was the finest rolling-mill building in the 
world, and I think it was the best building ever put up in 
this country at the same cost. It was put up and roofed 
while every man was at work and the mill working up to its 
full capacity, and not a single person hurt. This was 
something that I was always proud of, but I never left the 
building while the trusses were being put in place. They 
could not be put together on the ground and raised as a 
body on account of the pipes and machinery and the hot 
iron that was constantly in motion on the mill floor; conse- 
quently they had to be put together in place over the heads 
of the workmen, while they were all at work. This was 
a most difi&cult task, requiring extreme care ; consequently 
I was on the building while every member of every truss 
was being raised and put in place. This was the most 
trying ordeal that I ever had, not that there was any serious 
practical difficulty in doing the work in the manner we were 
doing it, but it was the danger that the men both above and 
below were constantly exposed to that rendered it so haz- 
ardous. The falling of a member of the truss, or a bolt, nut, 
wrench, or tool of any kind, striking a man on the head, 
would cause instant death, and no person but myself knew 
what a load was off my mind when the last truss was in place 
and I came down off the building for the last time, late in 
December, 1857, and could say that the building was 
practically completed and not a single person had in any 
way been hurt, so as to disable him even temporarily. 
This was a source of gratification that well rewarded me 
for the intense anxiety I had been laboring under from the 
commencement to the finish of the erection of the building. 
During all the time we were erecting the new building, 
the mill was working nicely and doing good work, which. 


under the circumstances, was also a source of untold 

Previous to starting the three-high mill we had com- 
menced to increase the output of puddled iron, as the new 
mill was capable of doing over four times the amount of 
work the old one could do. It was most important to take 
up this end of the work, which had, in a measure, been 
necessarily neglected. The puddling furnaces were origi- 
nally all single, but we had already changed some of them to 
double. We now put on all the force we could and changed 
all the furnaces to double and built some new ones. This 
greatly increased the output. In order to roll the increased 
quantity of puddled iron, we had to build a new top and 
bottom mill, and at the end of the same we put in a set of 
rolls for flattening old rails so as to pile them in with the 
puddled iron in the rail pile. Up to this time the tops and 
bottoms for the rail pile had been rolled on the puddle 
train. By removing the rolls to the new train we had place 
for another set of puddle rolls. We also had to put in 
a Burden squeezer, as the Winslow squeezer originally 
installed could not take care of the increased quantity 
of puddled iron that was being made. 

Up to this time, in order to make smooth heads and 
flanges, we were compelled to use two pieces of top and 
bottom with head on flange, an expensive method of 
manufacture. This led to the building of a sixteen-inch 
train to roll bars one and a half inches wide by five-eighths 
of an inch in thickness. In the middle of the pile next to 
top and bottom was placed a puddled bar five inches in 
width and five-eighths of an inch thick; on each side of this 
was placed a piece one and one-half inches wide by five- 
eighths of an inch thick. These bars were generally rolled 
out of old rails, thereby saving a large amount of reworked 
iron, and on the same sixteen-inch train was rolled all the 


bar iron that was used about the works. We also built two 
heating furnaces for this mill. From the first, the plant 
was short of steam. The boilers were plain cylinder, under- 
fired, but as fast as the puddling and heating furnaces were 
changed and new ones built, boilers were put over them. 
At length we had all the steam that was wanted. The 
puddling furnaces, Burden squeezer, and puddle rolls, the 
top and bottom furnaces, and rolls were all working well, 
also the heating furnaces for the rail mill, and the new three- 
high rail mill worked most magnificently. All this made a 
better and more perfect rail and made cold-patching a thing 
of the past. We put in new hot beds and curving plates, 
substituted the straightening machine for the sixty-pound 
old-time sledge, greatly improved the punching machines, 
and by the introduction of the driven rollers on the rolls 
the mill could turn out four times as much work as could 
possibly have been done on the old mill and with less than 
half the labor and no wear and tear of muscle. 

Having gotten all the furnaces of both kinds and all the 
rolls and machinery in the mill in good shape, we next took 
hold of the handling of the puddled and top and bottom iron 
to see what improvements could be made in that line. Up 
to that time the puddled and top and bottom iron, especially 
the puddled bar, had been dragged from the rolls, out on 
the bank, as it was called, and when cold taken to the cold 
shears, cut to length, and taken on a wheelbarrow to the 
heating furnaces and there piled. This made it impossible 
to keep the space about the furnaces clean and tidy, and 
the place was at all times cluttered up with puddled and top 
and bottom iron of various lengths which could not be used 
in the pile. To remedy this, we placed a pair of shears in 
front of each set of rolls, both puddled and top and bottom, 
and in an iron fratne of proper length we placed rollers 
opposite to each shear. As the iron came from the rolls it 


was fed into the shears and cut to proper length for the 
piles. The iron was neatly laid at the shears, a two-horned 
buggy was put under it, and the bars were taken to the bed 
and let cool ; then the same kind of buggy was used to take 
it to a place arranged for piling it. The iron was not 
touched by hand from the time the pig iron was charged 
into the puddling furnace until it came to the piler. This 
arrangement greatly lessened the cost and made the work 
much lighter for the men. We put rail tracks from the 
place of piling to each heating furnace and had cars made 
that would hold one heat of piles, and the iron was piled 
on the car and taken to the furnace as wanted. This ar- 
rangement worked admirably, and the mill looked like a 
parlor as compared with the other rolling mills of that day. 
In regard to the blast furnaces, they were old-fashioned, 
and short of blast and water. We did not have sufl&cient 
water on the coke yard to properly extinguish the fire in the 
coke as it was drawn from the oven. The first and most 
important thing was more blowing capacity. As the fur- 
naces were located on an abrupt rise in the ground, it made 
it very expensive to get a place for more blowing engines on 
account of the excavation that would have to be made to 
receive them, and, having already used so much money in 
making improvements in the mill department, I did not 
want to spend any money on the blast furnaces that was 
not absolutely essential. In carefully looking over the 
blowing-engine room, I concluded that I could design a 
short-stroke quick-running ^upright engine that would give 
all the blast needed, and would go in, one in each corner in 
the rear of the present engines, and save a great amount 
of expense. The engines were built by Matthews & Moore, 
of the Bush Hill Iron Works, Philadelphia, and they worked 
quite satisfactorily. While this engine was designed for a 
special plant and purpose, the design was adopted and used 


for a long time in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. We 
also put in a new pump to get more water for the tuyeres. 
As water was very hard to get, we had to collect the tuyere 
water and pump it up to the coke ovens, to be used in putting 
the fire out of the coke as it was drawn out of the ovens. 
After these improvements were put in things went along 
much more comfortably about the furnaces and coke ovens 
than they had been doing for some time previous. 



It was in 1854 that I went to Johnstown. Previous to 
this but little had been done west of the mountains in 
making iron in the blast furnace with mineral coal. I 
think there was not a blast furnace in Pittsburg at that 
time. Mr. Benjamin Perry, who was referred to in Chap- 
ter XII, as having been at Kunzie Furnace, and who prob- 
ably ranked next to Father Thomas as a pioneer in the 
anthracite region, had charge of the Cambria furnaces 
when I went there, but they were not in blast. He was an 
unlearned man, was said by almost every person there to 
be very troublesome and one I would have to get rid of if 
I wished to keep peace in the family. I told everyone I 
came there to manage the Cambria Works and not to send 
men away if they did their duty. I found Mr. Perry to be 
a good furnace man, but Uke many other uneducated men 
he wanted to be handled without his knowing it. This I 
did most successfully, and he remained in charge of the 
furnaces over two years, and left of his own accord to take 
another position where he thought he could do better, and 
I was sorry to see him go away. He was a man, unfortu- 
nately for himself, who would not brook contradiction. 
Mr. John Griffin, one of the best-learned iron men of that 
day, was once on a friendly visit to see me, and having 
heard much of Mr. Perry wished to meet him. Conse- 
quently I invited Mr. Perry to my house in the evening. 
Soon after being introduced they began talking on the 
subject of iron making. Mr. Griffin asked him about the 



coal we were using for making coke, to which Mr. Perry 
replied that it was bad, being full of brass. Mr. Grifl&n 
said, " Mr. Perry, you mean iron pyrites." " Well," said 
Mr. Perry, " you may call it what you damned please, but 
I tell you it is brass," and the manner in which he spoke 
was so emphatic that Mr. GrifEn wisely concluded not to 
pursue that branch of the subject any further. Yet Mr. 
Perry was one of the best practical furnace men that I 
knew at that time. 

After all that has been said of the conditions of the 
Cambria Iron Company when I went there and what I 
went through, I feel that I have come far short of showing 
the real condition of affairs as they then existed. The 
works were divided into a number of small principalities, 
each of them being governed by a despotic foreman who 
would neither go out of his kingdom to do any work nor let 
anyone else come in. I soon found out that arrangement 
would not do, but I thought it best to bide my time until 
a good opportunity should occur to correct the evil. One 
day, soon after the blast furnaces were put in blast, the 
iron broke out. The day was hot and the men soon gave 
out, and Mr. Perry sent word to me of what had happened, 
asking for some extra help. There being trouble in the 
mill, I could not well get away at once, so I sent word to the 
coke-yard foreman to send Mr. Perry some help, and said 
I would be up as soon as I could get the trouble in the mill 
all straightened out. 

In the course of an hour I went up to the furnaces and 
found Mr. Perry and his men aU quite used up, and saw that 
no extra help had come to his aid. I asked Mr. Perry if 
he had sent my message as directed to the foreman of the 
coke yard. He replied that he had done so. I then sent 
word direct to the foreman that I wanted to see him at the 
furnace at once, to which he promptly responded in person. 


I asked him why he had not sent the help to Mr. Perry as 
I had requested him to do. He at once said that his busi- 
ness was to look after the laborers on the coke yard, and he 
did not intend to do anything else, and that he was em- 
ployed by the President of the company and not by me. 
In reply I said to him that from that time on I intended to 
manage the works and not the President. He then said, 
" You can have my resignation at once." I replied, " What 
I want you to do is to send Mr. Perry at once half a dozen 
good men, and to think over the subject of your resignation 
until to-morrow morning, and then come and see me." 
When he came the next day I said to him, " You seemed a 
bit hasty yesterday, but now you seem to be in a good 
humor, and I want to have a talk with you, which I hope 
will answer for all the foremen around the works. It was 
true what you said yesterday. You were hired by the 
President, but I want you and all the foremen about the 
works to know that I was sent here to manage these works, 
and from this time on I intend to do it. And I further wish 
to say to you and to all the persons in the employ of the 
company whose services are needed that you will be re- 
tained as long as you do your duty to the company, and 
that while I fully expect the foremen to faithfully discharge 
the duty assigned to each of them, I want you to assist each 
other when in trouble, as far as possible, without detriment 
to^your assigned duties ; and I want you to bear in mind that 
you are all in the employ of the Cambria Iron Company, 
and it is your bounden duty to look to its best interests." 
After this talk the gentleman withdrew his resignation and 
apologized for what he had done the day before. From 
this time forward there was no further trouble, and no set 
of men could have worked more faithfully for the best 
interest of the company than they did, and it was a source 
of much consolation to me when in trouble to know that 


all the foremen were loyal and working in harmony with 
each other. 

The mechanics I had to rely on to do the work in the shop 
and mill had never before done any mill work, and but few 
of them had ever been inside of a rolling mill, and for a time 
I had an uphill business. Fortunately I had had a severe 
schooling in that line and was able at all times to properly 
direct the beginners. As they were desirous to learn and 
energetic, they soon proved themselves equal to the emer- 
gency, and by the time we had the new mill in operation 
and the whole mill in good shape, the Cambria Works had 
the best set of men about them in the country. In proof 
of this I can point with pride to the niunber of men that 
have gained prominent positions in other works. The 
training they received at Cambria was such as to well 
qualify them to fill any position they might assume. The 
men would frequently say that all the passport they wanted 
was to say they had worked in the Cambria Iron Works. 

I feel as though I could not commend too highly the brave, 
energetic, and loyal men who so faithfully stood by me in 
times of sore disaster, and were it not that it might prove 
invidious I should like to call many of them by name. 
How little the young men who are coimected with the 
immense iron and steel plants of to-day know of the diffi- 
culties the old-time ironmen had to encounter! A drill 
press, cast off the pattern of the fixed head of a sixteen-inch 
lathe, bolted to a ten- or twelve-inch post upright, with 
blocks of timber for the table, a small lathe or two, the 
crudest kind of a machine for turning rolls, a few small 
tools, the greatly respected chipping hammer, cold chisel, 
and file, about completed the list of tools, but in the hands 
of skillful and energetic mechanics there was but little they 
could not do. It seems ridiculous to compare the facilities 
and mode of doing work of fifty odd years ago with those 


of to-day, with ponderous tools and massive cranes. To- 
day the casting is taken from the foundry to the machine 
shop, the heaviest housing that is made is hfted and placed 
on a large, heavy, powerful, and ingeniously planned tool, 
is set, placed on the planer, which has a slotter combined, 
planed on the inside, the recess that contains the bearing 
for the roll-neck slotted out, the base slotted off, the hole 
for the screw bored out to receive the nut which contains 
the screw, the casting taken from the planer to the mill and 
placed on a shoe or bedplate, which is cast in one piece, the 
whole length of the bedplate planed off from end to end, 
so that the housmg can be placed at will anywhere to suit 
the space for the length of the rolls. The fixings that go 
into the housings that secure the rolls in place are all planed 
to a templet, so that they will go in place easily and all 
at one setting and on one tool. There need not be a chisel 
or file mark on the whole job. After the shoes are in place 
the housings and fittings are put in position without either 
line or level, and the train cannot get out of fine. The 
whole of the work is placed in position by an electric travel- 
ing crane which commands the length of the train. Yet, 
after all, the old-time machinists, with their hammer, chisel, 
and file, and with their experience, are still in demand, 
and on the best class of work, and they are at all times the 
men for emergencies, — a class of workmen that are known 
as all-round men, who will acquit themselves with credit 
in any position you may place them. 

As before stated, after the introduction of the three-high 
rail mill at the Cambria Works, and the improvements 
pertaining thereto, and the change of the manner of fitting 
up the mill, which was superior to anything that had been 
done up to that time, it became necessary to substitute 
machinists in place of the millwright and the forge carpen- 
ter, who, up to that time, had been doing the fitting up of 


the machinery. The mills, practically speaking, were all 
geared, and all the trains of rolls were driven by one engine 
of long stroke, consequently slow-running, the power being 
transmitted from the engine to the rolls through gear wheels, 
with the diameter so arranged as to give the roll trains the 
proper number of revolutions per minute, the engine 
practically running at a given speed all the time. The 
shafts at that time were of cast iron and the space on the 
shaft occupied by the wheel was increased in size. The 
shafts were generally hexagonal, but sometimes were cast 
square and the wheel was secured in its position by hard- 
wood keys about one-half to three-quarters of an inch in 
thickness. After the wheel was set true and the space 
between the wheel and the shaft all driven full of hard wood, 
wedges of thin steel were driven in the wood on both sides 
of the wheel. While this was not at all mechanical, yet 
if the wood was hard and dry, and if the work was well done, 
they gave but little trouble. The housings that contained 
the rolls were used just as they came out of the sand. 
Practically no work was done on them at all, except to chip 
the bumps or swells off the casting. The housings rested 
on a narrow shoe that was bolted to a large timber placed 
on the top of the foundation; the plate had lugs cast on it 
corresponding to the size of the base of the housing; the 
lugs were dovetailed and the base of the housing was made 
with the same angles as the lugs on the shoe. The housing 
was set in this shoe and bolted fast. Another and a much 
better plan was at times used. This was to make a casting 
with two shoes combined in it, the shoes forming part of 
the casting and being placed the proper distance apart so as 
to conform to the length of the roll. This was a great 
improvement over the two separate shoes. 

When I built the Cambria mill, we got the shoes made 
the whole length of the train. They were made by James 


Moore of the Bush Hill Iron Works and were a great 
improvement over the old style. The shoes were planed 
the whole length of the train and as a result the housings 
could be placed at any point and at any distance apart. 

I have described the plan of fitting up the mills somewhat 
fully in reference to the Cambria works. This has been done 
in order to show the importance of substituting machinists 
for millwrights; in fact, the machinist of that day who was 
good with the hammer, chisel, and file was a more important 
person about the works than he is at this time. Then all 
the work that was done on a rolHng-mill housing was done 
by the machinist by hand. 

It is not possible for a mechanical engineer of to-day, 
who is well posted in the use of our modern tools, electric 
travehng cranes, and all the general faciUties that are in 
use at this time for doing work promptly and correctly 
(with money galore), and with electric light, so that work 
can be done by night as correctly as in the day, to realize 
the condition of affairs at the time the changes and improve- 
ments were made at the Cambria Iron Works over fifty 
years ago, practically speaking without tools. For all 
parts of the work that could not be done with chisel, 
hammer, and file, special makeshift tools had to be designed 
and gotten up to suit the occasion. This required much 
time, money, and inventive talent of a high order. Energy, 
determination, and patience of a staying quality were the 
great requisites for doing work under the then existing 
conditions. We had no crane for handling or erecting the 
work, and had to build a kind of portable derrick which 
could be moved from place to place, as it was wanted, by 
either horses, mules, or men, but generally the last. It 
proved to be a most efl&cient machine as a makeshift for a 
crane. It did all the erecting and changing of rolls. It 
was so essential and so powerful that the men named it 


Uncle Sam. We had no electric light to work by at night, 
or even gas when we commenced. All the light we had was 
made by the use of lamps filled with smoky rosin oil, as it 
was called. 

We had no money, and at that time the iron men were 
looked upon as paupers. The banks would not loan them 
any money as long as they could get what they called first- 
class commercial paper, and at that time money was not in 
abundance, as it is to-day; consequently the iron men got 
but little, and that little only for a short time, the bankers 
fearing they would fail, as in the early days of rail making 
they were very likely to do. At the time when we were in 
the midst of our improvements at Cambria, a banker to 
whom the company owed twenty thousand dollars came 
into the rolling mill and asked me what we were doing. I 
told him we were making some changes and improvements. 
His reply was that any man that would destroy property 
and spend money as we were doing was a fool or a madman. 
I told him that I was doing it and it had never occurred 
to me that I was either. He took the train that night for 
Philadelphia, and the next morning called at the company's 
office and demanded his money in such an emphatic manner 
that they had to pay him that day. I might mention many 
instances showing the distrust of the bankers toward the 
iron men, and also what they said about myself and about 
what I was doing. But suffice to say that I passed through 
a merciless fire of vindictive ridicule to victory, with sim- 
plicity and becoming dignity, doubtless to the disgust of 
some of the wiseacres who had made some direful pre- 

We started to put on two feed rollers at Cambria, one on 
the front and one on the rear of the train. The workmen 
all said, " They are no good." In spite of the prophecies 
of the workmen, we put them on and they worked satis- 


factorily, but in about a week or so the belt (which had 
been used temporarily) broke. I came through and found 
the mill standing idle. I said, "What is the matter?" 
They said, " The belt on the feed roller is broken." Turn- 
ing to the heater, I then said, " George, is it time to roll? " 
He said, " Yes." I said, " Go ahead. I am going to make 
the mill work a little without the feed rollers." The work 
was so much lighter after the installation of the feed rollers 
that the men who had a week or so before opposed them 
now thought it was impossible to run the mill without them. 

There was so much objection coming from the workmen 
to anything that was new that I once told them if I got up 
anything new and they all said it was all right, I should 
look over my drawings again, thinking there must be some 

Notwithstanding the many invidious attacks we were 
subjected to for what we were doing, every rail mill in the 
country had at once to adopt the three-high system, and 
in changing the mills made them stronger and better fitted 
up. Mr. Frank Jones, of Pittsburg, (B. F. Jones, of the 
firm of Jones & Laughlin), the leading, most practical, and 
successful iron man in the country, and one of the first to 
see the advantages of the system, said to me, some years 
after its introduction, that the three-high mill was the com- 
mencement of the great improvement that took place in 
the iron works after 1857, paving the way for the introduc- 
tion of the phenomenal Bessemer process. 

In July, i860, after upwards of six years of as earnest and 
faithful hard work as few, if any, men ever had to endure, 
and without any vacation, I made up my mind that the 
time had come to sever my connection with the Cambria 
Company, a decision which in many respects caused me 
deep regret. In taking a retrospective view of the condi- 
tion of things as I found them, and also of the trials and 


difficulties which had been encountered and in the face of 
dire predictions of the soothsayers, and others who were 
equally ignorant, but should have been better informed, 
and of the condition that the plant was in at that time, I 
congratulated myself in ha\dng accomplished a great work, 
under the most difficult conditions, in building for the 
Cambria Iron Company a rail mill far in advance of any 
mill existing at the time, and a great commercial success. 
As Frank Jones once said to me: " Cambria was the cradle 
in which the great improvements in rolling-mill practice 
were rocked," which revolutionized the rail mills, making 
a better rail, doing away with all patching, and increasing 
the production fourfold; and out of the two small driven 
rollers came the present system of handling the work in 
mills, by the use of live rollers, by the heavier, stronger, 
and better fitting up of the mill without breaking points, 
Dy the improvement in the arrangement and better fitting 
up of the side guards, by the closing of the grooves in the 
roughing mills, by the increase in the width of the pile, by 
the increased length of the furnace, and by the increased 
height of the furnace roof, which carried the heat much 
farther, thereby enabling us to charge eight nine-inch piles 
instead of six five- and six-inch piles. All of these improve- 
ments were calculated to improve the quality of the work, 
and increased the production, both important factors. 

The improvements that were made in those tr3dng and 
active years were not confined to rails alone, but all branches 
of the iron trade came in for a full share of the benefits of 
all the changes that had taken place, and they were many; 
many of them were revolutionary in their character, and 
were always met with opposition to their introduction, 
some of them being fiercely opposed. But I had laid down 
an absolute rule not to even suggest anything new or 
untried until I had satisfied myself that it was all right 


and was a proper thing to do; consequently I was well 
fortified and was in a position that was at all times impreg- 
nable. But this almost constant opposition became at 
times unpleasant to both parties. At last I became tired, 
yet had I yielded one jot or tittle the result would have been 
different, and it is not at all improbable that the great 
Cambria Works would not be in existence to-day. After 
six years of as hard, laborious, and vexatious work as ever 
fell to the lot of a man to do, I decided to leave the scene of 
my early struggles and try my fortune elsewhere, and on the 
morning of the 5th of July, i860, with feelings of sorrow I 
said good-by to my many friends and to as loyal and efi&- 
cient a corps of foremen and workmen as any man ever had 
the honor to have around him. On the next morning, 
July 6th, I reported for duty with the Bethlehem Iron 
Company, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

During the six years I was with the Cambria Company I 
had no vacation whatever, and with the exception of the visit 
to Philadelphia to raise funds, previously referred to, I was 
only once away from the works over two consecutive days, 
and then on ofl&cial business, when I went down to Chat- 
tanooga for the purpose of examining an iron ore and coal 
property. This was in the spring of i860. 





As I before said, on the morning of the 5th of July, i860, 
my family (wife, daughter, and I), boarded a train on the 
Pennsylvania Railroad at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for 
Bethlehem, leaving the scenes of my early struggles behind 
me, to enter into another, which, in the end, proved one of 
much greater importance. 

We arrived in Bethlehem on the evening of the same day, 
July 5 th. I had previously made arrangements with the 
Bethlehem Iron Company to accept the position of General 
Superintendent and Chief Engineer. On the morning of 
July 6th, I reported to the directors of the said company, 
and in company with Mr. Augustus Wolle, Mr. Charles B. 
Daniel, Mr. Charles W. Ranch, and Mr. Robert H. Sayre 
I visited the ground where the proposed plant was to be 
located. The next day I looked over the location again 
to see if any change was desirable, and I found on measure- 
ment that the space between the Lehigh River and the 
Lehigh Valley Railroad was not wide enough to locate the 
plant without encroaching on the river. The location we 
had made the day before was on the widest part of the land, 
consequently we had either to change the design of the 
plant or to encroach on the river, and we chose the latter. 

We arranged at once with the Lehigh Valley Railroad 
Company to have a siding put in. Ground was broken on 
the 1 6th of July, and about the last of July we got fairly at 
work to erect two medium-sized blast furnaces and a rolling 



mill, containing eight double puddling furnaces and six heat- 
ing furnaces (later, increased to fourteen double puddling 
furnaces and nine heating furnaces) ; we also commenced to 
build a stone building to cover them. We worked at this 
until winter set in, but, owing to the excitement incident to 
the threatened Civil War, we ceased work for the winter. 
When spring came we commenced work again, and during 
the summer of 1861 we erected the mill building out of 

In the fall we had one of the greatest rises known in the 
Lehigh River; it destroyed all of the part of the building 
that had been built on the encroachment on the river, 
amounting in length to about eighty feet. During the time 
the mill was being built we erected one of the blast furnaces, 
but in the fall and winter of 1861-62 the general outlook was 
so discouraging that the work on the whole plant was again 
suspended for the winter. In the spring of 1862 work was 
commenced again, and during the summer the building, 
including that portion of it which had been washed down 
by the flood, was completed; most of the foundations were 
in and we had much of the machinery ready to be set up in 
place. The machinery of the rail train consisted of three 
stands of rolls — two sets for rails, and one set for top and 
bottoms — driven by one engine connected directly to the 
train. There was also in connection with the finishing end 
of the mill one train of rolls twelve inches in diameter, with 
four stands of rolls, for rolling light rails and such light 
merchant iron as was wanted for use about the works. 
There were seven heating furnaces in the finishing end. 

In the puddling department there was one puddle train 
with two sets of rolls and a rotary squeezer, driven off the 
end of the rolls. The rolls were driven direct from the engine. 
The puddling department, as stated above, contained eight 
double puddhng furnaces, with shears and hot beds, and 


such equipment as was necessary for handling the iron 
economically. Both the finishing and the puddle rolls were 
twenty-one inches in diameter. All furnaces, both heating 
and puddling, had boilers over them. 

During the summer and fall of 1862 the mill was quite 
completed, and in September, 1863, we commenced rolling 
rails. Every department worked entirely satisfactorily. 
The roll housings were of new design and were dressed out 
inside with hammer, chisel, and file; the fittings inside were 
fitted up in the same maimer. The furnace plates, being 
corrugated, were strong and handsome; the building was 
of stone (good masonry) ; the train was of the largest diam- 
eter used in any rail mill in the country; and altogether the 
plant was completely fitted up. In addition to the rolling 
mill, we had erected a large machine shop and foundry, a 
blacksmith shop, and a pattern shop, all built of stone in 
first-class manner. Altogether, they made a fine show, and 
were for some years a Mecca for the iron men to visit. 
There was nothing in the world in the way of an iron plant 
that could be compared with the Bethlehem Works. 

In the meantime, we had built the second furnace, which 
was a curiosity in its way. The first furnace, or Number 
One, was built of plate iron one-fourth of an inch in thick- 
ness. It was the first shell furnace, as they were called at 
that time, built in the Lehigh Valley. Iron was first made 
in this furnace on January 4, 1863. The second furnace, or 
Number Two, was also built of iron, but instead of being 
a boiler-plate shell it was constructed with bands of wrought 
iron eight inches in width, about seven-eighths of an inch 
thick at the bottom of the furnace and five-eighths of an 
inch thick at the top. These bands, or circular rings, were 
riveted about twenty-four inches apart to uprights, eight 
by half -inch, placed about thirty inches apart from center 
to center. As the distance from center to center of the 


bands was about twenty-four inches, and as the uprights 
were about thirty inches apart, there were spaces or open- 
ings sixteen by twenty-two inches. This is known as the 
crinoline construction. By leaving a small hole in each 
space in whatever depth in the lining seemed proper, one 
could see and learn something of the temperature in the 
furnace; should there be a scaffold, one could learn where 
it was; should the furnace be working hot in any place, 
it could be cooled off by the use of a swinging platform, 
which could readily be hooked to the band on any part of 
the furnace. 

In the early seventies we bmlt two more blast furnaces on 
new lines, seventy feet high and seventeen feet in diameter 
at the bosh. These furnaces were higher than those in 
general use. About this time coke began to be used in the 
furnaces in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, and 
nearly double the amount of iron was made in the same 
sized furnaces that we could make with anthracite as a fuel. 
I thought that by building larger and higher furnaces and 
much more powerful blowing engines and by increasing 
the blast pressure from six to twelve pounds we could make 
as much iron in a given time with anthracite as they could 
with coke. Some of my Western friends came to Bethle- 
hem to see our new furnaces and learn how they were 
working. They were so well satisfied with the result we 
had attained by high-pressure blast that they increased 
their blast pressure from about three and a half pounds to 
seven or eight, and we were again beaten about as badly as 
we had been before. We were the first, so far as I know, to 
use high-pressure blast. 

The new blowing engines were made horizontal and were 
much criticized, but I paid little or no attention to the 
critics. The engines, however, ran constantly for over 
thirty years, to my knowledge, day and night (which is 


equivalent to sixty years as the great majority of engines 
run), and during all these years they were blowing from ten 
to twelve pounds pressure and frequently more, notwith- 
standing the fact that they were so generally condemned 
by metallurgical engineers, and they are still running. 
Two of the oldest practical ironmasters from the other side 
of the Atlantic, John Lancaster and Sir I. Lo\^lhian Bell, 
were looking over the engines soon after they were started, 
and I ventured to ask what they thought of them. The 
former said that I had gone far in removing the objections 
in his mind to the horizontal blowing engine. Mr. Bell said 
they were certainly working beautifully, but that he would 
Uke to see them after they had been in use five years. 

The result of the working of the two new furnaces was so 
satisfactory that I designed a new furnace, somewhat larger 
and higher, with some change in the lines, and with a 
blowing engine that would blow a pressure of twenty to 
thirty pounds. I had the foundation for the stack put in, 
but the caution of our directors was so great that they 
objected to the building of this new furnace, and much to 
my regret the subject was for the time dismissed from my 
mind. The advantage of higher pressure in blast-furnace 
practice, however, soon became apparent to practical 
furnacemen, and higher pressures were soon generally 


During the Civil War the Government felt the need of 

having somewhere in the South an iron rolling mill for the 

purpose of re-rolling rails which had been torn from the 

railroads by the Confederate Army. The authorities at 

Washington took up the matter with some of the leading 

iron men of the country and entirely to my surprise, as 

I had known nothing about it, I received, in March, 1864, 

a letter from Col. D. C. McCallum, of which the following 

is a copy: 

War Department. 

Office of 
Military Director and Supt. of Railroads, U. S. 
Washington, March 14, 1864. 
To Whom it may concern: 

This is to certify that John Fritz is authorized in behalf 
of the United States Government to purchase the necessary 
machinery and materials to be used in the construction of 
a Rail Rolling Mill at Chattanooga, Tenn., and any ar- 
rangements he may make will be fully carried out by the 

The early completion of this mill is important and in- 
dispensable to the advance of the Army, and all persons 
who may engage to furnish machinery or material therefor 
are directed to do so to the exclusion of all other business. 
Very respectfully. 

Your Obt. Svt., 


Col. Director 6* Genl. Manager M. R. R. U. S. 


I took up the work at once and made plans for the mill 
and arrangements for securing the necessary machinery and 

In connection with procuring the machinery, I was 
obliged to secure an engine for driving the rolling mill. I 
went to see Mr. George H. Corliss, of Providence, R. I., the 
manufacturer of the Corliss engine, at that time very 
famous. I explained to him just what I wanted for the 
rolling mill at Chattanooga, and asked him if he could supply 
such an engine. He told me that he was then building in 
the shops, and had nearly completed, an engine just such 
as I wanted, under a contract made previously, but that 
the man who had ordered the engine was in no hurry for 
it on account of the unsettled condition of the country. I 
was greatly pleased to find an engine just such as I wanted, 
as it was then very difficult to obtain finished machinery, and 
on account of the nature of the work it was essential for 
us to begin on the construction of the rail plant at Chat- 
tanooga as soon as possible. I said to Mr. Corliss, " This 
engine of yours just about meets my needs. What is the 
price of it? " He called his secretary, who brought in the 
original contract for the engine. At that time material 
was selling for at least double what it had sold for at the 
time when this contract was made. I said to Mr. Corliss, 
" I should like to make as good a bargain as possible for 
the Government, but I want to be fair with you in this 
matter." Whereupon Mr. Corliss replied, " You can have 
this engine at the original contract price, although it is 
worth more to-day. No good citizen can afford to take 
advantage of the Government in its hour of peril." In this 
remark he showed a public spirit and patriotism which 
marked all his actions. 

It was impossible for me to personally superintend the 
erection of this plant, and also unnecessary. I saw that 


the plans were properly drawn up and the machinery 
ordered. My brother William, who had been in the army, 
was made Superintendent of the plant, and T. W. Yardley, 
later connected with the R. W. Hunt Bureau of Inspection 
and Tests, of Chicago, had charge of the business end as 
distinguished from the manufacturing end. The plant was 
erected according to my plans and was operated by the 
Government throughout the war, after which it was sold 
to Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, of New York City. 


If space would permit, I should like to go more fully into 
the practice of puddUng, commencing with its invention in 
1783, and following it all through its successive stages until 
it reached its climax in the year 1890. 

While puddling is generally going out of use and has been 
so greatly overshadowed by the Bessemer process that it is 
now rather sHghtingly spoken of, yet there are certain 
purposes for which high-grade iron is still used, and will 
continue to be used for some time, notwithstanding the 
fact that steel can be gotten at less cost. 

Having had charge of puddHng furnaces and puddlers for 
about fifty years and never having had any trouble with 
either furnace or puddler, I do not propose to see my old 
puddHng friend, who has been so true and faithful, and 
once served the country so well, laid away without saying 
something of his good quaUties and what he has accom- 

Prior to the introduction of puddling in this country, or 
rather to the time it was introduced in a number of mills, 
about 1830, all the wrought iron was made in charcoal fires. 
It was, consequently, expensive and the quantity small, 
and as wood was all the time getting scarcer, in a few years 
the quantity of iron necessary to supply the demands of 
the country could not be made by that process. Then 
came the puddling process to supply the deficiency, which 
it did, and furnished the country with the iron that was so 
essential for the wonderful development that took place, 



and at the same time prepared the way for the introduc- 
tion and remarkable development of the Bessemer process. 
The puddling process, as it was generally practiced, was a 
hard and laborious one, and unmechanical, and in its earlier 
stages it was not very scientific, yet to a person who was 
about a puddling furnace and gave it any attention it soon 
became interesting, if he did not have to do the work. 

Up to the time of the discovery of the basic process by 
the late lamented Sidney Gilchrist Thomas, it was the only 
process in which a pig iron high in phosphorus could be 
used, commercially speaking. The name of Henry Cort, 
the inventor of the puddHng process, well deserves to be 
enrolled among the list of great inventors, as one to whom 
the whole civilized world is greatly indebted. 

While it may be out of place here to mention any special 
class, yet I feel that I would not be doing my duty to let 
this opportunity pass without paying tribute to the meri- 
torious and hard-working class of men who, up until 1870, 
made practically all the iron that was used in the construc- 
tion of the railroads, that, as it were, practically gridironed 
the country. They also made the iron for the bridges that 
spanned the great rivers, and for the locomotives and cars 
that were used on them; also the iron that was used for 
manufacturing, mechanical, and other purposes. In the 
year 1890 there was produced by this process in the United 
States the enormous quantity of 2,518,194 gross tons. Now 
I think, in view of the magnificent results that have been 
achieved by the process, it is surely entitled to a prominent 
place in the history of the iron industries of the world. 


In 1864 the Bessemer process was introduced into the 
United States. Its introduction and perfection will ever 
remain one of the most interesting epochs in the history of 
the iron business, being, practically speaking, revolutionary 
in its character. The late Hon. Abram S. Hewitt refers 
to the Bessemer process as one that takes rank with the 
great events which have changed the face of society since 
the time of the Middle Ages. 

During the early excitement over the Bessemer steel rail 
made by Mushet from metal melted in common melting 
pots, a steel rail was laid on the Midland Railway in 1857, 
at a place where iron rails lasted only about three months. 
The wearing qualities of the rail, which was double-headed, 
and which had been rolled at Ebbw Vale Iron Company, 
were so marvelous that I thought it might be well to see if 
iron ores could be found in this country pure enough to make 
good Bessemer steel. Having had much experience in the 
manufacture of good merchant bar iron, I had learned that 
there were but few brands of pig iron that could be used in 
the dry process of puddling, which was in use at that time, 
to make a high quality of good wrought iron. This was 
before the application of that most valuable science, — 
chemistry, — to the metallurgy of iron. But I had in some 
way learned that phosphorus was not permissible in the 
manufacture of good wrought iron. This led me to the 
conclusion that an iron high in phosphorus would be 
unsuitable for steel-making purposes. 



At this time the making of Bessemer steel was a most 
important and interesting subject, and so far seemed to 
be surrounded with doubts and difficulties that looked 

Having taken an interest in the process from its early 
inception, and closely watching the progress it made in 
England and Sweden, I made up my mind it was an inven- 
tion of such importance to us that I would investigate it. 
After the patent rights for the United States had been 
bought by Winslow, Griswold & HoUey, I made a visit to 
Troy, N. Y., where they had an experimental plant, to try 
to get the right to use the patents for a small two-and-one- 
half- or three-ton converter, for experimental purposes, at 
Bethlehem with American pig iron, to see whether our ores 
were suitable for acid Bessemer steel. My interview with 
Mr. Griswold was very unsatisfactory. After seeing him 
and talking the subject over thoroughly with him, he showed 
me a circular from Mr. Bessemer in which he said the Hmit 
of phosphorus was 0.02 in the steel. A reference to this 
circular was made in the discussion of a paper read by Sir 
Henry Bessemer at the December, 1896, meeting of the 
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, of which at the 
time I had the honor of being President. (It is reported in 
" Transactions American Society of Mechanical Engineers, " 
Vol. XVIH, page 482.) When I saw the Bessemer circular 
I at once said, " Mr. Griswold, if that is the limit of phos- 
phorus, it is useless to consider the subject any further, and 
the process will be of little value in this country." We had 
had, practically speaking, most of the ores of the country 
analyzed by WilHam T. Roepper, of Bethlehem, Pennsyl- 
vania, and had found it was not possible to make any consid- 
erable quantity of pig iron low enough in phosphorus to meet 
the requirements of the Bessemer circular. I well knew it 
was not possible to get any large quantity of iron so low in 


phosphorus, as in a general way the coal and ores carried 
nearly that amount ; consequently the Bessemer fever which 
I had when I met Mr. Griswold was changed to a Bessemer 
chill after the interview. This was a great disappointment 
to me. By the time I reached home I was all right, however, 
and I abandoned the idea of going into making Bessemer 
steel. Knowing the inferiority of the iron rails made in the 
country and knowing something must be done, I then 
turned my attention to the improvement of their quality, 
and with some success. 

I set my mind at work to make all possible improvement 
on iron rails, and gave considerable thought to steel-headed 
rails. We succeeded in making a much better iron rail 
than had been made up to that time, and made some 
experiments in the direction of steel-headed rails with some 
promise of success. But having all the work we could do 
on iron rails, we paid but little attention to steel, as the 
information I received from Mr. Griswold satisfied me that 
it was useless to spend any more time on the steel ques- 
tion. During this time, in or about the years 1863 or 1864, 
William F. Durfee and Robert W. Hunt were at Wyandotte, 
Michigan, making experiments with a small converter. 
They succeeded in making steel, but their experiments could 
not be called a commercial success. About the same time, 
or probably a httle later, Mr. A. L. Holley was successful 
in making steel at Troy, N. Y., at the experimental plant 
before referred to. 

In or about the year 1865, the Lehigh Valley Railroad 
Company imported some steel rails from England. In 
being unloaded from the cars one of the rails was broken 
and it was sent to the Bethlehem Iron Company's works 
to be drilled and spliced. We had the drillings analyzed 
and found the rail to contain about 0.12 of phosphorus. 
The rail had broken, as might have been expected with that 


amount of phosphorus, Mr. Bessemer's limit being 0.02. 
At this time the steel-rail question did not look inviting, 
and I was glad we had so far kept out of it. A short time 
after this the Lehigh Valley sent two more steel rails, made 
by another English firm, which had been broken in the 
track. This looked so very discouraging that the end of 
the steel rail seemed in sight. But knowing about the 
marvelous wearing qualities of the one steel rail laid on the 
Midland Railway in 1857, I thought it important to inves- 
tigate the subject further. So I sent for the track master 
of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and went to the place where 
the breakage of the second and third rails had taken place. 
I there learned that a loaded coal car had from some 
unknown cause left the rail. Upon close examination we 
found the flange of the wheel had struck the head of the 
spike that held the rail in place, causing injury to the rail, 
and in each case of breakage we found it had occurred at a 
point in the flange immediately under the head of the spike. 
I came to the conclusion that that had caused the breakage 
of the rails. We had the two broken rails analyzed and 
found them to contain each about 0.06 of phosphorus. 

The analysis of the two rails that were broken in the track 
inspired new hope, and we took the ore question up again 
and had a number of analyses made of the Lake Superior 
ores, but all were too high in phosphorus, to keep as low as 
the two rails broken in the track; after carefully looking 
over the analyses of the ores we had previously made, we 
did find some ores in other localities that were so low in 
phosphorus as to give us hope that steel could be made 
within the limit of 0.06 of phosphorus, but the ore was not 
found in large quantities and was low in iron. It was a 
question in my mind whether sufiicient ores of the quality 
desired could be relied on for any length of time. However, 
we must have a better rail in some way, and concluded to 


take our chance and build a Bessemer plant. We did this 
very reluctantly, as we could not see sufficient ore in sight 
to warrant a supply for any great length of time. We would 
have to take our chances and would have to rely to some 
extent on importation, probably of both ore and pig iron, 
and on the hope that more low-phosphorus ores might be 

We started the foundations of the building in the fall 
of 1868. 

In building the Bessemer plant and the rolling mill I 
made a new departure. In place of building separate 
buildings for the Bessemer plant, and also for the various 
roll trains, I built a good substantial stone building, 931 
feet in length and in feet in width, with four transepts, 
two on each side, arranged in the form of a double cross. 
Each of the transepts was in feet in width and 386 feet in 
length and 29 feet high to the square. They were located 
to best serve economically the purpose intended. In one 
of them was placed the machinery for the converting 
department, one was used for a train of rolls for making 
Ught rails for mining and light tramway purposes, the other 
two were intended for rolling merchant steel. Near one 
end of the main building the converting department was 
located, in line with the transept that contained the ma- 
chinery for operating the converting plant. This machin- 
ery consisted of blowing engines and high-pressure pumps 
for working the cranes and handling the converters. We 
put in four eight-ton converters. The object in putting 
in the four converters was to practically do away with night 
and Sunday repair work, which is expensive and a great 
nuisance. Back of the converters were placed the cupolas, 
eight for melting the iron, and two for melting the spiegel- 
eisen. A space back of the cupola was arranged for the 
mixing of the refractory material for making the converter 


bottoms and stoppers. The floor for making them on, and 
an oven for drying them in, were arranged for economical 
working, with an eye to neatness. 

The floor line of the whole plant was on a level except the 
casting pit, which was about two feet below the floor line. 
This made it convenient for the men to pour into the moulds, 
and at the same time protected the men in case of accidental 
breaking out of the metal, which in the early history of the 
Bessemer process frequently occurred. 

The converters were arranged in pairs, two on each side 
of the center of the building, with distance between them 
sufi&cient to allow work to be done in the pits for each pair 
of vessels without interfering vnth. each other. The con- 
verters, which as before noted were in pairs, had a hydraulic 
lift between them, which raised the molten metal up to 
the height to pour into the vessel. 

The engines of the mill for blowing and rolling the steel 
were of the following dimensions : 

The first Bessemer blowing engines had two steam cyl- 
inders thirty-six inches by sixty inches, coupled direct, 
with two blowing tubs forty-eight inches by sixty inches. 
The second pair of blowing engines (built later) had two 
steam cylinders fifty-six inches by sixty-six inches, with 
two blowing tubs sixty inches by sixty-six inches. These 
engines were capable of maintaining forty pounds' air 
pressure. The smaller blooming-mill engine had a cylinder 
thirty-six inches by sixty inches, coupled direct, with two 
stands of three-high rolls thirty-two inches in diameter. 
The large blooming-mill engine cylinder was sixty-five 
inches by ninety-six inches, with a ninety-ton flywheel, 
driving direct one stand of three-high rolls, forty-eight 
inches in diameter by ten feet long. 

Both trains were supplied with movable tables controlled 
by two levers at one point. The first rail train, twenty- 


four inches in diameter, was composed of four stands of three- 
high rolls driven by an upright compound engine; high- 
pressure cylinder, thirty inches in diameter; low-pressure 
cyUnder, fifty-four inches in diameter; stroke, fifty inches. 

The large rail train, also intended to roll shapes, was 
twenty-eight inches in diameter, composed of three stands 
of rolls three-high, driven by a triple tandem compound 
condensing engine connected to the train direct and exert- 
ing 8000 H.P. This engine had three high-pressure cyl- 
inders thirty-six inches in diameter, and three low-pressure 
cylinders fifty-four inches in diameter, with forty-six-inch 
stroke. This train was equipped with tables. 

The finishing end of the mill was equipped with the 
necessary saws, hot beds, drill presses, straightening presses, 
cold beds, and loading apparatus. 

The perplexities and anxiety connected with the manu- 
facture of Bessemer steel were fully described by me in an 
address delivered before the Franklin Institute in 1899, 
from which I quote: 

" In witnessing the beautiful and interesting but simple 
process of blowing a heat of metal, and the regularity with 
which it is done at this time, and the quantity turned out, 
it is impossible for one wholly unacquainted with its early 
history to even in a measure realize the fear and anxiety 
of those who were responsible for the result. When a 
charge of metal was poured into the vessel, the blast put 
on, and the vessel turned up, our anxiety commenced, and 
as the heat increased our anxiety increased in a corre- 
sponding ratio, until both became intense. It was when the 
heat was greatest that accidents were most likely to happen. 
The refractory material with which the converters were 
lined, especially the bottoms, would give out, and when in 
that condition the effect of the heat and the blast would 
waste the tuyeres and bottoms away so rapidly that from 


one to three heats were all we could get off of one bottom. 
Frequently they would give out at the first heat, then out 
would come the metal through the bottom; and having to 
use much water about the converter, the place imder the 
vessel was at all times wet, and the result was explosions, 
often very dangerous, as the hot metal was blown in all 
directions, frequently inflicting serious injuries on the 
workmen, a calamity greatly dreaded and the cause of the 
gravest anxiety to those in charge. When an accident 
occurred anywhere about the works the first question asked 
would be : 'Is anyone hurt? ' If not, we would go to 
work at once to repair with that object only in mind. If, 
on the contrary, some of the workmen were seriously 
injured, it is impossible to describe the distress of mind 
that the person in charge had to endure. When the vessel 
was turned down it sometimes went too far and some of 
the metal ran out, resulting frequently in a grand pyro- 
technic display of an exceedingly dangerous character. 

" The next operation was to get the metal in the ladle, 
which was generally not a very difficult one, but it would 
frequently burn through the ladle, and then the only thing 
that could be done was to let it run into the pit and order 
all hands out of the way, for fear of an explosion. As soon 
as the metal was partially set all hands commenced to clean 
the pit, which was no easy task. Here were eight tons of 
molten steel in the pit, burned fast to ingot moulds, bottom 
and sides of the pit, and to everything that would not burn 
up. If we were so fortunate as to get the ladle over the pit 
in good shape, our anxiety was not yet at an end. It quite 
frequently happened that the stopper would pull off the 
end of the rod; then we had to use what we called a pricker 
to open the nozzle from the bottom. If the metal happened 
to be cold, which by that time it was apt to be, the nozzle 
would freeze up, as we called it; then the metal would have 


to be poured out of the top of the ladle into the mould, 
cinder and steel all together, with the result that generally 
the most of it got into the pit; then again, if we escaped an 
explosion we still had a mess in the pit. Altogether the 
difhculties we encountered were enough to appall the 
bravest hearts. My brother George once said, when at 
Cambria, that he did not believe there was a man who ever 
went into the Bessemer business, and was responsible for 
the result, who did not at times wish he had never gone 
into it; and so far as my experience goes, I can fully corrobo- 
rate it. And, further, I think that, if it had not been for 
the interesting and exciting character of the business, but 
few men would have been willing to incur the trouble and 
anxiety, and to endure the physical labor and danger to 
which he and the workmen were constantly exposed, long 
enough to have placed the business on a commercial basis." 
The difficulties that confronted us in the early manu- 
facture of steel were grave and almost innumerable. To 
cite one instance : We had put in a new bottom and turned 
the vessel up, and out went one or two tuyeres; we turned 
it down to put the tuyeres in again, and we had to turn it 
down two or three times for the same purpose. By the 
time we got the metal out into the ladle, to pour it into the 
moulds, the stopper " froze up," that is to say, the stopper 
came off. Well, then we tried to prick the thing from the 
bottom, but did not succeed, so we had an arrangement by 
which we poured it into the mould. Cinders and all went 
in together, but in some manner the whole heat went into 
the pit. As soon as it got into the pit I said, " Get out of 
the way." It gave one of the grandest pyrotechnic ex- 
hibitions I have ever seen in my life. I was afraid someone 
would be burnt, but fortunately no one was injured. We 
got to work and cleaned up the pit. Holley, who was 
visiting me at the time, helped us, and after we had the pit 


cleared up and started up again, a workman let an ingot fall 
off the bugg>' beyond the reach of the crane. I said to Hol- 
ley, " Look at that." He said, " Boss, that will lie still." 

Immediately after this I was sent for to go to the blast fur- 
nace on account of trouble there. We had been discussing 
these bottoms right along and all blamed the tuyeres. The 
manufacturers of the tuyeres would say, " Well, we cannot 
put any more refractory material into them." The tuyeres 
were filled in between with ganister; we just lined the vessel 
with stone after that. I contended that this ganister blew 
out. It could not melt, because it could stand more heat 
than the tuyeres, but I thought the friction of the blast 
blew it off until the tuyeres became exposed, and they could 
not stand the heat and pressure both. On my way over to 
the furnace I noticed some sixteen-inch blast-furnace lining 
brick, and I used some of this as a filler between the tuyeres. 
On the first experiment we got twelve heats off one bottom, 
which was phenomenal. That was the end of the trouble. 

From this time our troubles began to diminish, and 
instead of making ten and twelve heats per day we soon 
ran up to fifty and sixty heats in twelve hours, and some 
of the works are now making seventy and eighty. This 
system of making bottoms was at once generally adopted, 
and is still in use. 

At this time the machinists before alluded to were called 
to the front to brave the danger and fight the great battles 
that have ever to be encountered in the introduction of new 
metallurgical processes, and in none were the difficulties 
more alarming and disheartening than in the Bessemer 
process. These men had now received a training which 
eminently fitted them for the duties they were called upon 
to perform. Having been inured to hard work, they 
entered into this new field with such an amount of energy 
and determination that it made failure impossible. 


One of the earliest and most graphic accounts of a Besse- 
mer " blow " at night was written by our ever-lamented 
friend, A. L. HoUey, to whom I have before referred. It 
was published in the Troy Daily Times in 1865, and quoted 
by Dr. Rossiter W. Raymond in a memorial address at the 
Turf Club Theater, of New York City, November i, 1883, 
at a combined meeting of the American Society of Civil 
Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 
and the American Institute of Mining Engineers. In 
describing the blow, Mr. Holley said : 

" The cavernous room is dark, the air sulphurous, the 
sounds of suppressed power are melancholy and deep. 
Half-revealed monsters with piercing eyes crouch in the 
comers, spectral shapes ever flit about the wall, and lurid 
beams of light anon flash in your face as some remorseless 
beast opens its red-hot jaws for its iron ration. Then the 
melter thrusts a spear between the joints of its armor and 
a glistening, yellow stream spurts out for a moment, and 
then all is dark once more. Again and again he stabs it, 
till six tons of its hot and smoking blood fill a great caldron 
to the brim. Then the foreman shouts to a thirty-foot 
giant in the corner, who straightway stretches out his iron 
arm and gently lifts the cauldron away up into the air and 
turns out the yellow blood in a hissing, sparkling stream, 
which dives into the white-hot jaws of another monster, — 
a monster as big as an elephant, with a head like a frog, and 
scaly hide. The foreman shouts again, at which up rises 



the monster on its haunches, growling and snorting sparks 
and flame. 

" What a conflict of the elements is going on in that vast 
laboratory! A million balls of melted iron, tearing away 
from the liquid mass, surging from side to side, and plung- 
ing down again, only to be blown out more hot and angry 
than before — column upon column of air, squeezed solid 
like rods of glass by the power of five hundred horses, 
piercing and shattering the iron at every point, chasing 
it up and down, robbing it of its treasures, only to be itself 
decomposed, and hurled out into the night in roaring blaze. 

" As the combustion progresses, the surging mass grows 
hotter, throwing out splashes of liquid slag; and the dis- 
charge from its mouth changes from sparks and streaks of 
red and yellow gas to thick, full, white, howling, dazzling 
flame. But such battles cannot last long. In a quarter 
of an hour the iron is stripped of every combustible alloy, 
and hangs out the white flag. The converter is then turned 
upon its side, the blast shut off, and the recarburizer run in. 
Then for a moment the war of the elements rages again; 
the mass boils and flames with higher intensity, and with 
a rapidity of chemical reaction, sometimes throwing it 
\dolently out of the converter mouth; then all is quiet, 
and the product is steel, — liquid, milky steel, that pours 
out into the ladle from under its roof of slag, smooth, 
shining, and almost transparent." 

In the early history of the process Mr. Holley, Captain 
Hunt, my brother George, and Captain Jones would fre- 
quently come to Bethlehem to talk over our troubles — 
not high finance, but the difficulties we daily met, which at 
times seemed almost insuperable. We did not meet as 
diplomats, to find out what each other wanted, without even 
hinting of anything they wanted, but we met as a band of 
loving brother engineers trained by arduous experience, 


young, able, energetic, and determined to make a success. 
I doubt if ever five natural brothers were more loyal to each 
other than the five brother engineers above named. What 
each of us knew was common to all. 

Upon one occasion we all met at my house and talked over 
our troubles in detail, and they seemed so grave that some 
of us doubted if we could ever make the Bessemer process 
a financial success. In fact, my doubts were such that I 
had thought seriously of making a steel-headed rail and had 
made some experiments in that line, with some little show 
of success, when some one of the party said that if there 
could be a patent secured on the steel-headed rail it would 
be worth more than any other patent that could be taken 
out. To this my brother George dissented, putting his 
hand on the top of his head and facetiously saying that if 
someone would discover something that would make the 
hair grow there, it would be worth more money than any 
invention that could be gotten up. Referring to Captain 
Hunt, he said : " Here is Robert ; he would give five thousand 
dollars for it." 

Sometimes we were joined by my dear friend Eckley B. 
Coxe, who though not a steel man was one of the most 
able and distinguished mining engineers our country has 
ever known — a man so highly trained scientifically, so full 
of resource and suggestion that my recollections of my 
conferences with him are an ever present pleasure. I 
delighted to have him and Holley together. 

In connection with the Bessemer process of steel manu- 
facture, it is interesting to note that although the credit 
of it is generally given entirely to Sir Henry Bessemer, of 
London, England, yet an American inventor, William 
Kelly, had experimented for a number of years, at Eddy- 
ville, Kentucky, along the same lines. The original desire 
of both Sir Henry Bessemer and Mr. Kelly was to improve 


the quality of iron. So far as is known, neither of them at 
that time had in view the manufacture of steel. 

When Mr. Bessemer received his patent in this country 
in 1856, Mr. Kelly immediately set up a claim of priority 
of invention, and supported this claim with an account of 
what he had previously done at his forge at Eddyville, 

Mr. Kelly continued his Eddyville experiments at Johns- 
town, at the Cambria Iron Works, during my time there. 
The Bessemer and Kelly claims were considered by the 
Commissioner of Patents, and Mr. Kelly was granted a 
patent on the ground of priority, and in 1863 a company, 
known as the Kelly Process Company, was formed, for the 
purpose of making steel under the Kelly patents. 

As stated before, the control in this country of the Bes- 
semer patents was obtained in 1864 by John F. Winslow, 
John A. Griswold, and Alexander L. Holley, of Troy, N. Y., 
and the firm was successful in 1865 in making Bessemer 
steel at their experimental furnace at that place. A com- 
promise was arranged between them and the Kelly Process 
Company. The Bessemer Company attracted more general 
attention than the Kelly claims ; but considerable credit is 
due to Mr. Kelly for what he had accomplished. 

Early in the history of the Bessemer process the Bethle- 
hem Iron Company had an opportimity to make a long- 
time contract with the Cornwall people, on favorable terms, 
for a quantity of suitable ore, but the directors were not 
then disposed to do so, notwithstanding the fact that we 
had used large quantities of both the iron and the ore, and 
knew them to be good, especially as a mixture. The 
directors thought we could buy the iron and the ore as 
we wanted them, and would not be embarrassed by a long 
contract. At that time we were the only people who knew 
how valuable the Cornwall ore was. The other Bessemer 


makers were, in a general way, fearful of the sulphur, but 
we had learned that for rails and some other purposes the 
sulphur was practically quite harmless, and that we could 
use the Cornwall ore to great advantage up to one-half of 
the mixture. The other Bessemer people soon learned that 
the Bethlehem Company was using Cornwall ore largely and 
doing good work, consequently they got to using it and 
found it so valuable that some of them invested largely in 
the Cornwall ore property. This was much to our detri- 
ment, as it was about all that we could do to get the proper 
material to make the special high-grade steel that we had 
a large demand for, which was being used largely in place 
of open-hearth acid steel ; in fact, it was the best steel that 
at that time was being made, and for many purposes was 
preferred to crucible steel. 

The condition of affairs as to the quality of steel we were 
making was to me sickening, as it had at all times been the 
pride of my profession to do good work in whatever line it 
might lie. But here I found myself in such a position that, 
so far as rails were concerned, they were but httle, if any, 
better than the greater part of the rails that were being 
made, and were, to my mind, very unsatisfactory. At 
that time we had a contract for high-carbon rails, which 
caUed for the maximum phosphorus to be below six one- 
himdredths, and it was with great difficulty that the phos- 
phorus could be kept low enough. I went to the President 
of the company. He said the rails were as good as any 
others that were being made. I told him that the rails 
were being made under a contract, and that if they did not 
come up to the specifications in every way the inspector 
would not accept them. I said we must have some Corn- 
wall iron, or some other that was equally low in phosphorus. 
At the same time I told him if we could not get a good iron 
for making rails, I would have nothing to do with the rail mill, 


At this time Mr. Algernon Roberts, of the firm of A. & 
P. Roberts, was making car axles at the Pencoyd Iron 
Works. He told me the trouble the firm had had in reduc- 
ing the axles in the middle uniformly, and asked if I could 
help him out of his trouble. Previous to this Sir Joseph 
Whitworth had invented a hydraulic press for forging. I 
had made up my mind it was a good scheme and was what 
Mr. Roberts wanted, but Mr. Whitworth would neither 
make one nor let anyone see it. I also understood that 
Haswell in Vienna was using some kind of a press for making 
heavy drop forgings, using a press instead of a hammer, 
and I suggested it would be well to see what Mr. Haswell 
was doing. Mr. Roberts was so much interested in the 
press that he and Mr. James Dougherty went over to see it. 
On his return he came to see me, and said he did not think 
Haswell's press was what he wanted. I asked him if he 
could get the drawings of what Mr. Haswell was doing. 
He said he thought he could, and would arrange to do so, 
and said that if we got the drawings we could use them for 
the purpose he wanted them for. Unfortunately, shortly 
after our conversation, Mr. Roberts died quite suddenly, 
and for a time the subject was dropped, but not forgotten. 

The condition of affairs in the Bessemer plant was most 
deplorable, but there was one more chance to get quite a 
large quantity of Bessemer acid ore. By ceasing to make 
rails and by being able to get high-grade ores in sufficient 
quantities to supply the demand we had for high-quality 
steel, we could do a profitable business in that line, and a 
satisfactory one. At that time we were using a small 
quantity of an ore known as the Tilly Foster ore, but the 
mine was in such bad condition that only a small quantity 
could be mined, and it would cost much money to put it in 
such shape that a large amount of ore could be gotten out. 
The ore was of such a character that 1 was quite sure it was 


a good business proposition to spend the money to develop 
the mine. Consequently, I took our best practical mining 
experts and made a very thorough examination of the mine 
and an estimate of the cost of putting it in such shape 
that a large amount of ore could be taken out annually. 
As I now remember, the estimate was about $100,000, not 
over twenty-five cents per ton on the ore, in addition to the 
royalty. Taking the quality of ore into consideration, it 
was a very cheap ore. The proposition, however, did not 
meet the approval of the management and the project was 
dropped. I was now at the end of my line in that direction, 
and told our management that it was not possible to make 
good special steel or good rails out of such material as we 
were being compelled to use. In reply they again said we 
were making as good rails as other works were making, and 
that they could see no reason why we should make them any 
better. I told them the work we were doing was unsatis- 
factory to me, that it was the aim of my life in whatever 
line I might be to turn out good work, that it could not be 
done with the material we were using, and that I would not 
be responsible for the result. We were now up against the 
real thing and something had to be done. My reputation 
and money were both at stake, and at my age I could not 
afford to lose either of them. 


In 1868 the manufacture of acid open-hearth steel com- 
menced. The Siemens regenerating furnace was used, and 
the Martin system, generally known as the Siemens-Mar- 
tin process. But its progress was slow, as it followed the 
Bessemer, which was spectacular, beautiful, exciting, and 
most intensely interesting in the blowing of a heat of metal. 
While the Siemens-Martin process is scientific and simple, 
it is not so interesting and exciting as the Bessemer process, 
and it did not command the attention and respect to which 
it was entitled. The fact that the Bessemer had been 
introduced and the machinery in use, and the knowledge 
gained in the use of refractory material and in the handling 
of steel, made the introduction of the open-hearth process 
easy as compared with the Bessemer. But the fact that 
it so modestly made its way into general use does not in any 
way detract from its great usefulness, and with the later 
introduction of the Thomas and Gilchrist basic process 
and its application to the Siemens furnace, the basic open- 
hearth process takes rank as the greatest metallurgical 
discovery of the age. 

Taking into consideration the character of our ores and 

coal, and their geographical location, its importance at once 

becomes manifest. It is the most important and valuable 

invention that has yet been made in the line of metallurgy. 

The ores that can be used in the basic open-hearth process 

are known to exist in almost every state in the Union, while 



the ores that are suitable to make good Bessemer steel, by 
the acid process, are very limited, so far as is known, the 
phosphorus of most American ores being too high for the 
Bessemer acid process. The rails that were being made in 
this country by the Bessemer process were generally in- 
ferior in quality, and the time was near when the railroads 
would demand a higher quality of rails, and they necessarily 
had to be made in the basic open-hearth furnace. The 
failure to make steel high in quahty is not due to the 
Bessemer process, but to the difficulty of procuring suitable 
ores, phosphorus being the most baneful element. This 
fact alone placed the basic process in the lead, where it will 
remain until some other startling process is discovered. 
The Thomas and Gilchrist basic process, the greatest metal- 
lurgical discovery of the age, in connection with the Siemens 
open-hearth furnace, has taken the lead of all other known 
processes in the manufacture of steel. 

In or about 187 1, Mr. Leach of Boston called on me at 
Bethlehem to have a talk over the Siemens regenerative 
gas furnace, for which he was the agent in this country. 
I wanted to use it in the Bethlehem plant. After he had 
agreed on the price I told him the roof was too low to get 
perfect combustion and that I would make it much higher. 
He at once said, " Do you pretend to know more than Dr. 
Siemens? " I told him, " No, I wish I knew half as much 
as he did." But I told him further that I had puddled and 
heated more iron than Dr. Siemens had, and had had more 
experience in rolling-mill practice where great heat was 
required ; but Mr. Leach was not wilHng to let me make any 
change in the construction. He went over to New York, 
called on Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, and told him what had 
passed between us in regard to the furnace. Mr. Hewitt 
advised, " You go back to Bethlehem and tell Fritz to 
make any changes he wants." Mr. Leach returned to 


Bethlehem and told me exactly what Mr. Hewitt had said. 
We thereon compromised on a straight roof, but I didn't 
build it, as I knew it wasn't right. When we came to 
build the furnace I built it just as I wanted it, and it was 
eminently successful. 



In 1872 the writer built a blooming mill in Bethlehem, 
and ha\ing had the experience of both the Holle}^ mill at 
Troy and the Fritz mill at Cambria and a large rolling-miU 
experience, made some important changes, — making all 
the three rolls fixed, with grooves in the rolls corresponding 
with the work in reduction we wanted to put on each groove, 
avoiding the use of screws altogether, except for adjustment 
of the rolls, — a great saving in cost in construction and 
repairs. I had an aversion to cog gear of any kind, and 
the spur gears with idlers to keep the motion of the rollers 
in the proper direction, adopted in both the Holley and my 
brother's mill (at Cambria), had one serious defect. The 
gear on the roll to which the power was attached had to 
transmit the power to drive all the rolls in the table, the 
power being transmitted from the first roller to the second 
by an idler, and so on to the last roll in the table. The 
strain increased until it was so difiicult to keep things in 
order that some change in the system of driving the rollers 
was necessary, and there was no practical way of doing it 
without the use of cog gear of some form. In the spur-gear 
system the idler was necessary, but the idlers gave so much 
trouble, and they became such an abominable nuisance, 
that some device had to be adopted to get rid of them. As 
it was impossible at that time to drive the mill without cog 
gear in some form, I adopted the mitered system and put 
a miter-gear wheel on the end of each roller shaft in the 
table, as large in diameter as could be readily put in, then 



placed a shaft in line with the center of the rollers, and 
parallel with the table; on this shaft I put a wheel cast off 
the same pattern as on the rollers to gear into each wheel 
on the rollers in the table, the shaft transmitting the power 
separately to each roller in the table, instead of driving all 
the rollers through a system of idlers from one driven spur 
wheel on the first roller in the table, thus avoiding the tre- 
mendous strain on the first gear, the great amount of 
friction, the great expense in repairs, the loss of time while 
repairs were being made, and a great waste of power. 

The power used for driving the rollers in the table was 
taken from the same engine that drove the train. It was 
transmitted to the rollers by a belt on the flywheel shaft, 
which drove a horizontal shaft that conveyed the power 
to a set of friction clutches properly secured to the roll 
housing, which, in turn, connected with a square vertical 
shaft on which was placed a bevel cog-gear wheel, loose, 
which geared into a wheel on the shaft of one of the end 
rollers on the table, it becoming the driver, through the 
idlers, of all the rollers in the table. The reversing of 
rollers in the tables was done by friction clutches, which were 
always a source of trouble. The raising and lowering of 
the tables at that time was a most difficult problem to solve. 
They had to be moved up and down a distance equal to the 
diameter of the working rolls, at that time about thirty-two 
inches, and they had to run at any point within this dis- 
tance, both back and forth. It was this which caused so 
much trouble and expense. It was not possible to do this 
with machinery for driving a positive fixture, and it must in 
some way have a yielding point automatically adjusted. 

The first and most important thing was to get rid of the 
idlers, and by the use of the parallel shaft and miter gear 
we most effectively obviated them. The next thing to do 
was to get rid of the friction clutches, which were a great 


source of trouble, and also of all the complicated machinery 
for conveying the power to the rollers in the tables. The 
next and most important thing to do to make the bloom- 
ing mill a grand success was a plan to convey the power 
to the rollers that would permit the raising and lowering 
of the tables and would at the same time drive them at any 
and all points within the travel of the tables. The device 
must be automatic, simple, and effective. All these com- 
binations made quite a difficult problem to solve. A 
number of plans were suggested in my mind, and were well 
thought over, but all lacked the one all-important element 
of sim.plicity, which I had in view when we started to build 
the mill. 

I destroyed all the bridges as I crossed over them. One 
plan was to use the power from the main engine to drive 
the rollers in the table. The friction clutches for driving 
and reversing the rolls were another problem — both had 
to be arranged for. The power to be used for driving the 
table rollers must be separate and must be used for no other 
purpose whatever. A two-cylinder engine of the proper 
size was the most simple way of getting the power, and by 
making it reverse, the friction clutches were dispensed with 
and became a curiosity of the past. 

The only thing that remained to be done was to get some 
simple way of conveying the power from the engine to the 
table, and here for a time there seemed to be an insurmount- 
able difficulty in the way. As the rollers were not station- 
ary or fixed, having to move up and down, and to revolve at 
will in either direction, it was not possible to have a fixed 
or positive connection of the power between the engine and 
the table, as the distance between them increased and 
diminished as the table was raised or lowered. Many plans 
to get over this trouble were suggested and thought over, 
but all were complicated, and would surely be difficult 


to be kept in order — something that must be avoided. 
At this stage, things looked as if there was trouble ahead, 
and something had to be done, mechanically or otherwise. 

I now took into consideration that the variation in the 
distance between the driving and the driven points was 
short, say about eight feet, and I at once concluded to put 
a pulley on the engine and one on the horizontal shaft on 
the table which drove the rollers, and connect them with 
a belt, and put a tightener on the belt to keep it uniformly 
taut. The arrangement was so complete and so satis- 
factory that I felt somewhat abashed to think I had spent 
so much time over what seemed to be such a difficult 
problem, and yet in the end was so perfectly simple. But 
I remembered that Mr. Holley and my brother George, 
both able men, had each of them built a blooming mill, and 
had doubtless given the same problem much thought; and 
yet, since they used a complicated scheme for the same 
purpose, they could not have thought of anything so per- 
fectly simple. This was, in a measure, a panacea for my 
wounded feelings, as one of them was a dear friend and the 
other a brother. In the next mill that Mr. Holley built, he 
used a geared device so arranged as to accommodate the 
variable distance between the engine and the table, in place 
of belt and tightener; this answered the purpose equally 
well, and was much more mechanical. 

This blooming mill was a complete success and was ca- 
pable of doing a very large amount of work with moderate- 
sized ingots, such as were being used at the time it was built. 
But for large ingots and a great variety of work such as 
is being called for at this time, the reversing mill with 
adjustable top roll is preferable. 


After the steel plant was completed and doing splendid 
work, and well knowing the want and importance of a good 
structural mill, I turned my attention to that subject. At 
that time the flanges of the beams and channels were so 
narrow and the angle of the flanges so great that it was 
difficult to construct sections that had to be riveted to- 
gether; this was not only embarrassing to the engineer, but 
was an impediment in the advancement of his profession, 
and any difficulty that stands in the way of progress in any 
line of business should, if possible, be overcome. Con- 
sequently, I took up the subject of structural material and 
had drawings made of beams and channels, with wider and 
lighter flanges and with less angle, so that they could be 
punched without difficulty and be riveted together readily. 
I also designed a mill and rolls that would roll them out of a 
square steel ingot. In fact, the sections and manner of 
rolling standard shapes that I then proposed were practi- 
cally what is being done at the present time. 

I showed the whole scheme to some of our ablest engineers, 
and they indorsed it most emphatically, and urged me to 
get the Bethlehem Iron Company to go into the business. 
One of the oldest and ablest, Charles Macdonald, said that 
if they would, and would make shapes of sections such as I 
showed, he would put up at Bethlehem a structural machine 
shop for the manufacture of members of bridges and build- 
ings and equip it with tools, and the conveniences for han- 
dling and facilitating the work, that would surpass any 



shop of the kind there was in the country. I urged the com- 
pany with all the eloquent language I could command, but 
with no effect. Then I tried compulsion, by saying it 
was absolutely essential for the permanent success of the 
company to have some diversity in their business. This 
raised a question, and I was asked if I knew how many tons 
of structural material was made in a year in the country. 
I told them I did not know, and did not care, but there was 
one thing I did know, — that there was not a proper section 
of beams or channels in the country, or a proper mill to roll 
them, that the use of structural material for building pur- 
poses was in its infancy, and that steel was the material 
that was going to be used for the purpose, in the near future. 

When the steel plant was built I arranged for a mill that 
small sizes of beams and channels could be rolled on, and 
also put up a mill that larger ingots could be rolled on, so 
as to make the proper shapes to roll the larger sections of 
beams and channels out of, knowing that in France they 
were rolling beams of great width with thin and wide flanges. 
This fact greatly increased my desire to go into the business, 
as wide sections with wide flanges were what were wanted 
in the engineering line. But it was no use, and some of the 
directors said I was never satisfied, but must be at some- 
thing new, and could not let well enough alone. So for the 
time I let the subject drop. 

Some years later, when the Gray and York system of roll- 
ing wide sections with wide, thin, and parallel flanges first 
came up, I at once investigated the principle, and to my mind 
it appeared a much more complete system than the French, 
and I once more ventured to call the attention of our people 
to the plan. The mention of it, however, met opposition, 
and I thought it best not to pursue the subject further. 

Some years later, one of the directors (a railroad man) 
came to me, saying, " You iron men are the most incon- 


sistent men in the country." I said, " What now? " He 
said, " You are at all times preaching protection, and I now 
want some four-by-six-inch angles and cannot get them 
short of going to England for them." I ventured to say 
rather facetiously, " If you had let me go into the structural 
business, you could get any shapes you wanted." I then 
said, " How long do you want them? " He said, "It is 
useless to talk about them. I have tried all the best mills 
in the country and they can't make them." " Well," I 
replied, " tell me how long you want them and in less than 
two weeks' time you will have them in any lengths you want 
them, and you can't get them from England at best short 
of four weeks." I at once ordered a set of rolls turned up, 
and in about the time named we sent for him to come and 
see the four-by-six-inch angle, some eighty feet in length, 
and see if it was all right, and would suit him. He came to 
see it and was much pleased with it. He said he would give 
us a list of what he wanted and give us the order, and said 
he thought the longest of them would be between fifty and 
sixty feet. I told him we could roll them one hundred feet 
if he should want them. This was the first four-by-six-inch 
angle that was rolled in this country. They were rolled in 
the old mill on the twenty-one-inch train, and I must con- 
fess we were all a little proud of the result. 

The Bethlehem Iron Company made many mistakes, but 
their refusal to go into the manufacture of structural mate- 
rial at the time alluded to was to my mind the greatest. 
Later Mr. C. M. Schwab acquired the entire property, and 
erected a structural steel plant, which is now in success- 
ful operation. 

Shortly after I had failed to get the company to go into 
the rolling of structural material, I suggested the propriety 
of building a plate mill, as plates of large size and high-grade 
in quality and finish were wanted. I said that in the 


future ships of all kinds and classes would be built of iron 
or steel, and the demand for plate must necessarily be great. 
In talking with one of the directors, who was a large stock- 
holder, I found him favorably inclined toward the project, 
so much so that I concluded to get up a complete set of 
drawings of a mill and a general plan for the layout, I 
knew that plates were in demand, and the demand was sure 
to increase, and there was great money in the business. I 
thought it would be well to have a set of drawings and 
ground plan made, but the plate-mill scheme, for the time, 
came to an abrupt end. 


Atter the failure to get the company to go into the 
manufacture of structural material and the plate business, 
I concluded that it would be well to give them time for 
consideration before making any further suggestions. 
Some one or two years later I called the company's atten- 
tion to the fact that there was not a forge plant in the 
country where a ten-inch shaft could be properly forged. 
The heaviest hammers that were in use for forging were of 
about ten or twelve tons, but they were entirely too light 
for heavy forging. In order to make the blow more effec- 
tive, steam was used on the top of the piston, which for 
forging heavy shafting was worse than useless, as the blow 
is so quick that the center does not receive the full force 
of it, and the tendency is to create longitudinal seams and 
circumferential cracks; the center, not receiving the full 
force of the blow, is in a measure elongated by the tension 
of the outer portion of the shaft. Knowing this to be the 
fact, I did not use either wrought-iron or steel shafting that 
was forged under a light hammer, but always, where great 
strength was required, used air-furnace castings made out 
of the best cold-blast charcoal iron that it was possible to 
get, and in my long experience I never had one fail. In 
some instances, where iron forgings failed we replaced them 
with air-furnace castings, and they gave no trouble. 

I have known wrought-iron forged shafts to fail and be 
replaced by cast-iron shafts which never gave any trouble, 
and a person giving the subject any serious consideration 
will see at once why a cast-iron shaft should be safer and 



better than one of wrought iron as they used to be forged. 
In the first place, by the use of good iron, intelligently 
melted, in an air furnace, you can get a tensile strength of 
32,000 pounds per square inch, and with a proper sink-head 
you can get a practically solid casting, and I might add, 
homogeneous and close in the grain; while, as I have already 
stated, the forged shaft of that day would in all probability 
be unsound in the center and coarse-grained, and its tensile 
strength Uttle greater, if any, than cast iron. 

I shall now refer to a single experience I had, believing 
that a brief description giving the reasons why I used 
wrought-iron and steel shafts in place of cast iron, which 
had for over forty years served me well, will be both in- 
teresting and instructive. 

The reason for using wrought iron and steel in place of 
cast iron was that I wanted a three-throw crank for a 
three-cylinder engine, and I had to use a built-up crank, 
as at that time I could not get any other in this country. 
As the stroke of the engine was rather short, it reduced the 
distance from center of shaft to center of crank pin, so that 
the shafts had to be kept down to the smallest possible size, 
in order to get sufficient metal between the holes to give 
the cranks the required strength between the shaft and the 
crank pin. 

As steel at that time was more expensive than wrought 
iron, I concluded to make the main shaft and first crank pin 
out of steel, and the others out of wrought iron. Not 
having at that time any overflow of confidence in either 
forged iron or steel shafts, and being anxious to get the best 
that could possibly be gotten, I consulted a friend, who was 
using steel shafts, and asked him where was the best place 
in this country to get them. He kindly advised me where 
to go for the steel shaft and crank pin, and I took his advice 
and ordered them. The iron shafts and pins were ordered 


from what I considered, at that time, the best forge plant 
in the country. 

Having had some previous experience, in a small way, 
with both metals, with results not altogether lovely, I 
thought it prudent to see in what condition the metal was 
in the center. In order to show this, a hole about four 
inches in diameter was bored through the center of them all, 
seven in number, five iron and two steel, and all were found 
to be unsound in the center. In the iron the imperfections 
ran longitudinally and the four-inch hole practically cleaned 
them out. The steel shaft, which was about fourteen 
inches in diameter and some twelve feet long, proved so 
unsound in the four-inch hole, as there were imperfections 
in the form of large cracks or circumferential openings, that 
the hole was enlarged to about six and one-half inches. 
Some of the imperfections were still visible. The position 
of the shaft was such, when in use, that, should it give way, 
it would not be likely to do any serious damage, so we con- 
cluded to use it. When the hole was bored through the 
steel crank pin, the imperfections showed so badly that we 
placed it on the planer and cut it in half lengthwise. It 
was full of circumferential cracks, some of them extending 
almost to the edge. It was frightful to a person who was 
contemplating the building of a forge plant, for the purpose 
of making steel forgings, as I was at that time. The result 
was not entirely unexpected, as my experience in making 
steel and in heating, rolling, and forging had already con- 
vinced me that it would require great skill and still greater 
care to prevent internal imperfections in the steel forgings, 
yet I was not prepared to witness anything approaching 
the condition which the spHtting of this forging revealed. 
This was a revelation to the engineers that saw it, and at 
the same time it furnished an argument in favor of a large 
forging plant that could not be gainsaid. 



The chemical analysis of the steel, if I remember correctly, 
was very good. There had been some blowholes in the 
ingot, as there are in too many of them. To my mind the 
trouble was almost entirely to be attributed to two causes. 
First, the ingot had been charged in a hot furnace and 

Fig. 8. — Section of Steel Shaft showing Imperfections in 

heated up too quickly, pulHng the center apart, thereby 
causing the cracks. Second, as the ingot was forged under 
a hght hammer, in all probability using steam on top of the 
piston (which gives a quick stroke and does not give the 
metal time to flow or to reach the center, thereby elongating 


the outside more rapidly than the interior), the imperfec- 
tions, whatever they might be, being the weaker parts, 
were drawn more rapidly than the more perfect parts of the 
ingot, consequently the imperfections were greatly aug- 

Mr. Durfee once read a paper before the Franklin Insti- 
tute, on the conditions which cause wrought iron to be 
fibrous and steel low in carbon to be crystalline, and a most 
admirable paper it is, and one which every maker and user 
of steel should read and study. In regard to unsound ingots, 
he says it is a common opinion that one of the reasons why 
steel forgings are often found hollow in the interior is the 
failure to work them under a sufficiently heavy hammer, 
but no hammer can do more than aggravate the evil of 
internal ruptures in ingots of steel. This is well said, and a 
truth that cannot be gainsaid. It was imperfect ingots, 
lack of knowledge in heating and forging, and also the want 
of skill to treat the forgings properly after they were made, 
that caused so many failures in steel forgings only a few 
years ago, and caused many people to think and believe 
that there was some mysterious uncertainty in the metal, 
and, consequently, to discard its use altogether. To some 
extent, this impression is still in existence. To my surprise, 
only a short time ago quite a prominent engineer told me 
that he was still using wrought-iron shafts. 

The experience with the steel shaft brought the system 
of hydraulic forging, before alluded to, most vividly to my 
mind again, but unfortunately Mr. Roberts, who was re- 
ferred to in a former chapter, was no more. Consequently 
I went to the Pencoyd Works, with which Mr. Roberts had 
been connected, but as he had died suddenly the matter 
had been dropped and I could get no information from them. 
I then went to see Mr. James Dougherty, the gentleman 
who went with Mr. Roberts to Vienna, but could get no 


information from him, as he said that what little he had 
known at the time of his visit had passed from his mind. 

This being the true condition of affairs, as they existed 
in the country, I concluded to try to get the directors to 
build a forge plant, using the foregoing in argument to 
prove that a good forge plant was a necessity, was practi- 
cable, and desirable. For a time I thought I was at last 
going to be successful, as the General Manager seemed to 
favor the project; but all at once he changed his views, 
giving as a reason that the President was opposed to going 
into anything new. The President was a nice old gentleman 
and I liked him very much; he was a man of commanding 
appearance, was intelligent, and could gain access to a busy 
railroad president when others less favored by nature and 
culture had to wait. He managed the business affairs of 
the company as they then existed most admirably, but in 
looking to the future it took a clear day for him to discern 
anything whatever that would be likely to make a change 
in the business of the company, consequently I was doomed 
to failure again. This was a dark hour for me. 

For a time the situation seemed hopeless, and had it been 
manly I would have given up the whole matter. But the 
condition of the country was such that it was apparent to 
my mind that a good forge and armor-plate plant was 
indispensable — I had armor plate in my mind from the be- 
ginning. Practically speaking, we were in a most defense- 
less condition, having neither a navy nor modern guns for 
land or coast defense. We were at the mercy of the world, 
— a disgraceful condition for a great nation to be in. But 
after every suggestion that I had made had been turned down, 
it seemed like a forlorn hope to attempt resurrection. Hav- 
ing fully considered the importance of a great forging plant 
to the country, I was well prepared to meet any objection. 

I then concluded that I would try our management from 


a patriotic standpoint, but that did not seem to take, as 
some of the directors belonged to a sect that was opposed 
to fighting in any way or manner. But I thought, from 
what some of the directors had previously said and what 
others did not say, that a strong presentation of the case 
might set them to thinking. 

Armor plate was one of the things the Government must 
have, and as iron was useless in front of modern steel shot 
and shells, steel must be the material that would be sub- 
stituted for it. We knew that for steel where close grain 
and hard surface were desired, as is required for armor 
plates, the hammer was superior to rolls or press. The 
face of the armor should be close-grained and harder than 
the back, and as the hammer side of a plate is closer in 
grain than the anvil side, a plate made under a hammer 
would be harder on one side than a plate made in the rolls 
or press. Therefore, the hammer was then superior to the 
rolls or press for armor plates. (This was before the inven- 
tion and introduction of the Harvey process.) This fact 
was somewhat encouraging, as there were no patents to 
interfere and we could build the hammer ourselves. I now 
brought the forge and armor plant to the front again, but 
was met by the old ghost of failure, sheriff, or assignee, or 
the argument " better let well enough alone," which is 
death to all progress. But some of the directors were not 
quite so outspoken against the scheme as formerly. 

About this time my friend, Mr. Charles Brodhead, told 
me about William H. Jaques, a bright young Lieutenant 
in the Navy, who was Secretary of the Gun Foundry Board, 
during its visit to Europe for the purpose of seeing the best 
plants for the manufacture of ordnance, and such other ma- 
terial as was necessary for the complete equipment of the 
United States Navy. Among the many plants they visited 
was Sir Joseph Whitworth's, where they were cordially 


received, and were most favorably impressed with the plant 
and what they saw. Up to the time of their visit no 
strangers had been permitted inside of the \\Tiitworth 
shops, but the Board were not only admitted into the shops 
but were shown everything they wished to see. Lieutenant 
Jaques got a contract from Sir Joseph Whitworth, giving 
him personally authority to build a plant in the United 
States, the Whitworth Works to furnish plans for the plant 
and build the forging presses, a fluid-compression press, the 
machine tools, and all the necessities for the equipment of 
a complete forging plant. To Lieutenant Jaques is due the 
main credit for our subsequent acquisition of the Whitworth 
system of forging. 

Some time after the Board returned home, Lieutenant 
Jaques came to Bethlehem to talk over the subject of 
building a forge plant at Bethlehem, imder his contract 
with Sir Joseph Whitworth. This was just what I wanted 
and what the country in some way must have. I well knew 
it would be the fight of my life to carry it through, as it 
was a forlorn hope, but I made up my mind to enter the 
arena with sleeves rolled up to do or die, as something must 
be done. I could plainly see the end of the acid Bessemer 
everywhere, and especially with us, as the company had let 
every ore property that was available and suitable for the 
Bessemer process pass beyond their control, and the end 
was in sight. 

When Mr. Jaques was in Bethlehem he was introduced 
to Mr. Alfred Hunt, who was at that time President of the 
Bethlehem Iron Company. Mr. Hunt was very much of 
a gentleman and knew how to meet any person from a king 
to a beggar. Of course, he treated Mr. Jaques politely, 
but said little that was in any way encouraging; he finally 
said the subject was " significant," and that he would bring 
it before the directors but without recommendation. 


The Board meeting was held monthly, and so it happened, 
as I remember, that it was some ten days or two weeks 
before a meeting would take place. In the meantime, there 
was much talk between the directors, singly and myself, 
but it seemed to have but little if any effect. At length the 
time of the regular Board meeting came, but what they 
said I did not know. After the meeting was over I talked 
with the directors singly again. Some of them thought the 
Lieutenant was bright but young and inexperienced and 
not a safe adviser, as he knew nothing in regard to the 
practical working of such a plant; they said it was so dif- 
ferent from what we were doing that we would have to 
teach all new men, which would be very costly, and they 
could not see where the work to keep such a vast plant as I 
wanted to build was to be secured, and did not know where 
the money was to come from to build it, and the chances 
were, it would be a failure and the whole plant would get 
into the hands of the sheriff or assignee, or some other 
ghostly bugaboo. 

But I was favorably impressed with what Mr. Jaques told 
me about the plant, what Whitworth's works were doing, 
and how kindly the Gun Foundry Board had been treated 
by the people connected with those works, and with the 
fact that Mr. Jaques had a contract giving him permission 
and all necessary information to build a plant in the United 
States. This was more than I ever expected could be 
gotten from the Whitworth people, as their policy up to that 
time had been to keep everything secret. As there seemed 
some doubt in the minds of some of the directors as to 
Lieutenant Jaques' being able to form a correct opinion of 
what he had seen, I proposed to our President and General 
Manager to let me go over to Whitworth's and investigate 
the whole subject thoroughly; but they did not seem to 
take any interest whatever in the matter, saying the project 


was premature, and they looked upon it as a vague experi- 
ment, that would surely end in trouble. But, as at Cam- 
bria, my mind was made up that something had to be done 
or trouble would surely come, so I urged the company to 
let me go over to Whitworth's to see for myself and meet 
Jaques there. This finally they did, but very reluctantly. 

As soon as I had their consent to let me go, I got things 
about the works in the best shape that was possible, so that 
I could remain from home for a month or so. In this con- 
nection, the General Manager one day placed his hand on 
my shoulder and said, " John, you have done more than 
any other man to draw us into this wild scheme, and I am 
going to hold you responsible for the result." I was not 
discouraged by this, and I told the General Manager that 
I would assume the responsibility, and that I had much 
more at stake than he had. I said I well knew that it was 
a great undertaking, and, indeed, compared with the then 
existing plants in the country, what I wanted was truly 

On the second, third, and fourth days out, if I could have 
been landed on the American side of the Atlantic, it is quite 
likely I would have done so, but on the fifth day I had 
gotten into a better frame of mind and stomach, and by 
the time I arrived in Liverpool I was as full of enthusiasm 
as ever on the subject of my mission. 

On my return I reported to the directors. As I had had 
several disappointing failures to get the company to look 
forward to a change in their business, and well knew that 
they must, in some measure at least, make a change, and 
as Lieutenant Jaques had secured the right for the use of 
the Whitworth patents for hydraulic forgings, and as I had 
talked the subject over with the directors at various times 
without any success and but Uttle encouragement, I now 
told them most emphatically that something must be done 


at their next Board meeting, which was to take place in a 
few days. 

At the next meeting they took the subject up, and after 
most seriously talking it over they sent for me to come to 
the meeting. This I did, and I found them looking as if 
they were about to bury the last friend they had on earth. 
They had their say, all but one. They generally thought 
it was a wild and visionary scheme; it would take a vast 
amount of money, and they could not see where the money 
was to come from, and failure was sure to take place. 
Some said we had been making money and they could see 
no reason for a change. They asked what I had to say. I 
replied: " I have given you my views so often and so frankly 
that it seems to me useless to repeat them. I will, however 
say that you have turned down everything that I have 
suggested, and you are up against the last that I have to 
suggest. Some of you say, Let well alone. I say that in 
this case such a policy will be suicidal. Some of the direc- 
tors have their doubts of my abiUty to carry through a job 
of such magnitude. Now, gentlemen, I wish to say to you 
all that I have given this proposition mature consideration, 
and from three standpoints. First, it is of the utmost 
importance that the nation should have within its control 
just such a plant as it is proposed to build; it must have it 
and should have it at once. Second, the engineers of the 
country are greatly in need of it; there is not a forge plant 
in this country that can forge a good steel shaft. I have 
shown you individually the result of my effort to get a good 
steel shaft fourteen inches in diameter. It looked all right 
on the outside, but, knowing how it was forged, I had it 
turned up to size, outside diameter, and cut in two length- 
wise, and it showed such internal seams and cracks that it 
could not be used; the second one we bored a five-inch hole 
through longitudinally and found it unsound all the way 


through. The third and last consideration is the com- 
mercial or financial one; this is the one that we are most 
vitally interested in, and I am confident that a plant such 
as I propose will be a paying investment and an honor to 
us all. Now, to prove to you my confidence in it, I will 
agree to carry my share of the capital as far as it is possible 
to do so, and further I will say if I had the money I would 
put in five hundred thousand dollars." 

After this Mr. Wilbur beckoned me to come out. He 
then said to me, " You seem to have confidence in the plan." 
I told him if I had not I would not have talked as I did. 
He said, " If the Government should want no work, would 
there be work in the country to keep the forging plant 
busy? " I said, " Not to-day, but put the forging plant up 
and let the engineers know what they can get and then 
wants will soon grow up to it." He then said, " We will 
build the plant." 

I at once went to work, having the plans of buildings and 
machinery well thought over, and had drawings made for 
the largest and most complete plant that had ever been 
designed for such a purpose, and the work was completed 
as planned. 


Soon after our Civil War I gave the subject of armor 
plate much thought. As experiments had proved that iron 
was practically useless in front of modem steel shot or shell, 
the question naturally came up, What is the best material 
to use, and the proper method to adopt for its manufacture? 
The officials of the navies of the world were much agitated 
over the subject, and various modes of manufacture were 
suggested. The one most favored was what was after- 
wards known as the compound plate. In addition to 
armor plate, I had given guns, forgings, and large shafting 
much thought, and could clearly see that a forging plant 
capable of doing this class of work in the best possible 
manner was of the utmost importance to the Government 
and the manufacturing interests of the country at large. 
Both were in a humiUating condition. Practically speak- 
ing, we had no navy or guns of sufficient power for coast 
defense, and no plant to make them. Our seacoast cities 
and towns and our foreign commerce were all at the mercy 
of the navies of the world. The then existing conditions 
were disgraceful to a great nation. 

At that time the civilized nations of the world, which 
required a navy, were giving the subject of guns and armor 
plate much thought. Many different methods for making 
the latter were suggested, and some of them patented. 
There are two things in the construction of armor plate 
that must be reckoned on: first, the face must be hard, so 
as to break the point of the shot; second, the back must be 



strong in order to resist the force of the blow, without 
breaking. The latter was a most difficult problem to solve. 

The English navy adopted the compound system, with 
soft back of wrought iron or low-carbon steel, and high- 
carbon steel on the front or face of the plate. There were 
three ways of combining the metals, that seemed to be the 
favorites; the results were all the same, but different plans 
were devised to accomplish the same result. One was to 
form a mould of the proper material to stand the heat of 
the molten steel, and of the proper size to make the finished 
plate. This was placed on edge in the floor ; then a wrought- 
iron or a soft-steel plate of the proper size to make the plate, 
but less in thickness than the pattern, was put in a heating 
furnace and heated to a welding heat, and placed in the 
mould, close to one side ;j this left a space which was filled 
with hard steel to make the face of the plate. This all had 
to be done in the quickest time possible, in order to get the 
adhesion of the two metals on which the value of the plate 
largely depended. When it cooled to the proper tempera- 
ture, it was taken to the rolls or the press, and was finished 
to the proper thickness, then to the machine tools, and was 
finished to the proper si2e for the vessel. 

A large amount of money was expended on these experi- 
ments, which were wrong in both theory and practice. In 
the first place, the plates were not welded perfectly, which 
was essential in order to make a good armor plate ; then the 
soft back was a mistake, as it was not at all possible to get 
the required strength with soft metal to support the back 
against the shock; and great strength in the back of an ar- 
mor plate is an all-important element, and one that is most 
difficult to get. My first thoughts on the subject soon led 
me to think that a soKd steel plate was the best, and that 
good steel was the best material. When I first wanted the 
company to build a forge plant and put in a hammer, I had 


the solid steel armor plate in my mind. The hammer is 
the best system of forging to get close-grained metal. 

The efficiency of the Navy would depend on high-power 
guns and on an armor plate that would resist solid steel 
shot fired out of a steel gun at a high velocity. Any plate 
that would not stand this test was worse than useless. 
Consequently, it was idle to think for a moment of ever 
making a wrought-iron armor plate that would be effective 
under such conditions, to meet the improvements that had 
been made in. guns and projectiles. 

At the time the Bethlehem Iron Company took the 
subject up, all Europe was speculating and experimenting 
on various devices, hoping to find something that would 
meet the conditions. Among the many plans, the com- 
pound plate above described seemed to be the favorite. 
To my mind it was clear that an armor plate could not be 
made on that principle that would stand the shock of a 
solid forged oil-tempered steel projectile, at the velocity 
specified by the Navy Department. 

The ideal armor plate, I was convinced, should be made 
out of one solid piece of steel, the ingot being cast large 
enough to give sufficient work in forging to properly close 
the grain to prepare it for annealing and tempering. But 
how such a plate would stand the ballistic test could only 
be solved by actual experiment ; there were diverse opinions 
on this point, but generally unfavorable, and the only way 
to demonstrate it would be by actual experiment, which 
at that time would have been very expensive, as there were 
no means of forging and treating the plate, or proper tools 
for shaping it. 

About this time Mr. Schneider, of the Creusot Works 
in France, was experimenting in making solid steel plates, 
forging them under a hundred-ton hammer. This being 
to my mind the only way to make a good armor plate, 



Lieutenant Jaques and I went to their works to see what 
they were really doing. We spent several days there, saw 

Fig. 9. — One Hundred and Twenty-five Ton Steam Hammer, 
Bethlehem Iron Company. 

them forge a plate, and thoroughly investigated the work 
they had done and the results attained. While not fully sat- 
isfied, yet both Lieutenant Jaques and I had sufficient faith 


in the process to agree that on our return home we would 
recommend the Bethlehem Iron Company to make some 
arrangement, if possible, whereby they could use the Creusot 
patents and the benefit of their secrets and their experience. 
This we did, and we explained to the directors all we had 
seen and what had been accomplished, and strongly urged 
them to take the subject up and learn what arrangements, 
if any, could be made. They listened to us, but with 
seeming indifference. However, in a short time after this 
meeting, and after some delay and much talk, the Board 
concluded to take up the subject. They did this, but could 
not come to an agreement. 

Mr. Jaques and I were sent to Paris to meet Mr. Schnei- 
der and learn if any arrangement could be made that would 
be satisfactory to both parties. This was in the summer of 
1887. We met in Mr. Schneider's office with his lawyer, 
and after a somewhat formal introduction the subject was 
taken up by Mr. Jaques and the lawyer in the French 
language. I could not understand a single word either of 
them said, but I was very proud of Jaques; he kept cool 
and could talk as fast as that French lawyer could. 

Mr. Schneider was a thorough gentleman. I thought I 
could see that he was not pleased with all that his lawyer 
said, and he would occasionally speak to me in a way that 
confirmed my thoughts. After a time I got tired listening 
to a talk of which I could not understand a word that was 
said, and got up and walked into an adjoining room. In a 
few minutes Mr. Schneider followed and said to me, "Should 
we fail this time to come to some understanding, will this 
end the negotiation? " I told him that I was not authorized 
to say so, but my opinion was that it would. After some 
further conversation on the subject, on matters of detail, 
he said he would accept, and have an agreement made in 
accordance with the understanding we had just arrived at. 


Having completed our mission, I returned home, and 
reported to the Board of Directors what we had done. 

While I did not have the honor of being a member of the 
Peace Commission appointed by the President of the United 
States to proceed to Paris to settle the difficulties between 
our country and Spain, yet I had the honor of being ap- 
pointed by the President of the Bethlehem Iron Company, 
a member of this Commission, and ordered to proceed to 
Paris, and in company with Lieutenant Jaques, if possible, 
to negotiate a treaty with the Messrs. Schneider of Creusot, 
for the right to use all their patents and their secrets, that 
might be useful in the manufacture of armor plate on the 
Creusot principle. 

After negotiations were completed with Messrs. Schneider 
of La Creusot, in accordance with our instructions we went 
to England to visit the Whitworth Works. As I had been 
requested by our President to return home as soon as pos- 
sible, I sailed for the United States on the first ship leaving 
Liverpool after the completion of our labors, happy in the 
consciousness that we had secured the Creusot contract. 
After a somewhat tempestuous voyage, otherwise unevent- 
ful, I landed in New York; as the mission had been a secret 
one, there was no reception committee, not even a news- 
paper reporter, or a special train for Bethlehem. There 
was neither wining nor dining, not even a warm reception. 
Neither was there any indication that the people at large 
took any interest whatever in the great work we had ac- 
complished, but I did not take the indifference of the people 
to heart, being conscious that we had done our duty, and 
had accomplished a great and far-reaching work, the result 
of which is now widely known; and to the wisdom, fore- 
sight, and progressiveness of the President, Directors, and 
Executive Officers of the Bethlehem Iron Company, and 
to the intelligent, indomitable energy and determination of 



Fig. 10. — Fourteen Thousand Ton Hydraulic Forging Press, 

Built by the Bethlehem Iron Company. Two Cylinders, 

Each Fifty Inches in Diameter. 

its employees, manifested in the construction of the plant, 
is the credit largely due for making it possible for the Gov- 
ernment to achieve the glorious victories in our late war 
with Spain. 


After the contract, which had been mailed from Paris 
by Lieutenant Jaques, had been acted upon by their law- 
yer, the Board of Directors accepted it. 

Some of my ablest engineering friends had urged me not 
to undertake the building of an armor plant, saying I was 
not justified in assuming so great a risk, and that, should 
failure occur, my reputation as an engineer would surely be 
ruined. In reply I told them that the same argument had 
been used to try to prevent me from making the changes 
and improvements which I had made at Cambria Iron 
Works, and which were eminently successful. I also told 
them that I was well satisfied I could build the plant and 
make it go all right, and that it was just such a plant as the 
engineers of the country wanted. In addition, the ship- 
building trade was at that time quite active, and all the 
shafting and heavy forgings were being made abroad, 
generally at Krupps', and also the heavy forgings for both 
Army and Navy, and the gun forgings for both. 

The Bethlehem plant was the first to be erected for the 
purpose of making armor plate for the United States 

After a great deal of worry and anxiety we succeeded in 
making several hundred tons of plates which to our joy stood 
the Government test, although these tests were not so severe 
as they were afterwards, but much more difficult for us, as 
armor plate was then made, than the more severe tests that 
later on were imposed on us by the Government. 

In this connection I recall an anxious day I once spent. 
After we had the works partially erected, and had made an 
expenditure of a large amount of money, the Cammell 
people got our Government to believe that it was impossible 
to make a solid steel plate that would stand the test, and 
the Government went so far as to order a Cammell com- 
pound plate, and a Creusot soHd steel plate, the latter 




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made at the Creusot Works in France, and they were tested 
by the Government at Annapolis. 

This trial was the source of great anxiety. While I had 
entire confidence in solid steel plate, yet if by any chance 
the compound plate should stand the test, and the soUd 
steel plate fail, from any cause which might have occurred 
in its manufacture, the money which we had spent would 
have been practically lost, as our arrangements would have 
been of little use in the manufacture of compound plates. 
On the day of the trial Lieutenant Jaques was sent to 
Annapolis to witness the test. Expecting to hear from him 
at about two or three o'clock, and not hearing from him, my 
anxiety increased. At six o'clock I went home from the 
works with a terrific headache. I got a cup of tea and a 
piece of toast, and lay down on the sofa, wondering what 
would be the consequences if the solid steel plate failed. At 
about eight o'clock a telegram came. My wife received it 
and said, " Here is a telegram for you." I said, " Open it 
and read it." She opened it, but said she could not read it. 
I asked her for what reason, and she said she did not under- 
stand it. I said, " What does it say? " She replied, 
" Compound something, knocked to smithereens." I got 
up, but waited anxiously to hear how the solid steel plate 
stood the test. The telegram said, " Solid steel plate stood 
the test." Imagine my rehef !! 

During the course of the evening I reflected on the 
pre\'ious trial of the Creusot and compound plates made 
at Spezzia, Italy. In that test the compound plate failed. 
The solid steel plate cracked, but kept the shot out, and 
I concluded that it would be much better to have the plate 
crack and keep the shot out, than to let the shot go through 
the plate without cracking. Knowing, as I did, that it 
was an exceedingly difiicult point to just reach the limit 
that the shot could be kept out, and prevent the cracking 


of the plate, I was satisfied in my own mind that such a 
result could be reached, and it was reached. 

Later Mr. Harvey taught us all how to make the ideal 
armor plate with a hard face and strong back. This was 
a boon to the armor-plate manufactures, for which he 
should have received a Knighthood, but instead he was 
hounded by the manufacturers, by their refusal to pay him 
any royalty, resulting in a law suit which worried Mr. 
Harvey until his death. They fought his patent on the 
narrow principle that case-hardening was not new, and 
they were not generous enough to admit that a carbonized 
steel armor plate weighing fifty tons or upwards was a new 
article of commerce, but compared the carbonizing of a 
steel armor plate to the case-hardening of a Httle spring for 
a gunlock made out of iron, surrounded by some carbona- 
ceous material, such as the soft parings of horses' feet, 
leather of old shoes, or certain kinds of old hats, wrapped 
up in a ball of clay not much larger than a wasps' nest, 
presumably heated in a smith's fire, and let cool. This 
is what I did when a boy, many times. Yet this argu- 
ment was brought up to prove that his patent was invaHd. 

Up to the time the Bethlehem Iron Company commenced 
making gun forgings the gun hoops were made in short 
lengths. On the occasion of a visit to Bethlehem of Com- 
mander Folger, then Chief of Ordnance of the United States 
Navy, we discussed the merits of longer gun forgings, and 
we agreed that an improvement could be made over the 
guns that had been manufactured up to that time, if longer 
forgings were used. The Bethlehem plant was equipped 
for such forgings. The proposed change was made, and 
now guns are all made with much longer hoops, with a 
much better gun as a result. 

In 1897, by act of Congress, a Board known as the Armor 
Factojy Board was appointed for the purpose of investigat- 




ing the then existing plants and reporting to the Secretary 
of the Navy its findings, as to the desirability of having the 
United States construct, own, and operate its own armor- 
plate plant. This Board visited numerous steel companies 
of the country and urged that I help them as an expert. 
I had previously suggested some other engineers to serve 
them, but they insisted on my taking up this work. This 
I did, and after about three or four months of strenuous 
work, in connection with which I employed several engineers 
and draftsmen, I turned over to the Secretary of the Navy 
detailed plans and specifications and estimates of cost for 
the proposed plant. This in turn was reported to Congress 
at its next session. After consideration, the Government 
decided not to build the plant. 


In looking back to the date of my first connection with 
the iron business in October, 1838, over seventy years ago, 
it seems ahnost impossible for the mind to fully realize the 
improvements which have taken place in the iron and steel 
business, especially those that were commenced in 1854, 
and paved the way for the enormous production that in- 
creased the quantity made from 637,000 tons in 1854, to 
the enormous production of 24,000,000 tons in 1909. With 
all of this I have been contemporary, and I had much to do 
with the inventions and changes which have taken place 
during this remarkable period. A retrospect of whatever 
has taken place during my long career seems necessary, as 
I owe much to the wonderful progress that has been made 
in the arts and sciences and the growing interdependence 
of the various branches of the mechanic arts, as contrasted 
with their policy many years ago. 

It should not be forgotten that England is the home of the 
manufacture of iron and steel, and the birthplace of the 
Iron and Steel Institute, and much of our success is due to 
the information we gained from the invaluable papers read 
at their meetings, and the discussions that followed them. 
And here, at this late day, I call to mind many pleasant and 
instructive talks I had with the English and Welsh work- 
men who were employed at the Norristown Iron Works. 

I wish, also, to give credit to the brave and noble workmen 
who, throughout my long connection with the business, ever 
stood ready to meet any emergency, no matter what the 



danger or difficulty might be. All that needed to be said 
was " Come, boys," but never " Go, boys," and if the difficul- 
ties were not insurmountable they were sure to be overcome; 
too much credit cannot be given to these fearless and ener- 
getic men for the marvelous progress that has been made 
in the manufacture of iron and steel in this country. 

While we have properly received great credit for the 
unprecedented developments we have made in the iron and 
steel industry in the United States, we must not forget that 
it was the inventions of Cort, of Mushet, of Bessemer, of 
Siemens, and of Thomas that enabled us to accomplish 
such important results; and to them all civilized nations 
owe a debt of gratitude for the incomparable blessings their 
inventions have conferred on society. 

Yet few of us even for a moment think of the trials, 
troubles, disappointments, mental anxiety, and bodily toil 
these men had to undergo in the introduction and perfec- 
tion of their inventions, besides suffering the sneers and 
jibes of those who imagine that an inventor is nothing but 
a wild enthusiast, and treat him accordingly. The story 
of many inventors is truly pathetic, and none more so than 
that of the lamented Sidney Gilchrist Thomas. The per- 
sonal side of the story of the inventor of the basic process 
can only be appreciated by the reading of his life. He died 
February i, 1885, at the early age of thirty-four years. 

When I look back to my early days in the iron business 
long, long ago, it brings to mind one of the happiest periods 
of my life. 

How little do the younger men who now have charge of 
our great iron and steel industries know or even think of 
the severe mental strain, the great amount of bodily toil, 
the vexation, the surprises, and the disappointments that 
had to be endured by the men in charge during the erection 
and perfection of these vast establishments that are now 


engaged in the manufacture of iron and steel! And let me 
here say that this great work was not accomplished by 
command but by example. It was the men in training, 
before alluded to, who erected, perfected, and put in opera- 
tion these most marvelous enterprises of the age. And to 
these noble, brave, and energetic men the people of this 
country owe much for the far-reaching results they so 
thoroughly accomplished, which have already changed 
the social condition of our vast territory. They have 
furnished us with a material which for quahty, cheapness, 
and the quantity furnished in a given time is without 
parallel, and could not have been realized by any other 
known methods. Without it the building of transconti- 
nental railroads would have been almost impossible. Had 
the rails been made in the old way out of puddled iron, 
with the increased traffic on the Atlantic ends of the lines, 
they would have been worn out before the Pacific coast could 
have been reached. The credit does not end here. The 
reduction of freight rates, owing to the general use of steel 
rails, is so enormous that it was said by one of our most 
distinguished public men, the late Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, 
that the saving alone on the cost of transportation due 
to the use of steel in the place of iron would, if available, 
amount to a sum sufficient to pay our national debt in a 
comparatively short time. 

In addition to the use of steel for rails, the Great West is 
being fenced with steel at a cost that seems almost fabu- 
lously cheap, and this product is being used largely for many 
other purposes. It was formerly iron that was used for 
structural work, now it is steel ; and it has practically super- 
seded the use of wrought iron. Steel is largely used in the 
construction of all grades of machinery employed in the 
manufacturing arts. It is the base of our immense inland 
system of transportation. It is this imperial metal that 


has enabled the engineer to perform the daring and re- 
markable engineering feats which he has accomplished 
during the last half of the century; without it they would 
have been practically impossible. It is the material used 
in the construction of the monster floating palaces that 
cross the vast ocean with the regularity of a railroad train. 

Fifty years ago steel was a luxury to the engineer. 
Modern practice of steel making in the hands of the me- 
chanical engineer, the metallurgist, and the chemist has 
wrought wonders in producing a material which is used 
alike in the manufacture of articles of the most weighty, 
the rudest, and cheapest grades, and in the construction of 
the most intricate, the finest and most delicate implements 
and machinery. And it is boldly asserting its value and 
importance everywhere. 

It is to the invention, introduction, and perfection of the 
modern system of steel making in this country that we are 
indebted for the education of our people in the scientific, 
mechanical, and metallurgical arts, which has enabled us 
to build a navy respected by the nations of the world. 

We find steel asserting its value through every walk of 
life and extending through every clime, linking hands in 
bonds which gi-ow broader and stronger with the years, 
till even now we can see dimly on the horizon the promise 
of the universal brotherhood of man, the longed-for era 
of Eternal Peace. 


The foreword of my friend and colleague, Robert W. 
Hunt, contains one word which I would fain emphasize 
in this afterword as the keynote and moral of the life 
hereinbefore narrated. It is quite needless to point out 
that the story has been given from the standpoint, and in 
the words, of John Fritz himself, and that he has told it in 
characteristic unconsciousness of either keynote or moral. 
He, who never preached a sermon before, is not preaching 
a sermon now. But I may venture to do what he has not 
dreamed of doing; and my text shall be the word " integ- 
rity," as designating a dominant feature unwittingly ex- 
hibited by these reminiscences. 

In endorsing Mr. Hunt's ascription of integrity to John 
Fritz, I am not merely saying that he never stole money 
or told lies or accepted bribes. Praise for such negative 
virtues would be almost insult. I would give to " integ- 
rity " its original meaning of complete and invulnerable 
manhood. In this sense, it includes not only the self- 
respect which scorns dishonesty, but also the courage which 
asserts conviction, the ambition which accepts responsi- 
bility, the loyalty which ignores self-interest, and the energy 
which despises ignoble rest. In a word, it is noble, ardent 

No man achieves success by \drtue of his individual 
quahties only; and the Hfe of John Fritz shows plainly 
enough that he won advancement by impressing upon 
other men his fitness for their needs. In other words, he 



made friends, who became his sponsors or employers, and 
whose verdict upon his work now constitutes the basis of 
his fame. This is the normal career of merit under the 
system of individual liberty and responsibility. We have 
heard much, in these later days, of proposed reconstructions 
of society in which masses and classes are to be substituted 
as units for integral men. Yet no one denies the immense 
value to society of great achievements and inspiring ex- 
amples; and it is fair to ask of any new sociological phi- 
losophy whether, if put into operation, it could produce a 
man like John Fritz. 





In honor and respect of our esteemed member and 
ex- Vice President 


who, after long years of active duty as a Mechanical 
Engineer and as a noted Captain of Industry, seeks a rest 
well-earned, whose ever busy life began almost co-tempo- 
rary with the manufacture of iron in our Country, who 
through all its advancing stages imprinted upon it the marks 
of his thoughtful labors, who with his friend Holley stood 
beside the cradle of the newly born industry of steel making 
in the United States by the Bessemer and kindred processes, 
promoting its growth by his wide and varied experience, 
and crowning its highest achievements with the versatility 
of his genius and his rare good judgment, the Council of the 

American Society of Mechanical Engineers 

desire to make this minute. Endeared as he is to us indi- 
vidually, and to the Society we represent, we cannot per- 
mit this eventful occasion to pass without tendering him 
our love and respect, and without joining in a hearty wish 
for his future health and happiness, and without expressing 
the earnest hope that for years to come we may be aided 
by his counsel and encouraged by his genial good fellowship. 


Believing that his great warm heart will receive this shght 
tribute in the spirit in which it is tendered, we have the 
honor to subscribe ourselves the loving friends of 

John Fritz of Bethlehem. 

On behalf of the Council. On behalf of the Honorary 

Stephen W. Baldwin J. F. Holloway 

Carleton W. Nason George H. Babcock 

Andrew Fletcher Robert W. Hunt 

W. A. Perry Horace See 

J. E. Denton 
John Thomson 

Chas. H. Loring, President 

F. R. Hutton, Secretary 

Wm. H. Wiley, Treasurer 

New York City, August 21, 1892. 


Victoria Mansions, Victoria Street. 

London, S. W., July 29th, 1893. 
Dear Sir: 

I am instructed to inform you that at a meeting of the 

Council of the Iron and Steel Institute held yesterday, you 

were unanimously elected an honorary member of the 


The honorary members of the Institute now comprise: 

The Prince of Wales, 

The King of the Belgians, 

Professor Ackerman of Stockholm, 

The Hon. A. S. Hewitt, 

The Ritter von Tunner, 

and yourself. 

Journal No. 1-1893 of the Institute will be sent you 

directly it is pubhshed, early next month. 

I have the honor to be. 


Your obedient servant, 

Bennett H. Brough, 

John Fritz, Esq., 

Bethlehem, Pa., U. S. A. 



28 Victoria Street, 
London, S. W., November 19, 1909. 
My Dear Sir: 

Under the new Bye-laws of this Institute, it is within the 
province of the Council to elect Honorary Vice-Presidents 
from among the distinguished Members of the Institute 
who, by reason of residence outside Great Britain or other 
restraining cause, are precluded from taking an active part 
in the management of the affairs of the Institute. Ac- 
cordingly, I have the honour to inform you that, by a 
unanimous vote, the Council yesterday elected you an 
Honorary Vice-President, for Hfe, of the Iron & Steel Insti- 
tute, with the right to attend all Council Meetings whenever 
it may suit your convenience to do so. 

I hope to be able to send on to you shortly a card giving 
a list of all meetings in the year 1910. 
I have the honour to remain. 

Yours faithfully, 

G. C. Lloyd, 
John Fritz, Esq., M. A., D. Sc, 

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U. S. A. 




established 1869. 

Under the Presidency of His Grace the Duke 
OF Devonshire. 

This is to certify that John Fritz, a member of the 
Institute, was by the unanimous votes of the President and 
Council awarded the Bessemer Gold Medal for valuable 
services in connection with the manufacture of steel. 

Witness our hands and seal this 24th day of May, 


E. Windsor Richards, President. 

Bennett H. Brough, Secretary. 




Member American Institute of Mining Engineers 1872 

President American Institute of Mining Engineers 1894 

Member American Society of Mechanical Engineers 1882 

Vice-President American Society of Mechanical Engineers 188 2-1884 

Hon. Member American Society of Mechanical Engineers 1892 

President American Society of Mechanical Engineers 1895-1896 

Member American Society of Civil Engineers 1893 

Hon. Member American Society of Civil Engineers 1899 

Hon. Member Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain 1893 

Hon. Vice-President Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain 1909 

Hon. Member American Iron and Steel Institute 19 10 


Columbia University: A. M 1895 

University of Pennsylvania: D. Sc 1906 

Stevens Institute of Technology: D. Eng 1907 

Temple University : D. Sc 191 1 


Centennial Exposition Bronze Medal 1879 

Bessemer Gold Medal: Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain . . . 1893 

John Fritz Gold Medal: United Engineering Societies 1902 

Louisiana Purchase Exposition Bronze Medal 1904 

Ellicott Cresson Gold Medal: Franklin Institute 1910 


Member of Group i, Centennial Exposition 1876 

Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania 1896 

Hon. Expert on Iron and Steel, Louisiana Purchase Exposition 1922 


A CHAPTER in the long and active life of Mr. Fritz would 
remain unwritten if no reference were made to his relation- 
ship to Lehigh University. When that institution was 
established in 1866, the Founder, the Hon. Asa Packer, of 
Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, selected Mr. Fritz as one 
of the original trustees, well knowing that his practical 
experience would be of great value in directing the policy 
of the new college, which was to be devoted largely to in- 
struction in the arts of Mechanical and Metallurgical 

Mr. Fritz has maintained his trusteeship from the found- 
ing of the University up to the present time, with the excep- 
tion of a few years, during which, at his request, he was 
relieved of active participation in the affairs of the Uni- 
versity. He has always discharged the duties of his trustee- 
ship with the fidelity and devotion that are so characteristic 
of him, and he has contributed liberally to the support of 
the institution. 

One day in the spring of 1909, in talking with Dr. Henry 
S. Drinker, President of the University, he said: "I want 
to tell you something. In my will I have left Lehigh 
University a certain sum of money, to be expended in your 
discretion. I now intend to revoke that bequest. Yes, 
I'm going to revoke that bequest, and instead of leaving 
money for you to spend after I am gone, I'm going to have 
the fun of spending it with you and Charley Taylor. I 
have long watched the careers of a number of Lehigh gradu- 
ates, and I have been impressed by the value of the training 




they have received at Lehigh. But you need an up-to-date 
engineering laboratory and I intend to build one for you." 

No sooner had Mr. Fritz announced his intention than 
with characteristic activity, in spite of his eighty-seven 
years, he set about making the plans for the new laboratory. 
Various suggestions and ideas as to the most suitable plans 
and arrangements of the building were considered, archi- 
tects were consulted, but finally Mr. Fritz concluded that, 
for the purpose in view, he would be his own architect, and 
that the most appropriate structure would be a large oblong 
building with a high center and somewhat lower sides, 
substantially on the Unes of the large shop he had some 
years before built at the Bethlehem Steel Works. The 
outHne of the building can be seen in the accompanying 
picture. Such a building would provide the necessary 
essentials: adequate space, sufficient hght, and the logical 
arrangement of having the larger machines for heavy work 
in the center of the building and the Ughter and smaller 
machines at the sides. 

Not only did Mr. Fritz furnish the design of the new 
laboratory, but whenever possible he was on the University 
campus to superintend its erection. He also personally 
selected the greater part of the equipment. 

The Fritz Engineering Laboratory is of modern steel- 
frame mill construction, 94 feet wide and 115 feet long, 
with the main center section 65 feet in height and the 
two side sections of lesser height. The external walls 
which inclose the steel frame are of cement brick hned 
on the inside with red brick. A travehng crane, operated 
by electricity and of 10 tons' capacity, commands the 
entire central portion of the building, in which the testing 
of large specimens is carried on. Ample light has been 
provided for by numerous windows in the side and end 
walls, in the clerestory, and by a skylight 84 feet long and 


9 feet wide in the north roof. The main aisle of the build- 
ing is 49 feet 2 inches between centers of crane columns, 
and has a clear height of 40 feet. The remainder of the 
width is taken up by two sides aisles, 20 feet in height. 

The laboratory consists of four sections: (a) a general 
testing section containing the testing machinery, a small 
machine shop, and the office; (6) a cement testing room; 

(c) a room for making and storing concrete test specimens; 

(d) a hydraulic section. 

The testing section occupies the larger part of the western 
end of the building and contains all of the testing machines 
except the briquette machines, which are in the cement 
section. For facility in handhng the test specimens, a 
lo-ton crane, 47 feet 2 inches center to center of runway 
beams, operated by three direct-current motors, has been 
installed. A small machine shop, containing a drill press, 
lathe, milling machine, shaper, etc., operated by a 7.5 H.P. 
motor, is available for general repair work. 

The principal eqiiipment of the testing section proper is 
as follows: 

Type of Machine. Capacity in Pounds. 

Universal 800,000 








Tension and compression 20,000 

Wire tester 20,000 

Cold bend 1.5 inch diameter "bar 

Torsion 24,000 inch pounds 

The cement testing section occupies a separate room on 
the main-floor level. The equipment consists of tables for 
making cement specimens, storage tanks, briquette testing 










machines, and apparatus for making standard cement 

The concrete room is under the cement room and is used 
by the students for the construction of cubes, beams, and 
cylinders for testing; also for the construction of concrete 
columns, plain and reenforced, and concrete beams, of 
commercial size, which are tested for strength by the 
students. It is cormected with the main testing room by a 
hatchway through which the heavy specimens may be 
hoisted into the main room by the crane. The equipment 
consists of bins for sand and stone, mixer, and moulds. 

The hydraulic section occupies the northeastern portion 
of the building. The lower floor is 10 feet below the level 
of the testing room, the second floor or elevated platform 
is 10 feet above the testing-room level, giving 20 feet of 
clear height. 

The equipment on the lower floor consists of: 

I DeLaval centrifugal pump, 2000 gallons per minute 

against 60 feet head. 
I Atlantic HydrauUc Machinery Co. centrifugal pump, 
200 gallons per minute against 255 feet head. 

1 steel pressure tank, 65I inches_ in diameter by 34 

feet 6 inches high. 

2 steel caUbrating tanks, 8 feet in diameter by 12 feet 


3 steel weighing tanks, 4 feet in diameter by 3 feet 

I steel weir tank, 4 feet by 4 feet by 21 feet long. 
I Trump turbine. 
I Pelton water wheel. 
I Rife hydrauUc ram. 
The upper platform carries: 

I steel weir tank, 3 feet by 3 feet by 18 feet long. 
T steel tank, 6§ feet wide, 3 feet deep, ly^- feet long. 


The equipment also includes pressure, mercury, oil, and 
hook gauges, meters, scales, and so on. 

All electricity for lighting and for power for the testing 
machines and for the pumps is 2 -phase 60-cycle alternating 
current at no and 220 volts. 

Instruction in testing of materials and hydraulics is given 
to students of Lehigh University. The equipment is used 
for thesis work in the Senior year, and is also used for 
making commercial tests of materials of construction for 

Frank P. McKlbben, 
Professor of Civil Engineering, 

Lehigh University. 

O o 

< a 







A Short Account of the Anniversary Dinner given to 
John Fritz, the Engineer, and of his Arrest, Trial^ 
AND Sentence, at the Opera House, Bethlehem, 
Pa., September 28, 1892.* 

'Twas in the early summer of '92 that two gentlemen, 
whose families were then in the Adirondacks, but whose 
business engagements in the city prevented them from being 
there as well, sat in the parlor of the Engineers' Club, 
enjoying their cigar. The phrase " enjoying their cigar " 
was purposely chosen because there were but one smoker 
and one cigar. The smoker evidently enjoyed the smoking, 
while the looker-on enjoyed seeing him smoke, and in 
watching the curling wreaths as they slowly floated upward. 

" Do you know," said the smoker, as he came back from 
dreamland long enough to tip with the end of his Uttle 
finger the dead ashes from off his cigar, " that Uncle John 
Fritz will be seventy years old in August? " 

" Yes," said the non-smoker; " I had heard of it, and I 
also heard it hinted that he meant after that date to unload 
himself of a part of the labors and cares he has so long 
borne in connection with the great establishment he has 
been connected with for so many years." 

" Well, I don't know about that," said the smoker, who 
with half-closed eyes seemed to be looking backward into 
the past; " but I tell you what I think, and that is, that the 
Engineers and other friends of Mr. Fritz ought not to let 
such an occasion pass without in some way recognizing the 

* Reprint of a pamphlet compiled and published for private circulation 
following the dinner to Mr. Fritz at Bethlehem, Pa., September 28, 1892, 
signalizing the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of his birthday. 



event, and in some way honoring the man, who, by his 
kindly, loving disposition, his untiring industry, and his 
rare mechanical genius, has done so much for the company 
he is connected with, and for the profession of engineering, 
of which he is so conspicuous a member." 

" Well, that's an idea that does you credit," said the 
non-smoker, as he took a sniff out of the ascending wreath 
of incense as it took its upward flight, " and I not only 
agree with you myself, but I am certain that all over this 
broad land are friends of John Fritz who would do so also, 
and who, I know, would be glad to join in any scheme that 
had such an end in view." 

So in the gathering twilight of the summer day these 
two gentlemen at their club talked over a variety of things, 
which, if they could be brought about, would accomplish, 
as they thought, the desired purpose. One was to invite 
Mr. Fritz to come to New York and give him a dinner at 
the club ; but the objection to this was the inviting a gentle- 
man away from his home on his birthday. Another plan 
was to present him through the means of a committee with 
a testimonial of some kind. The objection to this was that 
it would not bring his friends together where they could 
shake him by the hand and offer him their individual con- 
gratulations. Then it was proposed that a few friends 
should go to Bethlehem and have a dinner at a hotel, to 
which he should be invited, and this seemed to be the most 
feasible of all; but it was not forgotten that the person 
whom it was proposed to honor was extremely modest, and 
shy of demonstrations of every kind, and that, in view of 
this fact, it would be best to catch our hare before preparing 
it for a banquet, and the conclusion arrived at was that in 
some way the consent of Mr. Fritz must be obtained before 
anything could be done, and as the cigar had burned to the 
end the two conspirators went out into the electric-Ughted 


Broadway and leisurely sauntered homeward, thus ending 
this, the first chapter. 

As Mr. Fritz was not a smoker and could not be in- 
fluenced by the tender of a cigar, be it never so fragrant, 
it was decided that the non-smoker should make the trip 
to Bethlehem and undertake the somewhat difficult task 
of obtaining his consent to a dinner or a demonstration of 
some kind. Understanding the difficulties of the mission, 
and knowing how fruitless the result would be, if it were 
so awkwardly managed as to elicit the irrevocable "No! 
I won't have it," the diplomat decided not only to approach 
Bethlehem by night, but when nearing it he further de- 
cided to pass on and land at Catasauqua, there to secure 
the aid of a renowned citizen of that borough whose per- 
suasive powers had made him famous. The Catasauqua 
citizen entered into the conspiracy with the ardor and zeal 
for which he stands in high repute. He offered at once to 
" hitch up " and drive over to Bethlehem and aid in the 
assault upon that peaceful hamlet. Under cover of the 
darkness the journey was begun, and as the lively team 
sped over the smooth country road, the various methods 
of making the assault were talked over, and, as now re- 
membered, at the beginning of the journey there was no 
doubt whatever on the part of anyone but that the consent 
could be obtained without the least difficulty; but the 
nearer they came to Bethlehem the less certain this seemed 
to be, until at the last, as the clattering hoofs of the team 
awakened echoes in those quiet streets, these doubts had 
grown to such an extent that it was deemed best not to 
approach the home of the victim until further assistance 
could be had from near neighbors and personal friends. So 
driving about for a time, a home was found which it was 
said was the residence of an influential friend, but the 
premises looked suspiciously dark. However, the Catasau- 


qua ally jumped out of the carriage, rang the door bell, and 
after a long wait was told that the family were all away at 
the seashore. Coming back to the carriage, a further 
council was held, and, while there were other houses where 
other friends lived, it was doubtful if they were at home, so 
it was suggested, why not go at once to Mr. Fritz's house 
and have it out with him? "Why not?" "Why! yes; 
of course," said the other. And the corner was turned, 
and soon the team was tied up in front of that most hospi- 
table mansion, where, under the shelter of the wide and 
pleasant veranda, Mr. and Mrs. Fritz, in the calm quiet 
of the summer evening, were found sitting, looking out 
upon the same twinkling stars that had shone out upon 
their pathway long years before, when a seventieth birth- 
day seemed ever so far away. After the hearty greetings 
that always come to the visitor at that home were over, 
after the merry jests were tossed and parried back and 
forward, there came a time when the business of the hour 
claimed its place, and for its success it was necessary that 
the victim should be separated from his better half. This 
was accomplished by the Catasauquian being suddenly 
attacked by a raging thirst that could not be resisted, and, 
as the hostess rose to give the necessary order, the thirsty 
conspirator followed her into the house, and the coast was 
clear. The non-smoker having no bribe to offer in the 
shape of a cigar with which to pave the way, saw no way 
before him other than to tell in a simple, straightforward 
manner what the friends of the listener would like to do, 
and that they would Hke to do these things for several 
reasons: First, of course, as a mark of respect and esteem 
for the listener as an acquaintance and friend, to show their 
regard for him for what he had accomplished as an engineer, 
and in elevating the profession of engineering higher in 
the estimation of all; and lastly, they would like to have a 


good time themselves, and they thought the coming birth- 
day would be a good excuse for it. 

To all this the victim Hstened attentively, and, as it 
seemed to the speaker, revolving in his mind the memory 
of the past and the varied experiences of a long and busy 
life. After something of a pause he said: "You know 
I don't take much to blowing my horn, and I don't exactly 
Uke to be prominent in any affair like what you have been 
telling me about. What I have done has not been much, 
and it is not worth making a fuss about. I only did the 
best I knew how, and " — " But your friends," interrupted 
the first speaker. " Yes," he said, " that's another thing; 
now, if my friends (and I have a great many warm ones) — 
if my friends think they can come to Bethlehem and have a 
dinner on my seventieth birthday, and can have a good time 
in so doing, I ought not and will not stand in the way. 
So I give my consent; but, remember, I am not to be called 
upon to say anything." " Oh, no; of course not," was the 
reply, as the hostess and her guest returned to their chairs. 

The neighborhood talk went on again until the drive to 
Catasauqua was remembered, and, as the carriage rolled 
away, hearty good-nights were exchanged, for the con- 
spirators had won, and the second chapter was ended. 

Were you present at the dinner given to John Fritz, the 
engineer, at the Opera House in Bethlehem, September 28, 
1892? Oh! you were? Ah! well, then, you need not read 
anything beyond this, for what is hereinafter written is for 
the man who kindly contributed to aid that affair, but who 
could not himself be present, and also for a number of 
other persons, both in this country and Europe, who were 
honored with invitations as guests, and who would most 
gladly have been there to assist in honoring their friend, 
but who could not come. 

The inception of the affair having been thus briefly 


explained and the preliminary steps described, it only 
remains to relate as briefly as possible what was said and 
done, and who were there. 

The next step taken was the selection of a General 
Committee, that should be representative as to position 
and character, and so widely located as that it might be 
considered National rather than local, all of which was 
accomphshed when the following gentlemen consented to 
serve : 

ECKLEY B. COXE, Coxe Bros. & Co., Drifton, Pa. 

S. W. BALDWIN, New York Sales Agent Pennsylvania Steel Co., 

New York City. 
R. P. LmDERMAN, President Bethlehem Iron Co., Bethlehem, Pa. 
E. D. LEAVITT, Consulting Engineer Calumet & Hecla Mining Co., 

Boston, Mass. 
OLIVER WILLLAMS, President Catasauqua Mfg. Co., Catasauqua, Pa. 
S. T. WELLMAN, President Wellman Steel and Iron Co., Thurlow, Pa. 
JAMES MOORE, Bush Hill Iron Works, Philadelphia, Pa. 
ROBT. W. HUNT, President R. W. H. Inspection Co., Chicago, lU. 
J. F. HOLLOW AY, President Engineers' Club, New York City. 
W. H. WILEY, Treasurer, New York City. 
CHAS. KIRCHHOFF, Secretary, 96 Reade St., New York City. 

On August 8th a circular-letter was sent out by the 
General Committee to such friends of Mr. Fritz as it was 
thought could avail themselves of the opportunity offered, 
and in which was briefly stated the purpose of the proposed 
gathering, and the reason why the 25th of August had been 
selected. The first responses that came to the Committee 
were protests against the date selected, for the reason that 
so many were either away on their vacation or had planned 
to be away, all wishing so much to be present and to take 
a part in the exercises. So, in deference to such a general 
request, the date of the dinner was changed to September 
28, and later on another circular was sent out requesting 
the person to whom it was addressed to indicate if he would 
or would not be present. 

Fig. i6. — John Fritz, 1892. 


T.I.-; .V. ■ VUHK 



It had been the expectation of the Committee that 
enough people would respond favorably to make quite a 
little dinner party at some one of the hotels in Bethle- 
hem, and the smoker, who had burned quite a number of 
cigars " thinking it over," was so confident of success that 
he was willing to wager on at least twenty-five. Scarce 
twenty-four hours had elapsed before the returns began to 
come in, and but a few days passed before it became evident 
that no hotel could accommodate the party, and inquiries 
were set on foot to see if the large hall in the University 
building could be had, and, while a prompt and favorable 
reply came, it soon became evident no hall there was large 
enough to hold the friends of John Fritz, and so at last 
it was apparent that nothing of less dimensions than the 
Opera House would answer the purpose. 

The magnitude of the affair having outgrown the ex- 
pectations of the Committee (and the wildest dreams of 
the smoker), it became necessary to select a local committee, 
to whom should be intrusted the preparation of what now 
promised to be a large gathering. 

The committee selected for this purpose consisted of 
Robt. P. Linderman, President of the Bethlehem Iron Co., 
chairman, and W. H. Jaques, Garrett B. Linderman, 
W. A. Wilbur, RoHin H. Wilbur, and E. H. Mcllvaine, and 
it was to their good judgment and careful attention to the 
details of preparation that much of the success of the affair 
was due. The date of the dinner having been definitely 
fixed, the local committee proceeded to have the parquet of 
the Opera House floored over level with the stage, and to 
having the entire house properly decorated. This was done 
in admirably good taste, with flags and banners, waving 
palm trees, floral designs, and grouped and scattered 
electric lights of various hues, vmtil, taken as a whole, it 
was fairy-like and beautiful to a degree rarely excelled. 


At the rear of the stage an arch of immortelles inter- 
twined with white rosettes of flowers and glowing electric 
lamps hung above the inscription " Aimiversary to John 
Fritz," while along the long lines of tables huge banks of 
flowers lent perfume to the air and brightness to the scene. 

At the center of the head cross table and immediately 
in front of the honored guest of the evening stood a huge 
columbiad mounted on wheels, the whole composed of 
beautiful flowers and loaded to the muzzle with good things 
and trained towards the assembled guests, as emblematic 
of the kind of guns and projectiles " Uncle John " would 
always be glad to fire off against friend or foe. Special cars 
kindly tendered by ofl5cers of the Reading Railway System 
for the occasion brought the invited guests from New York 
and Philadelphia, and, as both trains rolled up to the 
station, carriages in waiting distributed them among the 
various hotels and the numerous private residences that 
so generously had opened their doors to receive them. 

By 7 P. M. the parlors and halls of the Hotel Wyandotte, 
and the vestibule of the Opera House, which had been 
specially connected for the occasion, were filled with as 
notable an assembly of men of affairs as it is possible to 
conceive. Here were men long known as the foremost iron 
and steel masters of the country. Mine owners stood sand- 
wiched in between managers of blast furnaces and super- 
in.tendents of steel plants, while engineers, famous for what 
they had accomplished at home and abroad, stood side by 
side with capitalists and bankers whose invested means had 
made possible the building of the famous industrial works 
that are dotted all over our country, and which serve to 
make the United States the foremost nation of the world 
in industrial pursuits. Here and there, meeting, perhaps, 
fox the first time after a lapse of years, were men identified 
with the building and operating of the first mills to roll 


rails, or the first plants to make Bessemer steel, in this 
country. Presidents of colleges and professors of engineer- 
ing in technical institutions were there, and, as well, pro- 
prietors and editors of journals devoted to science and 
art. Ministers of various creeds v-ied with each other to do 
honor to the engineer, while lawyers and laymen talked of 
what he had done. In the midst of all stood the man they 
had come to honor, grasping as best he could the hands that 
were stretched out from all sides, and answering as oppor- 
tunity would allow the hearty greetings and congratulations 
that were showered upon him by everyone. Soon the open- 
ing doors of the Opera House revealed a scene of beauty 
none who were there that night will soon forget, as, keeping 
step to music whose strains were not unlike an " Anvil 
Chorus," they marched in to take their appointed places at 
one of the many well-decorated tables that greeted their 
vision. Standing with bowed heads, they listened to the 
invocation of a blessing upon the occasion, and all that it 
meant, and upon all that participated therein. 

The banquet, served by the Hotel Wyandotte, and under 
the special supervision of the steward of the Reading 
Railway Company, who, with his assistants, came up from 
Philadelphia for the occasion, left nothing to be wished for. 
Mingling with the mellow strains of music that floated in 
the air were the tales of the guest told to the neighbor by his 
side or across the table ; many a merry jest was tossed to and 
fro as friends were recognized up or down the tables, who, 
perhaps, had not met before for years; and so, amid a babel 
of sounds mingled with bursts of uncontrollable laughter, 
the hours sped on, until with the arrival of coffee and cigars 
came the reminder that the feast of edibles was over, and, 
if there was to be a flow of soul, the hour had come. 

In view of the fact that the idea of the dinner had origi- 
nated at the Engineers' Club of New York, and that many of 


its members were the friends of Mr. Fritz, the compliment of 
presiding over the occasion was -tendered to the President 
of that club, Mr. J. F. Holloway. Fortunately the duties of 
the Chairman were greatly hghtened by the fact that, in 
deference to the wish of Mr. Fritz that the usual custom 
of proposing and answering toasts should not be followed, 
there was left but Uttle for him to do. In order that the 
" subsequent proceedings " should not be entirely devoid 
of interest, a scheme had been quietly arranged among a 
few of those present, which, while it would be a surprise to 
nearly everyone, would permit a few to indulge in "talk" 
which by no means could be construed into speech-making. 
The scheme proposed was to turn the after-dinner procedure 
into a Mock Court, with all the paraphernalia of judges, 
court officers, attorneys, and witnesses, while the criminal 
was to be the honored guest of the evening. So well had 
been the plan arranged, so admirably was it carried out in 
the arranging of the tables and the seating of those selected 
for the court proceedings, that, without the slightest hitch 
and without any change except in a few instances the turn- 
ing of one's chair, the court was speedily arranged and 
organized ready for business. 

In opening the legal proceedings, the Chairman, who, as 
he said, " By reason of powers conferred upon him by the 
Vice-Chancellor of New Jersey and a lot of fellows in New 
York, had assumed the duties of Attorney-General," now 
proceeded briefly to outHne the situation and explain the 
occasion that had served to bring all present together. 
He said the remarkable feature of the whole was the hearty 
interest and cooperation of everyone who had been seen or 
written to in regard to the affair. This was not only true of 
this country, but also of those who, Hving in foreign lands, 
had been tendered invitations as guests of the Committee, 
and friends and acquaintances of Mr. Fritz; and one of 


the pleasurable features, which, unfortunately, all could not 
for want of time participate in, was the letters that had 
been received by Mr. Fritz and the Committee, brief ex- 
tracts of which only could be read. These letters and 
cables, brimful as they were of kindly regards and warm 
appreciation of the host as a man, spoke in the highest 
terms of what he had done in bringing about a better under- 
standing among engineers and in building up ties of kindly 
brotherhood and good will. 

Short extracts were then read from letters received from 
such eminent foreign engineers as Sir I. Lowthian Bell, 
E. Windsor Richards, E. P. Martin, C. P. Sandberg, J. 
Hoecher, Professor Herman Wedding, Adolph Grainer, Sir 
James Kitson, Richard Akerman, James Dredge, and others, 
leaving a mass of other letters which could only be referred 
to. As well were there letters (some of which were read) 
from friends in this country, who, by reason of absence from 
home or otherwise, could not be present, much to their 
regret. These various letters, which of themselves would 
make quite a volume, would, if published, be of much 
interest to engineers of all professions; for outside of the 
personal good will they contain, they show a high regard 
for the " American engineer " and for what in so short a 
time he has accomplished. 

When the Chairman announced that one John Fritz, 
of Bethlehem, Pa., was to be arrested and brought to trial 
then and there on the charge of pretending to be an " en- 
gineer," and for pretending to know something about 
making steel, the absurdity of the charge and the novelty 
of the procedure instantly caught the fancy of his assembled 
friends, and such a shout and such a cheer as there arose 
that Opera House had never before heard. The Attorney- 
General (in view of the authority which he said had been 
conferred upon him) proceeded in the most arbitrary and 


despotic manner to select judges, sheriff, clerk, bailiffs, and 
officers of the court in general. The selections he made, 
as it turned out, proved so exceedingly judicious that no 
one ventured either to object or decline. The names of 
those selected were as follows : 

Chief Justice. 
R. A. Lamberton, Prest. Lehigh University. 

Associate Judges. 
Charles H. Loring, Prest. American Society Mechanical Engineers. 
G. W. Melville, Engineer-in-chief United States Navy. 
William Sellers, Prest. William Sellers & Co. 
Henry Morton, Prest. Stevens Institute. 
Charles E. Emery, Consulting Engineer. 
John M. Hartman, of Hartman & Taws. 

J. F. Holloway, Prest. Engineers' Club, New York. 

District Attorneys. 
John Birkinbine, Prest. American Institute Mining Engineers. 
Oliver Williams, Prest. Catasauqua Manufacturing Co. 
Jos. D. Weeks, Editor "American Manufacturer and Iron World." 

Counsel for Prisoner. 
R. W. Raymond, Sec. American Institute Mining Engineers. 
General W. Emil Doster. 
J. Davis Brodhead, Esq. 

High Sheriff. 

William F. Durfee, Supt. C. W. Hunt Co. 

Clerk of the Court. 
Charles Kirchhoff, Editor "Iron Age." 

Court Reporter. 
E. G. Spilsbury, Managing Director, Cooper, Hewitt & Co. 


R. W. Hunt, Prest. R. W. Hunt Inspection Co. 

E. D. Leavitt, Consulting Engineer Calumet & Hecla Mining Co. 

John Thomas, Gen. Supt. Thomas Iron Co. 

And others. 


Uncle John Fritz. 


The judges being in place on the bench, the court was 
opened by a comprehensive and bombastic proclamation 
by the sheriff, partly in English, somewhat in Latin, with 
a sprinkling of Pennsylvania Dutch, in which the case of 
the Commonwealth vs. John Fritz was announced, and the 
prisoner placed in the dock. Next came the reading by 
the Clerk of the Court of an indictment purporting to have 
come from some mythical Grand Jury, which proceeded to 
give a comprehensive outline of the Ufe of the prisoner, 
beginning with his boyhood on the farm, and his early 
training in riding bareback (the " bareback " objected to 
by the counsel for the prisoner, but objection overruled by 
the Court) to mill, and in plowing com, all of which, 
while of value to a farmer, was by no means a suitable 
training for an engineer, at least not as engineers are now 
trained at Stevens Institute, Cornell, and other famous 
training schools. The indictment showed how the prisoner, 
growing up, turned his back (same objection by counsel, 
and overruled) on the old farm, and sought out a country 
blacksmith and machine shop, where he thumped his 
fingers, greased his clothes, and grew black in the face, 
thinking he was becoming an engineer. The indictment 
said (and it was proved by old citizens called upon the 
stand) that later on this man came to Bethlehem, where, 
selecting a fine wheatfield, he threw down the fence and 
built thereon furnaces and rolling mills, covering the entire 
field with ashes and cinders, buildings and railway tracks, 
until it was not now worth a cent an acre (for farming). 

Notwithstanding the care and minuteness with which 
the indictment had been prepared, it was no sooner read 
than the senior counsel for the prisoner, Sergeant Raymond, 
arose and moved that " the indictment be quashed." 
Thereupon the associate counsel. Solicitor J. Davis Brod- 
head, proceeded, in a manner that will not soon be forgotten 


by those who listened to him, to show the court how illegal 
was the indictment in every respect, how loosely drawn; 
how deficient in definite statement, and how no court of 
any grade — not to say a court of such high distinction as 
was this — could for a moment permit such an indictment 
to have a standing. But it did stand, the Court overruling 
the motion and directing that the trial should proceed. 

At this moment the doors of the balcony were opened, 
and the ladies of Bethlehem, preceded by Mrs. Fritz, filed 
in, taking the seats that had been reserved for them. As 
they came in, a Catasauquian, rising to his feet, said that, 
while he was there to prosecute the prisoner to the bitter 
end, he would say that he was blessed with a good wife: 
"Let us give her three cheers!" They were given, all 
rising, and he could have had more just for the asking for 

No attempt will be made to describe the scene of that 
famous trial. Witnesses were called on behalf of the 
prosecution that promised well at the start, but under the 
cross fire of counsel weakened, until, at last, all they had 
said against the prisoner was turned in his favor. Inter- 
jection of witticisms between opposing counsel, mingled 
with unheard-of ruHngs by the Court, were wont to set the 
tables in a roar; " quips and quirks and paper bullets of 
the brain " were shot forth on all sides, rebounding to and 
fro, until court, judges, attorneys, prisoner, and all held 
their sides as they bent backwards and forwards in un- 
controllable shouts of laughter. The gravest men there 
were swept into the wild whirl, while the jolHest simply 
shouted as they wiped the tears from off their cheeks. 
At last, the speeches of the counsel on either side having 
been made, the Chief Justice, summing up the evidence in 
a most masterly manner, proceeded, after a conference 
with his associates, to announce the decision of the court, 


which was, the acquittal of the prisoner; and, as the statute 
made no provision for hanging the prosecution, the decision 
of the court was that they should pay all the costs. 

In conveying to the prisoner at the bar the decision of 
the bench, the Chief Justice availed himself of the oppor- 
tunity to pay him such a tribute of love and esteem as 
was well warranted by their long friendship for each other 
as neighbors, and also by reason of what he (the prisoner) 
had so well done in aiding by his presence and counsel at 
the board meetings of the institution of learning over which 
he (the Judge) had the honor to preside. It was a loving 
tribute from one old friend to another, the recital of which 
touched the heart of everyone who in that quiet house 
listened to catch each word. As the Doctor wound up he 
said to the prisoner, who, with bowed head, stood before 
him: "And now, John, we could not let you go without 
receiving, if not a penalty sentence, at least something," 
and turning toward the stage box at his right, as he waved 
his hand, the slowly parting portieres revealed standing 
therein a splendid Hall tubular chime clock, of Tiffany's 
best, which, as the prisoner raised his wondering eyes 
towards it, rang out sweet and clear the famous chimes 
which long years ago had pealed out over London's air 
from the ringing " Bow Bells," and which, Hke the bells 
of old, as they smote upon the ear of Whittington, thrice 
Lord Mayor, seemed to say, " Turn back, turn back." 
They were the midnight chimes, although the midnight 
had long since passed. As the sounds died out and the 
cheering that followed was over, the Doctor proceeded to 
say, " That clock is yours, John. It will be taken to your 
home, there, as we hope, to ring out its hourly chimes for 
years to come, and our wish is that, when by day or night 
its sweet music shall fall upon your ear and that of your 
loving wife, it will awaken memories as sweet of this night, 


and memories not only of the host of friends that are 
gathered here, but of the larger host of your friends else- 
where who could not be here as well." Then, turning to 
the listening throng, he added: " Dear friends, let us pray 
that these moving hands will measure off many hours of 
peace and happiness in that quiet home to which they will 
be sent, and, when its last chimes have been nmg out in 
the hearing of our dear friends on earth, may they hear 
them anew in that peaceful state that passes all under- 
standing. I hope you all will join with me in saying, 
' We love John Fritz ! God bless John and EUen B. Fritz ! '" 
And as the deeply felt amen died out, joining hands, all 
sang " Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot." And so 
ends this chapter. 


May it please the Court, the Grand Jury, composed of 
hangers-on about the Court, shoemakers, tinsmiths, car- 
penters and joiners, members of Congress, briefless lawyers 
and clergymen on call, being duly sworn, and all (except 
a few from New Jersey) being citizens of the United States, 
and good men and true, having been informed that one, 
John Fritz, of the Borough of Bethlehem, County of North- 
ampton, State of Pennsylvania, had said in the presence of 
rehable witnesses, that he believed that he could make a rail 
train, and that if he had a chance he thought he could build 
a blast furnace, blowing engines and aU; that he had been 
known to aver, that if he had given him the right kind of 
stuff he could make steel; that at sundry times and places 
he has been known to attend gatherings of iron and steel 
makers, had gone to meetings of engineers, and had then 
and there talked about tensile strength, carbon, phos- 
phorus, etc., and about three-high rail trains, about expan- 


sion, and on one occasion was heard to say that he knew 
about pumps, but he afterwards retracted and said he 
thought he knew about them, but had since learned that 
he was mistaken; that in this and many other ways he had 
endeavored to mislead the pubHc into the belief that he 
was an engineer, and an iron and steel maker. The Grand 
Jury hearing that many persons calling themselves engi- 
neers, and iron and steel makers, were going up and down 
through the land persuading men to put money into works 
for making iron and steel by all kinds of processes, but 
mostly by short-cut processes, and into building machinery 
which, if it worked at all, worked directly the opposite way 
from what it was intended and promised, the Grand Jury 
felt it their duty to investigate as to the antecedents of this 
man Fritz, and to ascertain, if possible, whether, by reason 
of his education or practice, he had any right to call himself 
an engineer, so that if he had no such right he might be 
prevented from inflicting injury and bringing serious loss 
upon the honest but too confiding citizens of this Common- 

The jury find that this aforesaid Fritz, who now sets 
himself up as an engineer, was, and ought now to be, a 
farmer; that he was born and raised on a farm, in the town- 
ship of Londonderry, county of Chester, State of Pennsyl- 
vania, near Doe Creek; that, when he was large enough, he 
split wood to heat up his mother's brick oven, and was paid 
for so doing with a " turnover," baked after the bread 
came out. 

Then later on he rode the old white horse bareback, while 
his father held the plow through the rows of the waving 
com. That later still he rode the same horse over to the 
grist mill, where he waited for his grist to be ground. The 
jury have ascertained, from sources entirely reUable, that 
in the summer time and while waiting for his grist it was 


the practice of this pretending engineer to roll up his low 
pants and wade in the tail-race and watch the big water- 
wheel go round. 

It was not clearly proven to the jury whether it was in 
watching the movement of the big water-wheel or listening 
to the merry rattle of the damsel as it fed the corn into the 
eye of the millstone, or in gazing at the wooden cog wheels 
as they rolled together, or listening to the knocking of the 
revolving reels, that the idea first came to him to wish to 
be an engineer; but there is no doubt it was then and there 
he was first filled with ambition to the extent that he said to 
himself, " If I ever grow up to be a man, I will make the 
wheels go round too." The jury being well informed as to 
the education of engineers, as they are annually being 
turned out in great numbers from our colleges, each one 
having a long roll of parchment paper, tied up with blue 
ribbon, they investigated as to the college from which this 
man graduated, and they found that his entire education 
had been obtained in his attendance at a red schoolhouse 
on the hill, about two miles away from his home. That he 
spent there several winters in terms of three months' school- 
ing, for the reason that at that time of the year the business 
of plowing was rather dull. In addition to this splendid 
opportunity for procuring an education, he also attended 
several evening spelling bees, and was assessed, as all the 
rest were, to occasionally bring a candle. While it is 
possible that he may have graduated from this institution 
with high honors, he cannot now prove it, because the 
master he once helped to " lock out " is dead, and his 
diploma (if he ever had one) has been mislaid. It was also 
ascertained that the education of this pretending engineer 
received some extra poUshing touches at a " night school " 
which he attended (whenever he could get a chance), 
which was situated at the cross-roads down near the creek. 


It was known as the Blacksmith Shop. Here on winter 
nights he would perch himself on an empty keg at the back 
of the forge, with his head in the smoke and his toes in the 
warm ashes; he by the hour watched the blacksmith heat 
and pound, bend and weld, the iron as he formed it into 
shoes for horses or irons for the wagon, listening the mean- 
while to tales of spooks and Indians told by the old settlers 
as they sat around the smithy and smoked, until his creeping 
hair almost raised his cap while he waited in patience for 
someone going his way to start for home. While the jury 
(at least some of them) recognized the country school and 
the blacksmith shop as valuable aids to an education, as 
a whole they do not beheve they would at this time warrant 
anyone in calling himself a " mechanical engineer " or an 
expert in making steel. The jury further found that this 
man in his younger days left the farm and the profession of 
agriculture, of which he would no doubt have been a shining 
ornament had he continued in the way he began, and went 
up to Parkesburg and took the position of " cub " in a 
country machine shop, having as well a foundry attachment. 
Here he, so to speak, let himself out in repairing and 
renewing lame and spavined horse-powers, and in bracing 
up worn and unbalanced threshing machines, varying his 
labors by occasionally turning a gudgeon in a hand lathe. 
As an example of the pushing, pretentious ways this man 
has, the jury learned that he soon after left the allurements 
of the country machine shop, going up to Norristown, and, 
by representations as yet unknown to the jury, there 
obtained a job in a bar, plate, and nail mill. While in 
Norristown he claimed that he served an apprenticeship 
at the "dentistry business;" this bold claim was not be- 
lieved by many of the jury, and witnesses were examined 
and cross-questioned, when it came out in evidence that 
the " dentistry business " consisted in repairing the broken 


teeth of the gear wheels at night that had dropped off during 
the day; and he was reported to have said that, if at any 
time he had any fears of being out of a job, he went and 
looked in the wheel pits and was sure to find work. It was 
further reported that this man Fritz claimed to be very 
expert in setting " single teeth," but that he did not pre- 
tend to know much about " plate work " at that time, but 
later on in his Hfe it is said that he did some very creditable 
work in that line as well, for his Uncle Sam. 

It is hardly worth while to further occupy the time of 
the Court in showing how preposterous it is for a man with 
such an education and experience to pretend to be an 
" engineer " or a steel maker. 

The second count of the indictment is, that the aforesaid 
John Fritz is a disturber of the peace. 

Several years ago this man, now at the bar of this Court, 
came to the borough of Bethlehem, and, as it is supposed, 
for the purpose of attending a horse race; at least that was 
the ostensible object of his visit. The race course was a 
large, level field on the banks of the Lehigh, below the 
town, and away from any settlement. Sitting on the top 
rail of the fence, watching the boys trot their blooded steeds, 
the notion came into his head that the land about there 
would be a pretty good place on which to build a blast 
furnace, and perhaps a rolling mill or two. It is one of the 
known peculiarities of this man that when he gets a notion 
in his head all creation cannot change him, and there are 
witnesses here in court who can testify to this. So, having 
conceived the notion of covering this race course with 
furnaces and mills, the people who knew him best said it 
would be of no use opposing him, and that they might as 
well come down with the dust first as last, and they did, 
and he not only covered the race track with blast furnaces, 
rail mills, workshops, etc., but he covered the farms adjoin- 


ing, and this can also be proved if necessary. By a careful 
search of the records and by examining recently published 
documents, the Grand Jury learned that many years ago a 
body of peace-loving, mild, and unassuming persons came 
from over the sea to find, if possible, in the New World a 
spot where they could Uve a quiet Ufe and be assured of 
an undisturbed rest afterwards. They found, as they be- 
lieved, such a spot in the wilderness, here on the banks of 
the Lehigh. Purchasing the land from the native Ameri- 
cans (upon terms not made public), they founded the 
peaceful hamlet long known as Bethlehem. It was the 
belief of many witnesses who appeared before the Grand 
Jury that, had it not been for the man now at the bar of 
this Court coming here, Bethlehem would have remained 
to this day the quiet place it was previously noted for 
being; that the waving grain would still be bending to the 
summer breeze over lands now occupied by streets and 
lanes or covered with comfortable and costly homes; that 
no noises would have been heard, other than the shrill cry 
of the blue jay or the warning note of the kingfisher as he 
dropped from the swinging bough into the river beneath, 
the cooing of the turtle-dove in the wooded heights above, 
or the pleading song of the whippoorwill as the sun went 
down behind the western hills. That all this has been 
changed by the advent of this alleged engineer can be proven 
to the satisfaction of this Court. The rumbhng of huge 
wheels, the throbbing pulsations of mighty blowing engines, 
the shriek of steam whistles, the angry roar of burdened 
engines, the clanging noise of falling beams and bars, the 
snorting puffs of the impetuous and bustling locomotives 
that ply to and fro over the clanking rails and rattling 
switches, have changed beyond all recognition the old- 
time peaceful hamlet of Bethlehem. Disturbing and dis- 
tracting as all this noise and confusion now is, the prisoner 


has recently built and set in operation other and new steam 
hammers of a size and weight hitherto unknown, whose 
descending blows make all the surrounding country to 
shiver and to shake; in short, the evidence has been so 
overwhelming against the prisoner as a disturber of the 
peace and quiet that once reigned along the banks of the 
Lehigh before he came that the Grand Jury, mindful of 
their oaths, deemed it their duty to the commonwealth to 
present him to this Court, and to demand that he be tried 
by a jury of his peers, if such a one can be found. 

(Signed) John Oldboy, 



Whom shall we choose the flag to hold 
In our vast contests, yet untold, 
Which to the New World adds the Old? 

Donner und Blitz! 

John Fritz! 

Leaders unseen are with us yet: 
Nor they nor we the past forget. 
The fate that took them early, yet, 

Thank God, omits 

John Fritz! 

When doubters doubted whether we 
Could beat our brethren over sea 
In rolling-mill machinery, 

Who gave 'em fits? 

John Fritz! 

Who stands before us to combine 
A level head, an upright spine, 
With nowhere any crooked line? 

Most clearly it's 

John Fritz! 


Whose heart is warmer than his blast? 
Whose faith more steadfast to the last 
Than any steel he ever cast? 

That figure hits 

John Fritz! 

Whose fame commands our homage, such 
As bears of envy not a touch, 
Because we love the man so much? 

Why, there he sits — 

John Fritz! 


May it please the Court, while it was my imperative 
duty to present the charges on which the prisoner has been 
tried, I would like to add a few words to what has already 
been so well said by the distinguished attorneys on both 
sides. I hope that whatever sentence you have in mind to 
inflict upon the prisoner at the bar, it will be tempered with 
mercy; that you will bear in mind that through all these 
long years he has spent, burdened by the cares, anxieties, 
and perplexities that ever surround the life of an engineer 
and the ironmaster, he has always had a kind word for all 
about him. Did sickness and death come to the homes of 
any, he brought to them words of consolation and hope; 
did any have heavy burdens to bear, his hand helped to 
lighten them; were any despondent, his cheering words gave 
them new life; and in many to us unknown ways he has 
done what he could to make this world the better for having 
lived in it. 

I am somewhat of a privileged person to-night, having 
borne a somewhat confidential relation to all concerned in 
arranging what has been done here, and with your Honor's 
permission, I would like to impart a portion of the inner 
history connected with the preparations made for this event. 


It is known to a few present that originally it was intended 
to have this a small dinner given at a hotel, but when the 
announcement was made that a dinner was to be given 
John Fritz by his friends, so numerous were the persons 
who wished to have a part in it that the hotel had to be 
given up, and even a large hall was found too small, and 
this Opera House was the only available place to be had, 
and, had the dinner been postponed a week longer, we would 
have been obliged to build a special auditorium. 

A few days ago, as you all know, Pennsylvania Avenue 
was filled with old and battle-scarred veterans, who were 
marching under waving banners of red, white, and blue, 
along that historic avenue, many of them for the last time. 
Among them was the remnant of a regiment known as the 
Twenty-ninth Ohio, and in the ranks and beside the old 
soldiers, sorely wounded as many of them were by the 
arrows of misfortune and poverty, there walked a man 
who was once their colonel, and once the President of the 
United States; and, in the time to come, when Rutherford 
B. Hayes comes to be better known and better appreciated, 
one of the grandest tributes paid to his memory will be the 
story that on that last march of the old veterans through 
the capital of the nation, he took his place in the ranks, and 
alongside of what Abraham Lincoln was pleased to call 
" the plain people." And now for the secret I have to tell 
you. When it was announced that this anniversary dinner 
was to be given in this large Opera House, the prisoner at 
the bar, who had asked nothing for himself, came to us and 
said that, " if there was plenty of room, and no one would 
be discommoded in the least, he would so much like to have 
some of his reliable workmen who had been with him for so 
many years, and on whom he had so much relied, to have a 
place at the table and a part in the exercises." I need not 
tell you how promptly he was told that there was a place 


at the table, and a part in all that was to be seen and heard, 
and a warm welcome for all he chose to bring; and here 
to-night there are none more glad and proud at the honors 
shown to their chief than are John Fritz's old guard; and 
when the story of his Hfe shall be told, no page will shine 
brighter, no incident will more truly illustrate his kindness 
of heart, his modesty, and his thoughtful regard for others, 
than will the one that relates that, in the hour of his greatest 
success, when praise and honors came to him from all sides, 
he turned his thoughts backward to a review of his past 
life, to a remembrance of the hours of trial and difl&culties, 
and in that retrospective view he did not forget the faithful 
men who so long had stood by him and helped him; and 
his happiness to-night would have been incomplete had they 
not been here to share his pleasure. 


Judge, they say I am not much of an engineer, and at 
times I have had doubts about it myself, but there is one 
thing I never had any doubt about, and that is, that I could 
not make a speech in public. 

When I began to try to become an engineer, we used to 
whittle out a wooden model of anything we wanted to make, 
or else we would draw it on a chalked board with a square 
and a pair of compasses; but the times are changed, and 
every engineer who begins a job now has to have a blue 
print before him to work from, and so for this job I have 

Under ordinary circumstances I would have preferred to 
remain silent, but on account of the grand reception you 
have given me, and the many hearty congratulations that 


I have had on the occurrence of my seventieth birthday 
from friends at home and abroad, I cannot do so. I only 
wish I could fitly express to you how highly I appreciate 
the compliment you bestow upon me by such a gathering 
of friends as are here to-night. Be assured I shall ever 
remember it as one of the happiest events of my life. 

Years ago, when as a barefooted boy I followed the plow 
from early mom till late at night, I little dreamed that the 
time would ever come when I would be the recipient of such 
an honor, and would be surrounded by so many kind and 
thoughtful friends. Often during my hfe, when burdened 
with trials and anxieties, coupled as they sometimes were 
with bitter disappointments, I had almost concluded that 
life was not worth the struggle I was engaged in; and had 
it not been unmanly to do so, I would have been tempted 
to step down and out; but, gathering new courage, I strug- 
gled on; and now, at the end of threescore and ten years, to 
receive such a royal welcome from so many warm friends 
touches me beyond what words can express. 

As to my past Hfe and its results, I can only say I tried 
to do the best I could. 

When as a young man I began work in the line in which 
all my after years were spent, we had none of the aids to 
progress that the young men of to-day have. There were 
no technical schools where we could learn the theory and 
science of engineering; there were no papers or books out of 
which we could learn the practice and experience of others; 
whatever a boy then got in the way of knowledge came to 
him by hard knocks and often bitter experience; and so, 
when you are pleased to commend what I may have ac- 
complished, I esteem it doubly, for you know the school in 
which I was taught, and you are men fully competent to sit 
in judgment on such matters. Proud and grateful as I am 
for all the kind things you have been pleased to say about 


me and of my life work, it would be ungenerous in me not 
to say that whatever good I have accomplished has been 
largely due to the faithful and able assistants that I have 
had the good fortime ever to have had about me, and also 
to the true and loyal workmen in the various departments, 
to whom, by their skill, energy, and the faithful manner in 
which they have performed their duty, I am much indebted ; 
and much as I would like to thank them individually for 
their loyalty to me, and the interest I represented, time will 
not permit me to do so. 

As I look backward over my hfe, I am reminded how one 
and another of my associates have passed over to the other 
side, and on my lips and in my heart are the names of your 
friends and mine who I wish might look on this scene 

It would be vain in me to assume that this large assem- 
blage of engineers, metallurgists, capitalists, and professional 
men from all parts of the country are here wholly on account 
of their personal regards for me; so far as it is so, none can 
be more grateful than I; but I assume it is in part in honor 
of the profession of engineering, which we so dearly love, 
and which in its various branches has done so much for our 
country and for humanity the world over. Time will not 
permit me to enlarge on this point as I might, but as 
engineers we all know how important it is to our success to 
have behind us the men who not only have the money, but 
have as well the faith and confidence so necessary in push- 
ing forward great undertakings. Such men it has been my 
good fortune to be associated with, and I want to thank 
them, not only for their personal friendship so often ex- 
pressed, but for their confidence in me, which has so much 
helped me in my labors. 

But, Judge, you have asked me if I had anything to say 
why sentence should not be pronounced upon me. I can 


only say that my attorneys have said all and more than 
could rightfully be said in my defense, and so I can only 
rely on the mercy of the Court. But, Judge, remember, 
at the least, I was grateful and thankful for all the kind 
words that have been spoken about me; that my aim in 
life has been to always do the best I knew how, and make 
no fuss about it 

John Fritz. 

The " time sentence " was an elegant tubular chiming 
hall clock, on which was inscribed : 

Time ! Deal Gently with Our Loving Friends, 
John and Ellen B. Fritz. 


The day has come and gone, and the night has waned; 
the lights have gone out, and the musicians, unjointing 
their horns and packing them away, have vanished from 
the scene; the flowers have faded and the wreaths have 
shriveled to dust; the decorations stowed away in the 
garret even now are gathering the grime that ere long will 
change them beyond recognition. All is over save memory, 
and even that is being dimmed by more recent events. To 
those who have patiently followed what has been herein 
written, there will come, perchance, the thought that it 
was unwise to attempt, as it certainly was impossible, to 
revive in full the pleasure and ecstasy of this bygone event, 
and possibly you are right in so thinking; but take this 
leaflet, and bind it to the menu card you brought home 
from Bethlehem, and on which is written the autograph 
of the friends that were about you at the table that Septem- 
ber night, and possibly, in after years, — years that have 
brought whiteness to your hair and a yellow tinge to these 
leaves, — in some idle moment, you may come across both, 


stowed away among your papers, and, glancing over what 
is here written, and over the names attached, there may, 
perchance, for a moment, come to you a remembrance of 
the faces you there saw and may never see again, and of 
words spoken but well-nigh forgotten; and as you lay it 
down again, may you say, as did the smoker first mentioned, 
as long afterwards he threw into the ashes of the grate the 
remnant of his well-smoked cigar: "Well, it was a great 
success, and I am glad I was there." 


Stephen B. Elkins, Secretarj' of War, Washington, D. C. 

Benj. F. Tracy, Secretary of the Navy, " " 

Brig.-Gen. D. W. Flagler, Chief of Ordnance, War Dept., " " 

Com. W. M. Folger, Chief of Ordnance, Navy Dept., ... " " 

Chas. H. Loring, Pres. American Society Mechanical 

Engineers, 239 Clermont Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Eckley B. Coxe, Coxe Bros. & Co., Drifton, Pa. 

B. F. Jones, Jones & Laughhn, Ltd., Pittsburg, Pa. 

John Chalfant, 

James Hemphill, Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co., " " 

James McMillan, Johnstown, Pa. 

David Reeves, Pres. Phcenix Iron Co., Phoenixville, Pa. 

Joel Cook, Philadelphia Ledger, Philadelphia Pa. 

Percival Roberts, Pencoyd Iron Works, 261 South 4th St., " " 

John Sellers, Wm. Sellers & Co., Incorp., " " 

Wm. B. Bement, Bement, Miles & Co., " " 

Frederick B. Miles, " " 

David Clark, Hazleton, Pa. 

John Kinsey, Easton, Pa. 

A. A. McLeod, Pres. and Gen. Mgr. Reading Railroad 

System, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Robert P. Linderman, Pres. Bethlehem Iron Co., Bethlehem, Pa. 

Robert H. Sayre, Vice-Pres. and Mgr. Bethlehem Iron Co., . " " 

Jos. Wharton, Director, Bethlehem Iron Co., " " 

E. P. Wilbur, Director, Bethlehem Iron Co., " " 

Geo. H. Myers, Director, Bethlehem Iron Co., South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Beauveau Borie, Director, Bethlehem Iron Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

R. W. Davenport, Assist. Supt. Bethlehem Iron Co., Bethlehem, Pa. 

W. H. Jaques, Ordnance Engineer, Bethlehem Iron Co., ... " " 


C. O. Brunner, Treas. Bethlehem Iron Co., Bethlehem, Pa, 

Abraham S. Schropp, Sec. Bethlehem Iron Co., " 

Sam Adams, " 

Owen Leibert, " 

Hon. Chas. Brodhead, " 

C. M. Dodson, Pres. Morea Coal Co., " 

Truman Dodson, Vice-Pres. Morea Coal Co., " 

W. H. Sayre, 

E. B. Ely, Coxe Bros. & Co., New York, N. Y. 

Chas. Otis, Pres. Otis Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 

Oliver Williams, Pres. Catasauqua Mfg. Co., Castasauqua, Pa. 

Samuel Thomas, Pres. Pioneer Mining and Mfg. Co., " " 

C. B. Dudley, Chemist Pennsylvania R. R. Co., Altoona, Pa, 

Edward S. Moffat, Gen. Mgr. Laclia wanna Iron and Coal Co., . . Scranton, Pa, 

Albert Lewis, Bear Gap, Pa, 

Henry M. Boies, 530 Clay Ave., Scranton, Pa, 

John Thomas, Gen. Supt. Thomas Iron Co., Hokendauqua, Pa, 

Joseph Morgan, Chief Engineer Cambria Iron Works, Johnstown, Pa. 

Major L. S. Bent, Pres. Pennsylvania Steel Co., Philadelphia, Pa, 

Frank Firmstone, Easton, Pa, 

B. F. Fackenthal, Durham Iron Co., Riegelsville, Pa 

C. F. Mattes, Sec. Vice-Pres. Lackawanna Iron and Coal Co.,. . Scranton, Pa 

Maunsel White, Bethlehem Iron Co., Bethlehem, Pa 

Sydney Broadbent, Supt. Dickson Mfg. Co., Scranton, Pa 

Theo. N. Ely, Gen. Supt. Motive Power, Pennsylvania R. R., .Altoona, Pa 

Robert Lockhart, Bethlehem, Pa 

Clark Fisher, Pres. Fisher Rail Joint Works, Trenton, N. J 

Joseph D. Weeks, Editor American Manufacturer, Pittsburg, Pa 

E. G. Spilsbury, Gen. Mgr. Trenton Iron Co., Trenton, N. J 

Henry Morton, Pres. Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N. J 

R. H. Thurston, Director, Sibley College, Ithaca, N. Y 

Robt. Forsyth, Chief Engineer Illinois Steel Co., Chicago, 111 

R. W. Hunt, Past Pres. American Society Mechanical Engineers, " " 
Henry M. Howe, Vice-Pres. American Institute Mining Engi- 
neers, Boston, Mass. 

Henry R. Towne, Pres. Yale & Towne Mfg. Co., Stamford, Conn. 

Wm. F. Durfee, Supt. C. W. Hunt & Co., West New Brighton, N. Y, 

Geo. W. McNulty, Chief Engineer Broadway Cable Rail- 
way, New York, N. Y, 

Chas. Kirchhoff, Editor The Iron Age, 96 Reade St., " " 

Geo. H. Babcock, Pres. Babcock & Wilcox Co., 30 Cort- 


S. W. Baldwin, New York Agent Pennsylvania Steel Co., . " " 

Prof. James E. Denton, Stevens Institute of Technology, . . .Hoboken, N. J. 


J. H. Harris, Vice-Pres. Worthington Pumping Engine Co., . . .London, Eng. 
J. F.HoIloway,Pres. Engineers' Club, loWest 29th St., . .. .New York, N. Y. 
Prof. F. R. Hutton, Sec. American Society Mechanical Engi- 
neers, " " 

James F. Lewis, Rand Drill Co., 23 Park Place, " " 

Chas. Macdonald, Union Bridge Co., 247 Fifth Ave., " " 

John Birkinbine, Pres. American Institute Mining Engi- 
neers, 26 North Juniper St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

James Moore, Bush Hill Iron Works, " " 

Percival Roberts, Jr., 261 South 4th St., " " 

Wm. Sellers, Pres. Wm. Sellers & Co., Incorp., " " 

Coleman Sellers, Past Pres. American Society Mechanical 

Engineers, 3301 Baring St., " " 

Washington Jones, 1632 North isth St., " " 

H. G. Morris, Mechanical Engineer, Drexel Building, " " 

W. A. Perry, Pres. Henry R. Worthington, 86 Liberty St., . . New York, N. Y. 
C. C. Worthington, Chairman Henry R. Worthington, 

86 Liberty St., 

T. F. Miller, Sec. Henry R. Worthington, 86 Liberty St., . . " " 

John Stanton, Treas. Atlantic Copper Mining Co., 

70 Wall St., 

Horace See, Engineer and Naval Architect, i Broadway, . . " " 

John Thomson, Civil Engineer, Temple Court, " " 

R. W. Raymond, Sec. American Institute Mining Engi- 
neers, 13 Burling Slip, " " 

Geo. W. Maynard, Consulting Engineer, 31 Nassau St.,. . . " " 

James C. Bayles, Engineers' Club, 10 West 29th St., " " 

John Bogart, Civil Engineer, 71 Broadway, " " 

Geo. W. Bramwell, 59 Wall St., 

Frank S. Witherbee, Witherbee, Sherman & Co., Port Henry, N. Y. 

W. H. Wiley, Treas. A. S. M. E., 53 East loth St., New York, N. Y. 

Edward Cooper, Cooper, Hewitt & Co., 17 Burling Shp, ... " " 

Abram S. Hewitt, Cooper, Hewitt & Co., 17 BurHng Slip, . . " " 

Chas. A. Hague, Hydraulic Engineer, 86 Liberty St., " " 

E. D. Leavitt, Consulting Engineer Calumet and Hecla 

Mining Co., Boston, Mass. 

S. B. Whiting,'Gen. Mgr., 11 Ware St., Cambridge, Mass. 

C. J. H. Woodbury, Vice-Pres. Manufacturers' Mutual 

Ins. Co., Lynn, Mass. 

Oberlin Smith, Pres. Ferracute Machine Co., Bridgeton, N. J. 

Horace S. Smith, Sec. Vice-Pres. Illinois Steel Co., Chicago, 111. 

F. W. Wood, Pres. Maryland Steel Co., Sparrows Point, Md. 

Capt. H. G. H. Tarr, 86 Liberty St., New York, N. Y. 

Walter Wood, Mgr. R. D. Wood & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 


W. B. Cogswell, Gen. Mgr. Solvay Process Co., Syracuse, N. Y, 

A. C. Rand, Rand Drill Co., 23 Park Place, New York, N. Y. 

John F. Wilcox, Pittsburg Engineering Co., Pittsburg, Pa. 

William Thaw, Fifth Ave. Hotel, New York, N. Y. 

Geo. W. Melville, Engineer-in-chief, United States Navy, Washington, D. C. 

Wm. Metcalf , Crescent Steel Works, Pittsburg, Pa. 

Chas. E. Emery, Consulting Engineer, 915 Bennett Build- 
ing, New York, N. Y. 

W. H. Bailey, American Tube Works, 20 Gold St., 

David Williams, Publisher, 96 Reade St., " " 

J. C. Kafer, Morgan Iron Works, 814 East 9th St., " " 

Jos. Leon Gobeille, Gen. Mgr. Gobeille Pattern Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 

H. S. Haines, Vice-Pres. and Gen. Mgr. Plant Investment 

Co., 12 West 23rd St., New York, N. Y. 

W. H. Adams, Virginia Sulphur Mining Co., 71 Wall St., . . " " 

W. A. Sweet, Pres. Onondaga Steel Works, Syracuse, N. Y. 

Lieut. J. F. Meigs, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

E. C. Felton, Supt. Pennsylvania Steel Co., Steelton, Pa. 

A. Mitchell, Supt. Motive Power, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

Capt. Frank Hobbs, Watervliet Arsenal, West Troy, N. Y. 

Stanley H. Goodwin, Gen. Supt. Lehigh VaUey Division, 

Reading R. R., Bethlehem, Pa. 

R. H. Wilbur, Asst. to Gen. Mgr. Reading R. R. System, " " 

W. A. Wilbur, Vice Pres. E. P. Wilbur Trust Co., 

Hon. J. Davis Brodhead, " " 

R. A. Lamberton, LL.D., " " 

G. B. Linderman, " " 

Jos. WTiarton, Jamestown, R. I. 

C. H. Cramp, Pres. Wm. Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Edwin S. Cramp, cor. Beach and Ball Sts., " " 

Stackhouse Powell, Pres. Cambria Iron Co., " " 

Jay C. Morse, Pres. Illinois Steel Co., Chicago, 111. 

H. C. Frick, Chairman Carnegie Companies, Pittsburg, Pa. 

E. M. Mcllvaine, Assist, to Pres. Bethlehem Iron Co., Bethlehem, Pa. 

J. Tatnall Lea, 4th and Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Alfred Earnshaw, 203 Walnut Place, " " 

W. J. Taylor, Pres. Taylor Iron and Steel Co., High Bridge, N. J. 

A. L. Colby, Chemist, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Chas. Hartshorne, Vice-Pres. Philadelphia & Reading R. R., 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

John M. Hartman, 1233 North Front St., " " 

John Hughes, Delaware Rolling Mills, " " 

Horace L. Brooks, Baltimore, Md. 

Harry Moore, James Moore & Son, Philadelphia, Pa. 


Andrew Wheeler, Pres. Morris Tasker & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Thos. A Edison, Orange, N. J. 

W. L. Conynghan, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

E. H. Jones, Pres. Vulcan Iron Works, " " 

Chas. Ziegenf uss, Gen. Supt. Juragua Mines South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Calvin Pardee, Drexel Building, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Hon. Robt. E. Wright, Pres. Lehigh Valley Car Co., AUentown, Pa. 

Hon. W. H. Allison, Treas. AUentown Rolling Mills, " " 

J. K. Mosser, " " 

J. Rogers Maxwell, Pres. Central R. R. of New Jersey, .... New York, N. Y. 

John Taylor, Gen. TraflSc Mgr., Bethlehem, Pa. 

J. Raymond Claghorn, Pres., 204 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

W. A. Lathrop, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

A. N. Cleaver, Esq., South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Henry Coppee, LL.D., " " 

W. L. Estes, M.D., Director St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Prof. C. L. Doolittle, Lehigh University, " " 

Prof. Mansfield Merriman, Lehigh University, " " 

J. H. Dudley, Consulting Engineer, Grand Central Station, .New York, N. Y. 
Anthony Victorin, Consulting Engineer, Ordnance Dept., . . West Troy, N. Y. 

Wm. Kent, Consulting Engineer, Times Building, New York, N. Y. 

James M. Doherty, Esq., 2212 Green St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Jos. C. Herr, Esq., 224 South 3d St., " " 

S. H. Chauvenet, Vice-Pres. Wellman Iron and Steel Co., . . . .Thurlow, Pa. 

Richard Peters, Jr., Wellman Iron and Steel Co., " " 

P. W. Moen, Gen. Mgr. Washburn & Moen, Worcester, Mass. 

S. T. Wellman, Pres. WeUman Iron and Steel Co., Thurlow, Pa. 

Carleton W. Nason, Pres. Nason Mfg. Co., New York, N. Y. 

Andrew Fletcher, Pres. W. & A. F. Fletcher Co., 157 West 


Geo. D. McCreary, City Treasurer, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Edwin Thomas, Gen. Mgr. Pioneer Iron and Mining Co., . .Catasauqua, Pa. 

Theo. D. Wilson, Chief Constructor, U. S. N., Washington, D. C. 

Geo. E. Weed, Pres. Morgan Iron Works, New York, N. Y. 

John E. Sweet, Pres. Straight Line Engineer Co., Syracuse, N. Y. 

Alfred Longsdon, 9 New Broad St., London, Eng. 

C. P. Sandberg, 19 Great George St., . . . .Westminster, London, S. W., Eng. 

R. Gladhill, Mgr. Sir Joseph Whitworth & Co., Manchester, Eng. 

H. S. Carrington, Sec. Sir Joseph Whitworth & Co., " " 

Sir I. Lowthian Bell, Middlesborough, Eng. 

E. Windsor Richards, " 

E. P. Martin, Dowlais, Glamorgan, Wales. 

James Dredge, 36 Bedford St., Strand, London, Eng. 

J. Hoecher, Chief Engineer, Fred. Krupp, Essen-on-Ruhr, Germany. 


Prof. Herman Wedding, Berlin, Germany, 

I. Kraft, Chief Engineer Cockerill Iron Works, Seraing, Belgium. 

Adolphe Grainer, Director Cockerill Iron Works, " " 

Jos. C. Piatt, Consulting Engineer, Waterford, N. Y. 

Gen. Ario Pardee, Hazleton, Pa. 

James M. Swank, Sec, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Gen. Doster, Bethlehem, Pa. 

J. A. Sweigard, Assist. Gen. Mgr. Reading R. R., Philadelphia, Pa. 

James A. Burden, Woodside, Troy, N. Y. 

Prof. Thos. Egleston, School of Mines, Columbia College,. .New York, N. Y. 

Capt. James Jenkins, Harrisburg, Pa. 

Sir Henry Bessemer, Denmark Hall, Surrey, Eng. 

Percy C. Gilhurst, Finchley, New Road, Hampstead, London, Eng. 

Sir James Kitson, Monkbridge Iron Works, Leeds, Eng. 

Wm. Keyser, Baltimore, Md. 

Richard Akerman, Royal School of Mines, Stockholm, Sweden. 

John GJeirs, Middlesbro-on-Tees, Eng. 

Hugh BeU, 

P. Boward, care Schneider, Creusot, France. 

J. Barba, care Schneider, " " 

Wm. C. Whitney, ex-Secretary U. S. Navy New York, N. Y. 

Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, U. S. Senator, Hartford, Conn. 

F. A. Pratt, Pres. Pratt & Whitney Co., 

L. Hernsheim, 29 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 

Chas. H. Morgan, Engineer and Contractor, 25 Lincoln St., . Worcester, Mass. 

Geo. Pierce, Supervisor, Fall River Line, Newport, R. I. 

E. B. Leisenring, Mauch Chunk, Pa. 

W. R. Tucker, Sec. Board of Trade, Drexel Building, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Judge Henry Green, Easton, Pa. 

Edmund C. Pechin, Roanoke, Va. 

Senator Wm. E. Chandler, Waterloo, N. H. 

Archibald Johnston, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Mathew Addy, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Joseph Johnston, Bethlehem, Pa. 

George Chandler " " 

Harry Leibert, Bethlehem, Pa. 

J. S. Jeans, Victoria Mansions, London, Eng. 

Alexander Hamilton, Johnstown, Pa. 

Lieut. Kossuth Niles, Ordnance Ofl&ce, U. S. N., Washington, D. C. 

Captain O'Neal, Navy Dept., " " 

Lieut. Karl Rahror, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Capt. Ira McNutt " " 

Senator John L. Morgan, Washington, D. C. 

Senator H. M. Teller, 


Capt. W. T. Sampson, Navy Yard, Washington, D. C. 

Irving M. Scott, Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Cal. 

Clarence S. Bement, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Marriott Smyth, Latrobe, Pa. 

Andrew Carnegie, 5 West 51st St., New York, N. Y. 

C. P. Goss, Scoville Mfg. Co., Waterbury, Conn. 

Senator W. B. Allison, Washington, D. C. 

Congressman Chas. A. Boutelle, " " 

Dr. W. H. Chandler, Lehigh University, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

George Brooke, Birdsboro, Pa. 

A. S. Patterson, 330 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Chas. L. Bailey, " " 

A. J. Dull, Harrisburg, Pa. 

G. C. Wilkins, Gen. Mgr. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., Baltimore, Md. 

J. M. Gledhill, Sir Joseph Whitworth Co., Manchester, Eng. 

James Fuller, Catasauqua, Pa. 

Capt. Montgomery Sicard, Navy Yard, U. S. S. Miantono- 

moh, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

C. Y. Wheeler, Stirling Steel Co., Pittsburg, Pa. 

G. E. Taintor, New York, N. Y. 

Chas. A. Hewitt, Trenton, N. J. 

Henry McCormick, Harrisburg, Pa. 

Arthur Brock, Lebanon, Pa. 

R. H. Sayre, Jr., South Bethlehem, Pa. 

R. E. Jennings, West Bergen, N. J. 

David H. Thomas, Hokendauqua, Pa. 

Samuel R. Thomas, " " 

Stevenson Taylor, Vice-Pres. North River Iron Works, .... Hoboken, N. J. 

Wm. Fletcher, North River Iron Works, " " 

Chas. Wales, Engineers' Club, 10 West 29th St., New York, N. Y. 

A. J. Haws, Johnstown, Pa. 

R. B. Keyser, Baltimore, Md. 

Frank L. Neale, International Navigation Co., 305 Wal- 
nut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Prof. J. Harvard Biles, care Chas. H. Camp, " " 

Owen J. Conley, Ogden Mine, Ogden, N. J. 

Joseph Stokes, Trenton, N. J. 

Wm. H. Morris, Pottstown Iron Co., Pottstown, Pa. 

E. H. Austin, Philadelphia, Pa. 

David Townsend, 

Wm. B. Schiller, Monongahela Furnace Co., Pittsburg, Pa. 

C. W. Roepper, Solid Steel Co., Alliance, Ohio. 

Albert Brodhead, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Dr. R. I. Bailey, Normandie Hotel, New York, N. Y. 


Horace G. Lash, Carbon Iron Co., Pittsburg, Pa. 

Chas. G. Roebling, J. Roebling's Sons Co., Trenton, N. J. 

James Riley, Glasgow, Scotland. 

Benjamin Riegel, Riegelsville, N. J. 

Geo. T. Barnes, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Rev. P. McEnroe, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Edwin Menner, " " 

Tinsley Jeter, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

W. T. Walters, Baltimore, Md. 

Josiah Monroe, 208 South 4th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Robert F. Kennedy, 216 South 4th St., " " 

F. G. Gorham, N. Y. Sales Agent Bethlehem Iron Co., New York, N. Y. 

Col. H. G. Prout, 73 Broadway, " " 

Wilham Canam, Bethlehem, Pa. 

William Stubblebine, " " 

Patrick Briody, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Ensign F. R. Brainard, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Capt. H. L. Jewett, " " 

Lieut. Com. Wm. Swift, U. S. N., " " 

Lieut. S. E. Stuart, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Rev. Gilbert H. Sterling " , .; , " 

Isaac H. Chandler, Johnstown, Pa. 

George Crocker, 32 Cliff St., New York, N. Y. 

Chas. Parrish, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

Wm. Chapman, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Capt. R. A. Abbott, 

Price Wetherill, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

E. O. C. Acker, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Merritt Halliday, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

James E. Tatnall, " " 

A. M. Mattice, 2 Central Square, Cambridgeport, Mass. 

Chas. H. Manning, Supt. Amoskeag Mfg. Co., Manchester, N. H. 

W. R. Mcllvain, Reading, Pa. 

Henry S. Drinker, 227 South 4th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Prof. Jos. F. Klein, Bethlehem, Pa. 

Harry Jones, " " 

Clemens Jones, Hokendauqua, Pa. 

Frank Johnston, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Henry Smith, Bethlehem Iron Co., " 

William Strawn, " " 

Harry Hart, " " 

Chas. Anthony, " " 

Henry Trumbower, " " " 

J.B.Archer, " " 



John Horn, Bethlehem Iron Co., South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Edward Murphy, " " 

John Opp, " " 

Hartley Wolle, " " 

Michael Bitler, " " 

Wilson Weaver, " " 

George Sherer, " " 

Ed. Welden, " " 

John Leibert, " " 

Henry Stahlneeker, " " 

Horatio Yeager, " " 

Isaac Deremer, " " 

George Jenkins, " " 

Jos. Brodhead, " " 

Martin Hackman, " " 

C. W. Buchhotz, 21 Cortlandt St., New York, N. Y. 

Joseph Hartshorn, Pottstown, Pa. 

Chas. H. Wellman, Thurlow, Pa. 

James Christie, Pencoyd and Philadelphia, Pa. 

B. W. Grist, 113 West 38th St., New York, N. Y. 

W. L. Elkins, Jr., 

J. T. Knight, Sec. and Treas. Thomas Iron Co., Easton, Pa. 

R. Morris Gummere, South Bethlehem, Pa. 

Geo. F. Kunz, Tiffany & Co., 11 Union Square, New York, N. Y. 

Geo. B. Roberts, Pres. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

James Walters, Bethlehem Iron Co., South Bethlehem, Pa. 

C. Miner Dodson, Bethlehem, Pa. 

James Walters, " " 

The John Fritz Banquet to Celebrate the Founda- 
tion OF the John Fritz Gold Medal, Waldorp-As- 
TORiA, New York, October 31, 1902.* 


Early in the spring of 1902, at the call of Mr. S. T. Well- 
man, of Cleveland, a number of prominent engineers and 
manufacturers met in New York to discuss the question of 
a suitable celebration of Mr. Fritz's eightieth birthday, the 
outcome of these meetings being the appointment of the 
following committee, which decided to invite subscriptions 
to a John Fritz gold-medal fund : 

President, S. T. Wellman; treasurer, John Thomson; secretary, C. Kirch- 
hoff; S. W. Baldwin, R. W. Hunt, F. R. Hutton, C. Warren Hunt, 
J. C. Kafer, T. C. Martin, |E. E. [Olcott, R. W. Pope, H. G. Prout, 
E. G. Spilsbury, Jesse M. Smith, Ambrose Swasey, Oliver Williams, 
Calvin W. Rice, Wm. Maver, Jr. 

The organization was effected by the appointment of four 
sub-committees, as follows: 

Medal Committee. — C. Warren Hunt, chairman; F. R. Hutton, R. W. Pope, 

C. Kirchhoff. 
Finance Committee. — John Thomson, chairman; Ambrose Swasey, Jesse M. 

Smith, E. E. Olcott. 
Dinner Committee. — T. C. Martin, chairman; J. C. Kafer, H. G. Prout, 

E. G. Spilsbury. 
Invitation Committee. — S. W. Baldwin, chairman; R. W. Hunt, Oliver 


The task of designing a gold medal and cutting the dies 
was intrusted to Victor D. Brenner, of New York City. 
There was contributed by about 500 persons a sum which, 

* Reprint of a pamphlet issued at the time by the subscribers to the 




after providing for the artist's fees and other expenditures, 
left a balance of about $4,000 as a permanent fund, the 
interest on which is adequate for the annual i)urchase of 
the gold medal. A brief memorandum by the treasurer 
will be found in this pamphlet. 

The general scope of the memorial is indicated by the 
following rules adopted for the award of the medal: 




y^ /»*- ^^ 


I -'.!I^Hb^^^^9 


I 4 




Fig. 17. — -The John Fritz IMedal. 


1. — The John Fritz Medal was estabhshed by the pro- 
fessional associates and friends of John Fritz of Bethlehem, 
Pa., U. S. A., August 21, 1902, his eightieth birthday, to 
perpetuate the memory of his achievements in industrial 

2. — The medal shall be awarded for notable scientific or 
industrial achievement. There shall be no restriction on 
account of nationality or sex. 

3. — The medal shall be of gold and shall be accompanied 
by an engraved certificate, which shall recite the origin of 
the medal and the specific achievement for which the award 


is made. Such certificate shall be signed by the chairman 
and secretary of the Board of Award. 

4. — The medal may be awarded annually, but not 

5. — No award of the medal shall be made to anyone 
whose eligibility to the distinction has not been under 
consideration by the Board of Award for at least one year. 

6. — Awards shall be made by a board of sixteen, ap- 
pointed or chosen in equal numbers from the membership 
of the four national societies, the American Society of 
Civil Engineers; the American Institute of Mining En- 
gineers; the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 
and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. The 
governing bodies of each of these societies shall be requested 
to appoint from its membership one representative who 
shall hold office for one year, one for two years, one for 
three years, and one for four years; and each succeeding 
year to appoint one member to serve for four years. 

7. — In case of failure of any of the national societies to 
make the original appointments as requested, the selection 
of representatives from its members shall be made by those 
appointed from the other societies, and should any future 
vacancy occur by reason of the failure of any of the said 
societies to act, or otherwise, such vacancy shall be filled 
by the Board of Award from the membership of the society 
so faihng. 

8. — Should one or more of the four national societies go 
out of existence, its representation on the board shall cease 
and determine, and future awards shall be made by the 
representatives of the remaining societies. 

All of the four societies have selected representatives and 
the council of award has now been duly constituted in 
accordance with the above terms. 

The preUminaries for the medal having been duly settled. 


the successful foundation of the fund was signalized by a 
banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria, October 31, 1902, a report 
of which is given in the following pages. 

The models of iron and steel making processes that 
adorned the banquet room were loaned by the Stevens In- 
stitute of Technology. The Elbright Company of America, 
Russell : Spaulding, manager, made and loaned to the Dinner 
Committee without charge, a beautiful sign in frosted incan- 
descent lamps, several feet in length, reading, " John Fritz, 
1822-1902," which was hung at the back of the speakers' 
table, and which was illuminated as soon as the guest of the 
evening took his place beneath it. FaciHties for committee 
meetings, etc., were furnished courteously by the American 
Society of Mechanical Engineers and by the Engineers' 
Club. No small share of the success of the banquet was 
due to the kindly help and suggestions of " Oscar," of the 
Waldorf-Astoria, who prepared specially a number of 
trophies in candy to be borne around the hall in procession, 
illustrative of the triumphs of American steel production. 
Before the banquet began, the Dinner Committee sent to 
Mrs. John Fritz, who occupied with friends the central 
box in the balcony, a handsome birthday bouquet. The 
balcony was occupied by over 150 ladies, to whom Ught 
refreshments were served while the dinner was in progress 
below, and whose presence in full evening dress added 
greatly to the brilliancy of a memorable occasion. 

AS OF JANUARY 23, igo3. 

Total receipts, including accrued interest $6,039.32 

Total disbursements 1,930.00 

Balance on hand $4,109.32 

Now deposited in the Mercantile Trust Company, drawing 
interest at the yearly rate of 3 per cent. 

Note. — The cost of designing and constructing the medal, the dies, and 
the album was $1,700; the incidental expenses, such as circulars, stationery 


and postage, making up the remainder, $230. It is practically certain that 
the net amount available for fixed investment will not be less than, say, 
$3,700; which will be ample to carry out the purpose of the founders in an 
appropriate and satisfactory maimer. 

While the subscriptions were purposely limited to the small sum of $10, 
in order to give the large circle of Mr. Fritz's friends and admirers an oppor- 
tunity to become identified with the foundation of the medal, the Committee 
felt justified in yielding to the insistence of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who con- 
tributed $1,000, and Mr. A. J. Moxham, who contributed $100. 



The Toastmaster (Col. Henry G. Prout) : — Gentlemen: 
This afternoon a lady came into this room to look at the 
decorations and she looked at this design and she read it, 
" John Fritz, 1822-1902," and she said, " What a shame to 
drag an old man like that out of his bed! " (Laughter.) 
Obviously, she had not seen the " old man." We are met 
here for two principal purposes — first, to celebrate the 
eightieth birthday of our friend, John Fritz. (Applaus3.) 
And second, to celebrate the successful founding of the 
John Fritz Medal. (Applause.) If I might venture to 
follow for a moment the thought of the immortal Gettys- 
burg speech, I should say that Mr. Fritz himself had an- 
ticipated this celebration and made it superfluous by his 
great and lasting gifts to the happiness and prosperity of 
mankind and by his simple and dignified and sincere life. 
(Applause.) It is little that we can add to the estimation 
in which he is held by those who have known him long and 
well. It is little that we can add to the glory of his name 
throughout the civilized world. It is little that we can add 
to the endurance of that monument which he has built for 
himself. But we can find pleasure for ourselves in express- 
ing to him here in this public way our admiration and our 
affection. We can find inspiration and the glow of en- 


thusiasm for own lives in listening to the words of those 
who know his worth and his character and are qualified to 
appreciate them. These, I take it, are the real reasons 
why we are here. 

The General Committee has directed me to say to you a 
few words about the John Fritz Medal, its origin, its purpose, 
and its present state. The story is short. Last spring, a 
few friends of John Fritz met to organize a celebration of 
his eightieth birthday, and then the further thought came 
that they would establish a memorial in order that future 
generations might know that the men who had lived in the 
time of John Fritz had had the sense to appreciate his 
worth. (Applause.) It was natural that that memorial 
should take the form of a medal, and then the committee 
decided that this medal should be given to anyone in the 
world who might have proved his title to it by achievements 
in research or in applied science, and then it was decided 
that this medal should be given by a committee of sixteen 
to be chosen from the four great national engineering 
societies of our country. The General Committee believe 
that this medal, considering its scope, considering the 
method of award, will be even a more distinguished honor 
than the Bessemer Medal which Mr. Fritz himself is proud 
to hold. (Applause.) It was decided that the fund for the 
medal should be raised by a subscription, and that each 
individual subscription should be strictly limited to a small 
sum in order that many men might share in the honor of 
contributing to the fund. The Committee beheves that 
the John Fritz Medal thus established will be, like the olive 
wreath of the Olympian games, in itself a little thing of 
trifling cost, but representing such distinguished achieve- 
ment that it will always be amongst the most precious 
trophies of the man or the woman who is successful in 
getting it. (Applause.) The medal is now secure. The 


fund is established. The design has been made. The die 
is made, and the album containing the signatures of the 
subscribers to the fund will be presented now to Mr. Fritz, 
as will the master cast from the artist's model, by Mr. John 
Thomson, to whom, more than any other one man, we are 
indebted for the idea of this medal. Mr. John Thomson. 


Mr. Thomson: — We have thought, Mr. Fritz, that it 
would please you to have a permanent record in respect to 
the founding of the medal which is to bear your name. I 
have here an album. It is entitled, " The John Fritz 
Medal." It is dedicated to " John Fritz, Engineer, One 
of the Principal Founders of America's Iron and Steel 
Industry." It contains a photograph of yourself, Mr. 
Fritz, also photographs of the obverse and reverse of the 
medal, under which is inscribed " To Perpetuate the 
Memory of John Fritz and His Achievements in Industrial 
Progress." In addition to the historical data and the rules 
for the award of the medal, it also contains the names and 
addresses of the founders and their autographs, some four 
hundred and eighty-four in all. 

In the name of and in behalf of the founders of the John 
Fritz Medal, I have the great pleasure to ask you to accept 
this album, Mr. Fritz, as a slight testimonial of our admira- 
tion and regard, and we would have you beHeve that we 
desire no greater honor than to be known as the friends of 
John Fritz, of Bethlehem. (Applause.) 

We have also thought, Mr. Fritz, that it would add to 
your pleasure to announce, especially on this occasion, the 
name of the recipient of the first medal. The rules adopted 
relative thereto seem to indicate at this time one name, in 
that the stipulation is expressly set forth that the award 



shall be made to commemorate the most notable scientific 
and industrial achievement. These plaster plaques were 
reproduced from the original medal made by the artist, 
and from these one set of castings in bronze has been made, 

Fig. 18. — ExTKRiOR of Album. 

but no more shall e\cr be made therefrom, for I shall now 
destroy these original master patterns. (Applause.) (Mr. 
Thomson here smashed the plaster plaques.) 

Mr. Fritz, I am duly authorized and directed by the 
founders of the John Fritz Medal to make the following 


official announcement of the award. We ask that you, 
John Fritz, accept these bronze plaques, the only ones of 
the kind that will ever be presented as an award, made by 
and coming directly from the founders, our unanimous find- 
ing being that of all the Captains of Industry this medal 
may most worthily be awarded to you. (Applause.) 
And we beg to assure you of our abiding faith that the 
crowning reward of your splendid achievements and char- 
acter will be the perpetuation of your name, than which 
there can be no higher ideal for the engineering and in- 
dustrial captains of the future. (Applause.) 

Xow, ]Mr. Fritz, for each and all of the founders. I wish 
you many happy years and growing honors, and the love 
of friends. (Cheers.) 

The guests, on the proposal of Colonel Prout, here drank 
to the health of John Fritz. There were loud cheers and 
long calls for " Fritz." 


Mr. President, Dear Friends: I do not know what to say 
in response to this reception that I am given here to-night. 
It is utterly beyond my power to express the things that 
are in my mind. The only thing that I can say is that I 
accept this in the name of the four great engineering 
societies. I am not going to detain you long, as you can see. 

Standing here, my mind is carried back to the days of my 
youth, when I worked on a farm, from sunrise to sunset, 
barefooted. Then my wildest imagination could not have 
foreseen this honor. 

I appreciate this greeting, and accept it as a token of your 
esteem; and am truly sensible of the great honor you have 
thus conferred upon me. which gives rise to sincere joy in my 
heart, that takes precedence of all other emotions, and I can 
only say that I thank you from the depths of my heart. 


But what have 1 done to earn this reception! What little 
I have done has been much overrated, and I am the re- 
cipient of honor beyond what I deserve; but I hope that my 
kind friends will continue to overlook my shortcomings, as 
I have ever tried to do mv best. 

Fig. 19. — Frontispiece of Album. 

I do not now forget the laboring man. and especially the 
able, brave, and noble men who loyally stood by me in times 
of the severest trials that were encountered during my long 
connection with the iron and steel industries, and who were 
ever ready to face any hardship or danger that would in 
any way tend to prevent success. To these kind and loyal 
men much credit is due for such success as I have attained. 


But, alas, the majority of them have gone, the grave has 
closed over them, but they are not forgotten, and they will 
ever have a green spot in my memory. 

It was my misfortune to start in the world with a meager 
education. I was born of exemplary parents; my father 
being a man of high moral character, he fully impressed 
upon my mind the importance of energy, economy, and 
absolute integrity. My mother was a true. Christian 
woman, and early taught me to read and revere the Holy 
Bible and to trust in the Supreme Being, and that to respect 
and obey His laws was a duty which mankind should not 

At this distant day, to my mind, the moral and religious 
training received from my parents, and their noble example, 
was the most important training I could possibly have 
received; and I have ever thought the highest honor I could 
pay to their memory was to endeavor to follow their noble 
example. In after years, when overburdened with grave 
responsibilities which were ever recurring and had to be 
met, it was then I sorely felt the want of a better education; 
but on reflection, I knew my parents had done the best they 
could, and I was content. 

It has always been my good fortune to be blest with 
many kind and lovang friends, who have stood by me in the 
darkest days and were ever ready to give assistance by their 
wise and sympathetic counsel. 

There are times when it is an agreeable servitude to be 
under obligation to those whom you esteem, and I am 
deeply sensible of the honor conferred upon me on this 
occasion, and greatly regret that I have not the command 
of language to make a fitting acknowledgment to my kind 
friends, who have provided for the '* Fritz Medal " and ar- 
ranged this splendid birthday feast, and to you all for your 
presence here to-night. 


But no words of mine can ever express the full measure of 
gratitude that I so deeply feel towards you all. And here, 
my dear friends, I beg to assure you that the uniformly kind 
and thoughtful attention that you have always shown me 
will be held in grateful remembrance. 

May God, in His infinite mercy, vouchsafe to you all long, 
useful, and happy Hves, surrounded by kind and loving 
friends, is my most fervent desire. 

Three cheers for John Fritz were called for by Mr. Martin 
and given, and the diners sang, " For he's a jolly good 

The Toastmaster: — Strange thing, isn't it, that John 
Fritz has so many kind and loving friends? 

The next sentiment is " The Fathers of the Art." For at 
least seven hundred years the Anglo-Saxon people have been 
carrying on their struggle for liberty regulated by law, and 
in that struggle we, on this side of the water, have taken 
the characteristic part. We have gone out and fought our 
stubborn wars and then we have gone home and sat down 
and carried on the still more stubborn conflict with ignorance 
and folly and ignoble ambition and rapacity. The gentle- 
man who was to have spoken for the Fathers of the Art, in 
the greatest of our wars, contributed of his money, of his 
wisdom and his energy, and since that war he has continued 
to give the same devotion to the long civil struggle that has 
been going on, and all of that time he has walked in parallel 
lines with Mr. Fritz, for he too is an ironmaster. That is 
Abram S. Hewitt. (Applause.) Lowell has said that the 
chief duty of a nation is to produce great men, and I am 
sure in Fritz and Hewitt we can present fine specimens of 
the product of our nation. (Applause.) Unfortunately, 
Mr. Hewitt is too delicate to be here to-night, but he has 
sent a letter which will now be read by Mr. Martin, the 
chairman of the Dinner Committee. (Applause.) 


Mr. Martin, who was received with cheers, said: " This 
letter from the Honorable Abram S. Hewitt is addressed 
to his personal friend, Mr. E. G. Spilsbury, my associate 
on the Dinner Committee, and runs thus : 

" I have been debarred for some time by the limitations 
of age from assisting at any function which takes place in 
the evening. I have been trying, however, to make an 
exception in favor of the compHmentary dinner given by 
his admirers to my old and valued friend, John Fritz; but 
now that the time has arrived, I find I must deny myself 
the pleasure of personally congratulating him, in the com- 
pany of his loving friends, upon the attainment of his 
eightieth birthday in the full possession of his health and 
faculties, and with the promise of many honorable years to 

" We have made the journey of life together and, to some 
extent, upon the same lines of action. It is pleasant to 
recall that during the half-century of our association, at 
times of competitive struggle, the friendship which has 
existed between us has never in the slightest degree been 
disturbed. This happy experience is due, doubtless, to 
the amiable traits of Mr. Fritz's nature, which, with all its 
mascuHne energy, is tempered with the sweetness of the 
gentler sex. ' Once a friend, always a friend,' will be 
inscribed upon the record of a career which in some respects 
is unique among the men of our day and generation. 

" I do not intend to indulge myself in recounting any of 
the interesting details of his long and useful Hfe. This 
pleasant duty will be performed by others, but I do desire 
to point out that the Hfe work of John Fritz affords a very 
conspicuous example of the working of American institu- 
tions during the century which has just closed, the most 
remarkable era of progress in the history of the human race. 

" That a boy bom in humble life, with no advantages of 


education or opportunities for position, without influential 
friends or the favoring accidents of fortune, should be able 
to advance steadily in usefulness, power, and the respect of 
his fellow men, until by common consent he occupies the 
first place in the domain of practical industry with which 
he has been connected, gives conclusive evidence that 
political institutions which afford free play to individual 
ambition, industry, ability, and strict integrity are worthy 
of all loyalty and should be cherished and preserved at all 
costs and hazards. 

" The developments of the twentieth century show that 
these institutions are in great peril. Their essence is to be 
found in individual liberty, involving the right of free labor 
and the acquisition of private property under lawful con- 
ditions. When the right of free action shall be suppressed, 
the possibility of a career like that of John Fritz will be 
destroyed. Collectivism ending in Socialism, may afford 
other advantages, but let it not be overlooked that these 
advantages will be obtained only by the sacrifice of personal 
freedom, and will arrest the progress of civilization due, 
during the ages that have passed, to the substitution of 
freedom for force. 

" John Fritz is a living proof of the results of individual 
and industrial Hberty in a country endowed with boundless 
resources. In vain shall we seek for a like career in nations 
or in countries where the individual initiative has been 
suppressed. The stagnation of China, whose men are 
physically strong and whose resources are abundant, is in 
marked contrast with our own land, where heretofore every 
citizen has been free to employ his labor and his energies in 
his own way, so long as the rights of others were respected. 

" John Fritz, therefore, is to us more than a man whom 
we love and respect, more than a friend to whom we wish 
many years of health and happiness: he is an example of 


the free spirit of American institutions, a beacon light warn- 
ing the present and coming generations against permitting 
any invasion of the principle of the hberty of the citizen, 
which alone has made our beloved country great and free." 

Mr. Martin, after reading the letter, proposed three 
cheers for Mr. Hewitt, which were given heartily. 

The Toastmaster: — In this wicked world which we 
inhabit it is very little use to build a nation, such as Mr. 
Hewitt has suggested, unless we are prepared to keep it 
with the sword. I am told that in certain newspaper offices 
war has been abolished, and that armies and navies are now 
refuges for the idle, and schools of pride and cruelty. 
(Laughter.) And yet some of my friends of some practical 
experience assure me that the devil is not yet dead and that 
the richest man must still be prepared to fight for his own. 
However that may be, this gentleman on my right whose 
amiability you have heard expressly dwelt upon has spent 
some valuable years of his life in making material for 
the efficient and complete destruction of his brother man. 
(Applause and laughter.) In 1898 we were very glad to 
have some of that material in our ships. (Applause.) I 
spoke a moment ago of the Anglo-Saxon struggle for liberty 
regulated by law. I ought to have said the struggle of 
those born to speaking the English language, for the 
Scotchmen, who I believe are not Anglo-Saxon, have a 
certain fine aptitude for fighting, and with their broad- 
swords they have helped us in carving out that path toward 
liberty. I am about to introduce to you a Scotchman. 
He is, I presume — I am not told so — a descendant of 
William Wallace himself. (Laughter.) He is a sailor and 
a warrior. He is an explorer who has written his name 
across the Arctic Sea and he is an engineer who has written 
his name across the story of our new navy. I have the 
honor to introduce Rear-Admiral George Wallace Melville. 



Rear-Admiral Melville : — Gentlemen : I am called on 
to respond for the Navy of the United States. (Applause.) 
The Navy of the United States is no mean institution. It 
is second to none in the world, except in tonnage. (Ap- 
plause.) You will rightly understand that I am pleading 
for more tonnage — more tonnage, more guns, more armor, 
more speed. I will divert from the Navy, however, for a 
few minutes and for a very few minutes. 

Among us here to-night is our veritable Vulcan, whom we 
are assembled to honor, the Fire God and Iron King of the 
great engineering profession, — John Fritz. 

" Those who labor 
The sweaty forge, who edge the crooked scythe, 

Bend stubborn steel, and harden gleaming armor, 
Acknowledge Vulcan's aid." 

Who of US all would not doff the hat and bow the head in 
honor to this our grand brother of the forge and the mill ! . . 
Our guest, by his mechanical abihty and resourceful enter- 
prise, has done much to force the recognition of engineering 
as a profession. But the engineer of the hour is not without 
honor, and we who are here to-night know full well that 
the praises of John Fritz have been sung again and again, 
and that his name is grandly Hnked with the development 
of the iron and steel industries in this country. , . . 
'' Good Uncle John," as we call him, was born in a hamlet 
where everybody worked, and in early youth he acquired 
the habits of industry. It was a community where every 
one respected the rights of his neighbor, and he grew up 
with the love of his fellow man as the cardinal precept of his 
creed. Living in a State that was rich in natural resources 
and the center of the infant iron industry, he began to 
comprehend the possibilities of making the United States 
the granary of the world, and of so improving the manu- 


facture of iron and steel that the product of the western 
plain could not only be carried cheaply to the manufactur- 
ing districts of the Atlantic coast, but even to the remote 
countries beyond the sea. When we review the life work 
of this man, and measure his influence in the moulding of 
the destinies of the industrial world — no wonder that we 
account him great. He has seen the crude mill and furnace 
grow, under his very hands, as it were, into the perfectly 
equipped modern plant — he having been identified with 
every important improvement that made for increased 
production in iron. ... In the naval world he will be 
regarded, by reason of the part he played in giving us our 
first armor plant, as one of the few persons without the 
service who made it possible for the nation to secure on 
the seas even a greater prestige and influence than it ever 
possessed before. 

It is because dear old Uncle John, during his long and 
busy life, has stood for integrity, faithfulness, and applica- 
tion, and everything of good report and right living, that 
he has, aside from his mechanical genius, been able to make 
so good a fight. Our hearts go out to this man, who has 
done more than his duty — more than his share of the 
work. His open-hear tedness and gentleness of soul win 
our universal good will and esteem. Those who know him 
best love him most. ... I know that Uncle John 
would dispense with these honors that we would show him 
to-night; but he, good man, must not forget that we are a 
little selfish in this matter, because we are proud to be 
associated with him, and to be able to shine just a little 
bit by his reflected glory. 

I can but repeat the only toast of the evening, — Uncle 
John Fritz, the Fire God and the Iron King, our Vulcan, 
our great and able leader, and, as well, our kind and gentle- 
hearted brother. (Loud applause.) 


The Toastmaster : — This is a very remarkable occasion 
in some unexpected ways. We are honored to-night by the 
presence of the oldest Hving marine engineer probably in 
the world, the man who designed and engined the first 
steamship for the United States Navy, and I ask you to 
rise and give three cheers for Mr. Charles Haswell. (Cheers.) 

Mr. Haswell: — Through a long, varied, and eventful 
life I have received some compliments, but I know of none 
equal to the gracious manner in which you have been 
pleased to receive my name. (Applause.) And I assure 
you that I shall cherish it, not only in memory, but I shall 
instruct my children to bear in mind your gracious compH- 
ment bestowed upon me. (Applause.) 

The Toastmaster : — The engineer and soldier are one 
type of man, their work is substantially the same. It deals 
with the properties of matter, with the relations of time, 
space, and force. It develops the same intellectual and 
moral quahties, — quick resource, self-reliance, courage, forti- 
tude, and devotion to duty. Joshua, himself a great com- 
mander of troops, was a born engineer, and I doubt not 
that he destroyed the walls of Jericho by much the same 
means that would have been used to-day by the distin- 
guished engineer and soldier who will now speak for the 
Army. I have now the honor to introduce Gen. Eugene 
Griffin. (Applause.) 


General Griffin : — The force known as the regular 
army, existing by the will of Congress annually expressed, 
does not comprise all that should be properly included in 
the terms of our toast. The history and traditions of the 
past; the long record of glorious victories which are in- 
scribed on the blood-stained pages of the book of fame, 
all belong to the army of the United States. Its battle 


flags adorn our capitols; its trophied guns our parks and 
public places. The army includes the unfed, unshod, un- 
paid, tattered veterans of Valley Forge alike with the con- 
quering host which Sherman led through the heart of the 
Confederacy; it includes the militia of 18 12, alike with the 
grand old Army of the Potomac against whose iron front at 
Gettysburg were broken and scattered the advancing waves 
of the rebellion ; includes the victorious armies which feasted 
in the halls of the Montezumas, alike with the heroes of 
San Juan Hill; it includes the knightly troopers of the West, 
who in years of savage warfare have written a record of 
bold adventure, of daring achievements and heroic sacrifices, 
which are but feebly portrayed by the cold, brief words 
accompanying the medals of honor so brilliantly won, so 
sparingly bestowed. Regulars and volunteers ahke, in 
foreign, domestic, and savage warfare, our army has made a 
record which no criticism can behttle, which no eulogy can 
enhance. . . . What part have the engineers played 
in this glorious record? Have our military brothers upheld 
the reputation of our profession? Let us see. . . . 
Armistead, the third graduate of the United States Military 
Academy, commanded an army in the field . . . and 
Alexander Macombe was called from his high place as 
Chief of Engineers to take command of the army of the 
United States as Major- General. But it was in the Civil 
War that the great opportunity came — after political influ- 
ence had ceased to be a potent factor and when real merit 
was pushing men to the front. . . . Here is a list of 
twelve army commanders all taken from the Corps of 
Engineers. . . . Twelve corps commanders were taken 
from the Corps of Engineers. On the Confederate side 
there were eleven general officers with big commands, and 
all taken from the Corps of Engineers. And again, as 
division and brigade commanders, as chiefs of staff and as 


staflF officers, as commanders of engineer and volunteer 
troops, there were many others whose names would make a 
much longer list. 

Such a glorious record is sufficient evidence that the 
Corps of Engineers furnished much more than its fair pro- 
portion of skillful leaders and able soldiers, and that they 
well uphold the reputation of the engineering profession. 
The fact that over 10 per cent of all the officers in the Corps 
of Engineers were killed in battle during the Civil War is 
the best possible evidence that they knew how to fight. 

And it is not alone in practical demonstration of the art 
and science of war that the engineers of the army have made 
so good a record. Their work in civil lines bearing upon 
social and economic conditions has been most important. 
There came into my possession to-day the manuscript of a 
most interesting chapter bearing upon this subject. I 
quote from it as follows: 

" The Baltimore & Ohio was the earliest important rail- 
road enterprise undertaken in the United States. S. H. 
Long, William Howard, and William Gibbs McNeill, all 
officers of engineers, . . . were chosen as a board to 
select the proper route to the Ohio. Upon the rails defi- 
nitely located by McNeill, for the first time in America, ran 
a steam locomotive. Before McNeill resigned in 1837 he 
had surveyed the summit division of the C. & O. canal, and 
had acted as chief engineer of seven other railroads from 
New England to Florida and Alabama. After he resigned, 
for the remaining sixteen years of his Hfe, he acted as chief 
or consulting engineer upon many railroads and other 
public enterprises in the United States and Cuba, completing 
the western railroad of Massachusetts, planning and practi- 
cally constructing the first large dry docks at the Brooklyn 
Navy Yard, and acting as president of the Chesapeake & 
Ohio canal. 


" Probably greater than McNeill was his junior, Whistler, 
. . . In 1835 the Russian government determined to 
build a line from St. Petersburg to Moscow. A commission 
of Russian engineers suggested Major Whistler to take 
charge of this work, and he accepted in 1842. The road 
and its equipment were planned by him in detail. . . . 
His report upon the gauge to be selected has been pro- 
nounced one of the finest models of any engineering docu- 
ment ever written. ... In building of engines, all 
parts were standardized and interchangeable. Whistler 
died in 1849. Another graduate of West Point, T. S. 
Brown, was invited to succeed him. ... In a hasty 
inspection of the records, I have been able to count 49 
graduates who have been chief engineers, and 22 who have 
been presidents of railroads. Many have acted in these 
capacities on several railroads, and the list would be long 
indeed of those who have served as resident or assistant 

Now, as to our honored guest. We are here to-night to 
testify our respect, our admiration, our affection for that 
sturdy engineer, that noble man, — John Fritz. He has 
lived a life which we may well strive to emulate, and made 
a record we all dehght to honor. Longfellow says : 

" But age is opportunity no less 
Than youth, though in another dress; 
And as the evening twilight fades away 
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day." 

It is my hope and my prayer, it is the hope and prayer 
of all of us, that these stars, even though invisible to us, 
may shine brightly and serenely upon the pathway of 
John Fritz until the day comes when the great Archangel 
sounds the last taps and the lamp of Hfe is extinguished. 
(Hearty and continued applause.) 

The Toastmaster: — We will now have a few extracts 


from letters and other messages that have been received, 
and first I would like to read something that has been 
handed to me. The President of the World's Fair to be 
held at St. Louis, Governor Francis, who regrets his in- 
ability to join with us on this occasion, has asked me to 
announce here the appointment of Mr. John Fritz as 
Honorary Expert in the Metallurgy of Iron and Steel for 
the Exposition. (Applause.) 

The messages of congratulation and so forth will be read 
by a gentleman who with characteristic modesty has under- 
taken to conceal his identity, inasmuch as he had the 
preparation of this printed list. At the risk of interrupting 
a friendship of twenty years, I am going to tell you his name 
presently. I want to tell you that we are all very greatly 
indebted to him for the tremendous amount of energy and 
devotion and ingenuity which he has put into the prepara- 
tion of the details of this dinner; as, for instance, this 
beautiful menu which you see. It was prepared entirely 
under his direction, and I would suggest that each one of 
you carry away his menu with religious care, because it 
will be extremely difficult for you to replace it if you lose 
it now, and I am sure you will prize it very greatly. You 
will observe on the first page the autograph of Mr. John 
Fritz, which he has put there with a good deal of trouble; 
I think he signed some six hundred of them, ha\dng before 
him the constant terror of writer's cramp. (Laughter.) 
To the chairman of the Dinner Committee we owe this, 
also, which I am told is the revised American Society 
section of rail (laughter), and we owe to him a great many 
other things; but I promised to tell you his name, — Mr. 
Thomas Commerford Martin. (Applause and cheers.) 

Mr. Martin: — On behalf of the Dinner Committee, I 
wish to announce that we did not attempt to revise the 
standard section of steel rail in America. (Laughter and 


applause.) You will find this sample in the catalogues; 
I will not say whose. (Laughter.) I told Mr. Wellman, 
when he remarked to me in the way of criticism that he 
was not famiUar with that section (laughter), that Oscar 
said it had to fit the sorbet boxes. Mr. Wellman said that 
that was something new to him in the way of steel rails. 
(Laughter.) I have here a bimch of messages, cable dis- 
patches, and letters, and a whole volume more on ice at the 
Engineers' Club. (Laughter.) I will not inflict many on 
you, but I beheve you will be glad to hear each one of these. 


Letters, telegrams, etc., read. 

San Francisco. 

Regret enforced absence on this occasion, which marks an epoch in 

American metallurgy by honoring your birthday. " Ithuriel's spear 

touched a toad, it became a jewel." You touched iron ore and transformed 

it into armor, guns, shafts, plate, materials, with which American engineers 

have conquered the whole world by land and sea. All hail Unser Fritz, 

father of us all. Deem it not a too presumptuous folly, this spray of western 

pine beside your eastern oak and holly. 

Irving M. Scott. 

Genoa, Italy. 
Though absent and far away, I wish to add my congratulations to Mr. 
Fritz on his eightieth birthday. He has done more for the steel industry 
than any man living, and we all acknowledge him as our master and prize 
him as our friend. Charles M. Schwab. 

Absent in body, present in mind. Thanks for thirty years' friendship. 

C. P. Sandberg. 


Sincere wishes to your eightieth birthday and respectful homages to one 
of the pioneers of American iron industry. Max Meier. 

Heartiest congratulations and hopes that we may for a long time still, 
keep your true friendship. 


Chf. Engr. John Cockerill Works, 
Seraing, Belgium. 



Happy salutation to the well-deserved chief of Ironmasters. 

Verein Deutscher Eisenhuettenleute, 

Carl Lueg Schroedter. 

Winsor Richards, Edward Martin, and Arthur Keen, London, much 
regret they are not with you to-day, but join your many friends on the other 
side of the Atlantic in wishing you very many happy returns of your birthday. 

Edward Martin, 
(Mgr. Director, Dowlais Works, England.) 

On this day of honor congratulations and heartfelt well-wishes. 

Axel Sahlin, 
G. M., Millom & Askam Furnaces, West Cumberland, England. 

The Rectory, St. Andrews, Scotlan-d. 
Absence deeply regretted. Long life, happiness, health, wealth, and 
honor to John Fritz, rolling-mill pioneer, friend and counsellor of us all. 


Sheffield's heartiest greetings to John Fritz. 

Robert Hadfield, 
(Inventor of Manganese Steel.) 

Regret my absence. Add my best wishes to all those showered upon 
John Fritz this evening. 

James Dredge, 
Editor, London Engineering. 

Best wishes for the John Fritz Medal banquet. 

P. T. Berg, 
(Formerly Chf. Eng. of the Homestead Works.) 

As I am obliged to sail for Europe on the morning of October 31st, it is 
with profound regret that I have to announce my inability to be present 
at the banquet to be given on that date to Mr. John Fritz, the man who has 
done so much for this country as a pioneer in its great iron and steel indus- 

When we compare the feeble beginnings of this department of metal- 
lurgy with its strength to-day, we are astounded and can well understand 
the consternation of European nations, as they contemplate the giant 
strides we have made and are still making in this branch of industry. This 
state of things has been made possible only by the great work of such masters 


as our honored friend. May his latter days be like those of Moses, " his 
eye not dim, or his natural force abated." 


E. E. Olcott, 
(Pres. Am. Inst. Mining Engrs.) 

Mr. Ambrose Swasey also cabled his congratulations from Japan, where 
he was traveling. 

The Toastmaster: — Ever since men quit fighting with 
clubs, iron has been the great war material, and it is still 
the real precious metal, because the man who has iron can 
get coal, and yet the consumption of iron as a material of 
war is very insignificant as compared with its consumption 
in the arts of peace. Civilization is well measured by the 
consumption of iron, and in our own country we consume 
more per capita than any other nation. You may draw your 
own inference as to our standing in civilization. Of all 
the iron and steel that we produce now, it is probable that 
not more than one-half of one per cent goes into ships of 
war, guns, shell, and other military material. Practically, 
all of it is consumed in the tools of peace. The gentleman 
who will speak for the American Society of Civil Engineers, 
of which he is an honored past president, has himself, I 
suppose, consumed about one hundred thousand tons of 
iron and steel in the bridges which he has built. I have 
the honor to introduce Mr. George S. Morison. (Applause.) 


Mr. Morison: — Mr. President, Gentlemen, Ladies: 
The amount of iron and steel which I have myself consumed 
is so insignificant in comparison with what is used every 
day now, that I feel as if your introduction was a puff which 
I did not deserve. But we are here with especial respect 
to a great ironmaster, and the ironmaster has done more 
than anybody else to raise the profession of the civil en- 


gineer to the rank which it holds to-day. (Applause.) 
The civil engineer's profession is less than a century old. 
The civil engineer's work, dating from the remotest an- 
tiquity, was confined to other materials than metal. His 
works were built of timber and his fine works of stone. 
The iron master has added iron and steel. The profession 
is no longer dependent solely on the laws of compression: 
it has the laws of tension and of elasticity as well. It has 
been elevated and raised by these increased powers, and 
it is the ironmaster who has rendered this possible. To no 
one does our profession owe such a debt of gratitude as to 
these men who have given us the material of modern con- 
struction. But it is not only in this way that we would 
refer to our guest of the evening. The profession of the 
ci\'il engineer is new as a profession. It has been built up 
in the last century. The men who built it up and made it 
what it is, were men who not only had to build it but to 
make their own precedents and find their own way. They 
could not be educated, because no man is educated in that 
which has not yet been done. They had to do their first work 
themselves. (Applause.) If we go back through the his- 
tory of the world, we find in the earhest times that a set 
of men established the conditions while working with the 
sword, by personal bravery, by indomitable skill. We find 
those men classed in all ancient history as heroes. They 
were the heroes of war, and if they were the right kind of 
heroes they were the masters in peace. The hero was the 
man of the earliest times, and after that when we come to 
a time when intellect rather than prowess began to have 
its effect, when education was not general but was special- 
ized among a few, we find another set of men of very different 
order, who led people forward by the force of their minds, 
and their intellect, and who were known as the prophets of 
those days. And passing from the time of prophecy to the 


times which we can almost remember ourselves, because 
we remember the people who were active then, we come 
to the very class of men who made our country possible, 
who did the work which Mr. Hewitt has so graphically 
described, and who were the patriots of that period. These 
three classes of men have made the history of the past. 
Their work was done practically before our profession 
began, but in the work of the last century, the time that 
has made the profession of civil engineering what it is, we 
have had in that profession a set of men who have perhaps 
done more than any of the others to render the conditions 
of universal humanity possible which we see to-day. Those 
have been the men, who, working without precedent, find- 
ing their own way, laying the foundation for the education 
which the profession in the twentieth century will enjoy, 
have brought up civil engineering to what it is. You may 
call them heroes, you may call them prophets, you may call 
them patriots; they have the best quahties of all three. 
But I think they can in no way be described better than 
the men who have done the most to utihze the forces and 
the materials of nature for the best good of our race. They 
are the pioneers and the best civil engineers, and among 
them we can place no one in a higher rank than our guest 
of to-night. (Applause.) 

The Toastmaster : — Now we come to the foundation 
of things. But for the mining engineer we should have 
no ironmasters. The mining engineer made John Fritz 
possible. He made Bob Hunt possible. He made Alex- 
ander Holley possible. (Applause.) The American In- 
stitute of Mining Engineers will be spoken for to-night by 
a gentleman who for many years has ably served that 
institution as its secretary and who has made a great mark 
on its history. I mean Dr. Rossiter W. Raymond. (Ap- 



Dr. Raymond: — Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: 
Nothing less, I think, than the occasion and the subject of 
to-night could have stimulated a busy and a weary man to 
come here at this hour. I suppose that very few men now 
living or who ever have lived, or if they did live, ever lived 
very long under such a burden of reiterated, monotonous, 
successive, and onerous occupations as has been for the past 
few months, particularly, in view of certain extra volumes 
and so forth, the lot of the secretary of the Institute of 
Mining Engineers. In fact, when I consider the work of 
my recent occupation, I can find no parallel to it except the 
case of the old fellow who kept a lighthouse off the Maine 
coast, who was left alone, tending his light, coming to the 
mainland once in a while to buy himself a plug of tobacco 
and row himself back again to his lonesome habitation. 
Well, there was a colporteur and tract distributor in Maine 
who heard of this hermit and resolved to bring him some 
spiritual benefits. So on one occasion, seizing the oppor- 
tunity of a calm sea, he rowed himself out of sight of land 
and reached the distant lighthouse on the outside Hne of 
our coast, and he undertook to leave with the hghthouse 
keeper a package of useful and inspiring tracts, and the 
old man said: " Take them away; I haven't got any time 
for them." (Laughter.) "Why," said the other, "you 
must have a great deal of time; you have nothing to do here 
but to tend your light. I should think you would be very 
glad of a little occupation." " Occupation," said the old 
fellow; " I have got occupation enough. I have got St. 
Vitus's dance and a Waterbury watch." (Laughter.) 
That is about the condition of the office of the secretary 
of the Institute of Mining Engineers. (Laughter.) But 
if I were weary unto death, methinks I would stir myself to 


rise and come hither and accept the great privilege of speak- 
ing a word to-night for the man and for the society that I 
love. (Applause.) 

You do well, Mr. President, to call upon the Institute of 
Mining Engineers upon this occasion. The Institute of 
Mining Engineers was the first technical society in this 
country to recognize those virtues and merits, that bril- 
Hancy, that fidelity, that glorious character in John Fritz 
which you now at this meeting do again. (Applause.) 
Our society was organized in 1871 and we elected John 
Fritz in 1872 a member, in 1875 we made him vice-president. 
I do not blame the Mechanicals for not doing it so early — 
they were not bom. (Laughter.) In 1894 we made him 
our president. The Mechanical Engineers, with commend- 
able imitation of us (laughter), elected him a member in 
1 88 1 and president in 1895, after we had got through. 
(Laughter.) The Civil Engineers elected him a member 
in 1893, ^iid, much to their credit, elected him an honorary 
member in 1899. In that, gentlemen, as in almost every 
other important step, the progress of the American Institute 
of Mining Engineers leads the procession. (Laughter.) 
But there is another reason why you do well to couple the 
name of this honored man with the name of the society 
which honored him first. The American Institute of 
Mining Engineers belongs to the class of which John Fritz 
is an example and a type. There are three kinds of people: 
the men that do things, the men that hinder things, and the 
men that report and criticize things (laughter) ; the workers, 
the shirkers, and the reporters. Now, the American In- 
stitute of Mining Engineers is composed of the men that 
do things. (Laughter.) The chairman of your Dinner 
Committee has just read a long list, from celebrated sources, 
of congratulatory telegrams. Every single name in that 
list except the Japanese name which I could not understand 


as it was pronounced, is a member of the Institute of Mining 
Engineers. Last year a collection was made of the so- 
called Captains of Industry to welcome Prince Henry of 
Germany. Twenty per cent of the entire list were members 
of the Institute of Mining Engineers; of those who were 
eligible for membership, ninety-nine per cent. (Laughter.) 
The first president of the Institute of Mining Engineers, 
Father David Thomas, and its twelfth president, John 
Fritz, alike were practical men, — men who had made their 
own way, and who, although they had been obHged to 
triumph without the aid of an early education, were among 
the most cordial to welcome such an education, its advan- 
tages to the next generation, its aid to themselves. We 
begin at the outside, unlike the other technical societies of 
this country, and I do not claim that our system is better. 
I have often said that I could recognize the advantages of 
others, but I do think that it is different. We have in our 
membership common miners, laborers, mine foremen, and 
people that cannot spell — but then, that is nothing, most 
of you can't spell. (Laughter.) I am an editor and I 
know. (Laughter.) We have men who understand, and 
it has been our strength and our glory and our growth that 
we had from the beginning the men who understood, not 
merely the intricacies of theory, but the still more devilish 
intricacies of practical experience. Let me tell you just 
a little thing that I heard John Fritz once say, and let me 
sum up the whole matter as to this point with that. Fritz 
said to me: " When I am going to start a new engine, I 
want a good draughtsman to make the drawings, and I 
want the patterns to be well made, and I want the pieces 
to be assembled and put together in the shop, and then I 
want them taken to the mill, and I want the machine 
erected, and then when the boys come to me and say it is 
all right, I say, Are you sure it is all right? Does every- 


thing fit? Is it all according to the drawings? Are all the 
proportions just right? Yes, yes, yes. Well, then, turn 
on the steam and let us see why the thing won't go." 
(Laughter.) That is another matter in which I claim that 
John Fritz is a worthy member and a typical member of 
the Institute of Mining Engineers. In the thirty-one 
volumes of our transactions, over twenty-five thousand 
pages octavo, you will not find in the transactions of this 
really national mine workers' union — you will not find one 
single fine about raising the pay of engineers. (Laughter.) 
You will find a great many pages about raising engineers. 
You will not find one single plan for shortening a day's work 
or diminishing the quantity of labor that an honest man 
gives for his wages. (Applause.) But you will find a great 
many pages devoted to the problem of increasing and im- 
proving the quahty of the labor. You will find the spirit 
of giving more than you get stamped on its pages. You 
will find that the enemy of that Society is not capital, but 
ignorance; that the weapon of that Society is not the brutal 
boycott or the senseless strike or the voluntary idleness, 
which a certain great authority has recently declared to be 
the weapon of another society, but industry, knowledge, 
and light. You will find that Society recognizing individual 
manhood. You will find that Society rewarding it with 
its recognition and its praise and not believing in any 
solidarity of occupation which constitutes a mass without 
units. (Applause.) You will find that Society entertain- 
ing the ideal of manhood that rises not upon the ruined 
homes and slain bodies of its fellow men, but uplifted on 
their grateful hands. You will find that Society standing 
in a solid rank for individual liberty, for individual en- 
deavor, for the man who works over hours, for the man who 
thinks more of his duties than of his rights, for the man who 
gives forever and forever more than he gets. (Applause.) 


And against the glorified picture of another John which has 
been set before us in these latter days, we lift the t>'pe of 
our John, — John Fritz (applause) ; and we match John 
Fritz's day with John Mitchell's day; that was yesterday; 
this is to-day, and thank God it is to-morrow and forever. 

I pray God that the medal which we have this night 
installed will stand forever for those who shall win and wear 
it, as the name upon it stands to-day for such qualities as 
these. I pray God that He may grant it — nay, He will 
grant it, for He is not dead, and American manhood and 
liberty inspired by Him are not dead, and Justice and Truth 
are the foundations of our national life as they are the 
foundation of His eternal throne. (Tremendous applause.) 

The Toastmaster : — I have here a telegram which has 
just been received: " Accept my heartiest congratulations. 
I join with those present in honoring you. Controlling 
reasons prevent my being with you. George Westing- 
house." (Applause.) The stated order of proceeding will 
now be rudely interrupted by Mr. John C. Kafer, of the 
Dinner Committee, who has something to say. (Applause.) 

Mr. K^fer : — Mr. Chairman, Mr. Fritz, and Gentlemen : 
I am delegated by Mr. Irving M. Scott of San Francisco, 
who has sent me this beautiful loving cup, to present it to 
Mr. John Fritz, in commemoration of what Mr. Fritz has 
done for him in his work in building the Oregon. On this 
cup is inscribed the following: " To John Fritz on his 
eightieth birthday. The builder of the West greets the 
genius of the East. The Oregon's performance glorifies 
the steel of Fritz." (Applause.) 

We have with us here to-night the designer of the ma- 
chinery of the Oregon, Rear-Admiral Melville. We have 
Mr. Lewis Nixon, who was the designer of the hull. Mr. 
Irving Scott promised to be here but could not get here, 


and Mr. Henry Scott was unavoidably detained. Mr. 
Fritz, I present this to you in the name of Mr. Irving M. 
Scott of San Francisco. (Applause.) 

The Toastmaster: — I suppose that no other body of 
men ever spoiled so much good steel as the mechanical 
engineers. (Applause.) And I know of no one so well 
qualified to apologize for them as their honored past presi- 
dent, whom I shall presently introduce. It is especially 
fitting that he shall speak here, because he was one of the 
Bessemer boys in the very infancy of the art. He worked 
under and with John Fritz and George Fritz and Bill Jones, 
and that soaring genius, that beautiful spirit, that greatest 
of them all, Alexander Holley. (Applause.) What a priv- 
ilege it was to begin one's life work building up a great 
art in such company! It is my privilege now to introduce 
to you that highly favored gentleman, Capt. Robert W. 
Hunt. (Applause.) 


Captain Hunt : — Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentle- 
men: My tongue would have to be palsied if I could not re- 
spond to such an introduction. The only thing that makes 
it embarrassing is that my name should be coupled with 
those greater ones. But it was, thank God, from the in- 
spiration of them, that any success which may have come 
to me has been my lot to achieve. And serving under John 
Fritz, could you ask a better pioneer, could you ask a 
greater, a more inspiring commander? (Applause.) The 
American Society of Mechanical Engineers probably made 
one great mistake in their selection of a president; outside 
of that their roll shows a line of names of most distinguished 
gentlemen, and among them none tower so high as that of 
John Fritz. He made our society great, not only in this 
land but in the lands of the world. Raymond says we took 

Fig. 20. — Cup presented to John Fritz on his Eightieth Birthday 
BY IR^^NG M. Scott, Builder of the Oregon. 



him second-handed. But we were only waiting to give him 
the honor which belonged to him. (Applause.) And when 
he came to us perfected from the crucial fire, he became our 
president, and it is as our president that you will ever know 
him. (Applause and laughter.) 

It happened, gentlemen, to be my fate to commence my 
active career in the iron and steel business at Cambria in 
i860, and I went there just one month after Mr. John Fritz 
had resigned his position as Chief Engineer and General 
Manager of that concern to remove to Bethlehem and there 
establish the Bethlehem Iron Company. When I went to 
Cambria I found I entered a house of mourning, and I was 
greeted with tales of the attributes and the loving-kindness 
and all else that go to make up the character of the " old 
man " who had gone away. I found there succeeding him 
his brother George Fritz, and it was my fate to become and 
to be to the end of his too quickly ended Hfe his most inti- 
mate friend. He died in 1873, and it was through him and 
by him that I knew and became known by John Fritz. 
You call him " Uncle John "; I have a right and I claim it 
to get closer, because he is nearer me, and it has been my 
fortune during these many active years to know that I was 
one of his boys. (Applause.) I regard George Fritz and 
always did regard him, and I regard his memory to-day as 
that of the greatest mechanic that I ever knew. (Applause.) 
And still he thought, as he called him with the rest — the 
" old man " was greater than he. (Applause.) But I 
know that neither of them ever took a step that he did not 
consult the other, and each bore to the other the greatest 
respect for his ability. And later Alec HoUey was let into 
the family. (Applause.) John Fritz, George Fritz, Alex- 
ander L. HoUey. (Applause.) Think of that combination, 
gentlemen. They were the pioneers of the Bessemer busi- 
ness in America. (Applause.) And with leaders, able as- 


sistants had to come. The result — America has led the 
world. (Applause.) 

A peculiarity of Mr. Fritz which you all know is that he 
has liked hard work, and he also has built better than he 
really knew. Typically, I remember on one occasion 
he called in a friend to criticize a piece of machinery which 
he had designed, and steam had been turned on and it was 
running. The only comment that this friend could make 
was, " Mr. Fritz, don't you think that you have made it 
unnecessarily strong ? " John rephed, " Well, if I have, it 
will never be found out." (Applause and laughter.) And 
I tell you he has loved hard work. There was an occasion 
when there was a breakdown at the Bethlehem rail mill 
and the mill was stopped. Impatient at the unsuccessful 
efforts of those who tried to drive the broken casting off 
the shaft, he seized a sledge and swinging such blows as 
only those massive shoulders could deliver, it was soon 
loosened; but as he put down the sledge at nine o'clock at 
night, an old employee, a privileged man, who happened to 
be an Irishman, said: " Now, plaze, Mr. Fritz, go home. 
Sure you have been here since six o'clock this morning. Let 
the boys do the rest, but begob, I don't know why I should 
ask it of you, because during all these years you have worked 
time and half-time." (Applause.) Looking at him to- 
night, time and half-time don't seem to have hurt, and I 
will tell you why. His labor has always been on straight 
lines, no matter what opposed, no matter how others looked. 
He has had his troubles, God knows, but his path was the 
straight one, and he hewed it on those hues to the end. 
(Applause.) Gentlemen, I think one of the greatest com- 
pliments that was ever paid him, and he has been the 
recipient of many, as you know, and none great enough, 
was the fact that he could not make a bad thing. His 
integrity entered into the products of his establishment. 


(Applause.) Bethlehem rails, and Bethlehem billets, of 
special steel, ranked the highest. Commercial conditions 
became such that there was no profit. Well ! The produc- 
tion of rails and billets ceased, but the works were turned 
on lines where perfection of result was all-important, and 
so you had introduced into America the manufacture of 
armor plate and of ordnance. He could not make the 
armor so perfect but what he could make the ordnance to 
knock it out, and they had a great time getting the equi- 
librium. However, here I say, the great comphment came 
when John W. Gates through his revenge against Andrew 
Carnegie precipitated the discussion in the Committee of 
Congress on the affairs of our nation as to whether or no we 
were paying too much money for the armor for our ships. 
They turned to Mr. Fritz to give them the figures of proper 
cost of production, and give them the design of a plant if 
the Government desired to build one or decided to build 
one, and the cost of the plant. The then Secretary of the 
Navy, in introducing him to the Congressional Committee, 
said: " I present to you Mr. John Fritz, the most honest 
man I have ever known." (Applause.) And the results 
of Mr. Fritz's figures and their confidence in them saved our 
nation from making the great mistake of entering into that 
manufacture. (Applause.) 

Gentlemen, from all you have heard to-night, and from 
all we know, his talents, his integrity, have conquered the 
respect of the world. Years ago his loving kindness and 
himself made him the crowned king of our hearts. Long 
live the king! (Applause.) 

The Toastmaster: — In some sense, John Fritz belongs 
to the world. That you have heard over and over again 
to-night. But if you would know the real man, if you would 
know him in his gentleness and in his strength, if you would 
know him in his wisdom and in his sympathy, you must go 


into the valley where he lives, and amongst the neighbors 
who dwell around him. The Valley and the Neighbors 
will be spoken for to-night by one of Mr. Fritz's old and 
trusted friends, Mr. OUver Williams. 


Mr Williams: — Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: 
Seventy-five years ago the Lehigh Valley was practically an 
unknown district. At the upper end a few cranks were 
endeavoring to persuade their neighbors that the black 
stones that were outcropping all around them could be 
burned, but with very little success. Thirty years after- 
ward, by the course of evolution, these black stones became 
black diamonds, and the cranks became coal operators. 
Twenty years later through the same evolution, the opera- 
tors became coal barons. I did not know until a few weeks 
ago how they obtained this name, and it was only when I 
went to John Markle, Dr. Wentz, and George McCreary, and 
half a dozen more, with tears in my eyes, to beg for a carload 
of coal and couldn't get it, that I found out why each one 
of them was called a coal barren. (Laughter and applause.) 
It has always been a question where the coal measures 
ended and the slate measures commenced. John Markle 
and the rest of them say that the slate measures appear 
round about Slatington. My wife says they begin up 
around Hazleton, judging from the coal bin that she has had 
filled at different times. (Laughter.) The slate district 
of the valley has been one of tremendous importance to us. 
The boom in slate has been caused largely by the political 
bosses of Pennsylvania and the adjoining States. Their 
demand was very great. There has been, by the order of 
wise Providence, another measure just below the slate 
measure, and that is the cement measure, made, apparently, 
because in the last few years the common people have 


smashed so many of these slates that our bosses have made 
for us, that it took all the cement that was in that region 
to repair, and that has caused a boom in the cement in- 
dustry. (Laughter.) Another great and helpful influence 
from the cement industry has been to repair the fortunes 
of the poor old fellows who owned that ground originally, 
and could not make a living from it, and that has now 
enriched so many of the people of that district. 

Adjoining the cement district comes the iron district. I 
will not stop at this late hour to give you any history of the 
wonderful story of the prosperity of the iron industry in the 
Lehigh Valley from the day that Father Thomas blew in 
the first anthracite furnace in '39 up to the present time that 
these later furnaces have poured out their iron by the mil- 
Kons of tons. It is about forty years ago that John Fritz 
invaded that valley. He came from the rural districts and 
took possession of our land. It was a scene of bucolic in- 
nocence when he came there. I don't think I am preju- 
diced, but with determined earnestness I want to tell you 
that the people of that Valley — and it is a great thing to be 
known as the Valley, without any prefix to it — the people 
of that district were distinguished for their amiability, their 
beauteous persons, their courteous manners, their dignity, 
their earnestness, their firmness, their generosity, their — 
well, I can go through the alphabet, but I won't. I don't 
mean to say that all the people had all these virtues com- 
bined in them. There were only two there, really, that 
had all these virtues. I would say that one was John 
Fritz, only I have to go back and live with him for the next 
thirty or forty years, and I do not know what the effect 
would be if I told him of those virtues that were combined 
in him. 

It is with the deepest feeling that I speak to you to-night 
for a moment of the love and esteem in which we hold this 


man in the Valley. We know all about him. We can say 
that we have eaten with him, we have drunk with him, 
we have slept with him, and we have gone to Pittsburg with 
him. (Laughter.) I could a tale unfold, but I won't. 
(Laughter.) I will only say this, — that our feelings, in 
reference to this man, can only be expressed by a darky 
story. A darky wanted to get a divorce from his wife. 
Going to Lawyer Scott, the lawyer asked him what claim 
he had — what had she done. What were his reasons for 
getting a divorce? And the lawyer heard the darky sob- 
bing and looking up he saw the great tears running down 
from his eyes. He said to him, " You love this woman? " 
"Love her — love her! Why, I fairly analyze her." 
(Laughter.) That is the feeling we have toward John Fritz. 

In the palmy days of Venice they had a book that was 
called the Golden Book, and in that book were written the 
great deeds of those men that had acted worthily toward the 
Great Republic. The Golden Book of the Lehigh Valley is 
the hearts of the neighbors of this man, and first and fore- 
most in their hearts is written the name of John Fritz. 

The Toastmaster: — A very few years ago there ap- 
peared upon this planet a set of men who now threaten to 
drive us all out of business. They deal with a body of 
facts of which we who have gray hair know almost nothing. 
They speak a language to which we listen without under- 
standing. They are changing the mechanic arts and they 
are changing the whole face of society, and they are doing 
that by an agency which they themselves cannot explain 
or define. Of course, I mean the electrical engineers. 
The Listitute of Electrical Engineers, the youngest of our 
engineering societies and already one of the strongest, is 
represented here to-night by a pioneer in the art, one of 
their past presidents, — Prof. Elihu Thomson. (Applause.) 



Professor Thomson : — Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and 
Gentlemen: It is certainly a great pleasure on this inspir- 
ing occasion to join in the homage to our honored guest, 
John Fritz. We represent, as your toastmaster has said, 
the youngest growth or development in engineering. One 
of the speakers preceding me said that America leads the 
world in certain directions. In what direction did America 
lead the world first? Why, in electrical work, in electrical 
engineering. These successes that have followed were the 
natural outgrowth of the grand development that was going 
on among our industries. The American electrical engineer 
can, however, say that he set the pace for the world, by 
Franklin, earlier than the others. He is, I hope, to be able 
to continue setting that pace. It certainly will remain with 
us electrical engineers to keep up the progress, and the 
advancement which has been so rapid in the past twenty 
years. When this electrical engineering industry first be- 
gan, our honored guest, John Fritz, the man for whom we 
are gathered here to show our respect and admiration, was 
an old man, relatively speaking. Less than twenty years 
ago, electrical engineering did not exist. Not much more 
than seventeen or eighteen years ago (I think that is the 
time), a band of a few enthusiasts, as they might be called, 
gathered together and called themselves the American 
Institute of Electrical Engineers. As the art grew, the 
Institute grew. It has kept pace with that enormous 
growth and development which now keeps us all so busy. 
And what is that enormous growth based upon? Why, it 
leads back to the ironmaster. . . . 

We have, in the short time of the life of this American 
Institute which I have the honor to represent, revolutionized 
lighting, we have revolutionized power, we have revolu- 


tionized the chemical industries to a large extent, and are 
bound to revolutionize metallurgy much more than has yet 
been done. We can almost see our way clear to the giving 
a candle power of light for say a quarter of a watt, or 1500 
candle power to a horse power perhaps — not the 2000 
candle-power arc light that you have all heard of, that only 
measures three or four or five hundred actually, but 1500 
real candle power. We have given you not only one kind 
of light, but half a dozen different kinds of light, and those 
half-dozen different kinds of light having their own special 

We have in these few years revolutionized the street-rail- 
way systems and we are bound to revolutionize in time those 
great systems that extend over the country for hundreds 
and hundreds of miles. From the electric furnace we have 
produced the best abrasives, the hardest substances, and 
we have even produced the diamond. At the same time we 
have some furnaces that have produced not the grittiest 
and hardest of substances, but almost the softest of solids, 
which will flow under pressure like liquid, — an artificial 
graphite. We have given you aluminum, the Hghtest of 
metals, with alloys which make it almost as common as 
brass and cheaper bulk for bulk. There is even a promise 
that we may be able to attack on a commercial scale the 
elements of the atmosphere, nitrogen and oxygen, and unite 
them commercially and produce nitrates for use in the 
fertilization of lands. (Applause.) 

Now we are, as it were, on the threshold of this develop- 
ment. Within a few years we have had a most surprising 
development in the way of transmission of signals for long 
distances. The telephone itself was wonderful enough, — a 
little piece of sheet metal in front of a magnet with a coil on 
it through which you could talk over enormous distances — 
but we have, as it were, seized upon the whole ether sur- 


rounding the world; we have seized upon an atmosphere, not 
of air, but of that something which is within air and which 
fills all space, and made it the means of communication. 

In closing, I would say I know I voice the sentiments 
of every one of the body of American Electrical Engineers 
in doing honor — I stand as the representative of each and 
every one of them in doing honor to the guest, John Fritz, 
this evening. (Applause.) 

The Toastmaster: — Bob Hunt has told us of the fame 
of Bethlehem rails and billets and armor plate and castings ; 
but to my mind the greatest product of Bethlehem is men. 
Bethlehem men were bred under John Fritz, and under 
hina they learned not only their business as engineers, but 
they learned those things which lie at the very foundation 
of society: they learned thoroughness and justice and 
loyalty and fidelity and devotion to duty, and wherever 
they went out, to carry Fritz's ideas over the country. 
The gentleman who will speak to-night of John Fritz's old 
boys is one of those old boys, and he carried Fritz's ideas 
into the building up of the New South. He is not only an 
engineer, but a business man; he is not only a politician, 
but a patriotic citizen; and I take uncommon pleasure in 
introducing to you Mr. Daniel A. Tompkins, of Charlotte, 
N. C. 


Mr. Tompkins: — Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentle- 
men: I am handicapped with being a provincial before a 
metropoHtan audience, and perhaps an overfed and sleepy 
metropolitan audience. I am handicapped in many respects 
because I came here with a speech prepared to tell how well 
educated a man John Fritz was, and Abram Hewitt's letter 
and Mr. Fritz's speech knocked that speech of mine into a 
cocked hat. Mr. Hewitt said he was not educated at all. 


If I had not had time to reflect, I would not be persuaded 
that Mr. Fritz said he started this life with a scant educa- 
tion. What did we all do? (Laughter.) 

About two months ago I happened to be in this city and 
I learned that there were two ladies here from the South. 
Their people were good friends of mine and I invited them 
to dinner. Going through the lobby of this hotel down- 
stairs we came upon the distinguished gentleman who is 
the guest of honor at this feast. I stopped to speak with 
him, and he was cordial, as he always is to his friends. 
Leaving him to rejoin the ladies, one of them asked: " Who 
is your very rich friend? " (Laughter.) " Why," I said, 
" I never thought about him as being a rich man before in 
my life, I think he is pretty well fixed, even as modern 
riches go. But what made you think he is rich? " " Well," 
she said, " that beautiful smile that he has and that very 
cordial manner he has — I think it is just exactly what I 
would have if I was worth about fifty millions of dollars." 
(Applause.) I said, " That benignant smile and cordial 
manner do not come from his money, but they come from 
what he did." One of them said, " What has he done? 
Tell us about what he has done! " I said, " He has ad- 
vanced the material development of this country. He has 
improved the processes of steel and iron manufacture until 
these in America surpass what is to be found in any other 
part of the world. He has improved the manufacture of 
ordnance forgings and armor plates until the chances of 
war are materially decreased, and then he and I built the 
Bethlehem Iron Works." (Laughter.) Well, this lady 
looked rather quizzically out of the corners of her eyes and 
said: "How much did he build, and how much did you 
build? " (Laughter.) " Well," I said, " I see your in- 
nuendo; I see you are suspicious. Come back and I will 
prove by the gentleman himself that what I said is all 


right." We went back and I introduced these young 
ladies and told him the claim that I had set up that he and 
I had built the Bethlehem Iron Works, but I said: " Before 
you commit yourself, I want to tell about a little incident. 
There was a town we will call Duttersfield. It was owned 
absolutely by a nobleman and a Quaker. The nobleman 
owned every house in town except one and the Quaker 
owned that one. The nobleman had often endeavored to 
buy the Quaker out and the Quaker would not sell. One 
day they met at a little alehouse, and after a glass or two 
of ale, the nobleman said: " Now, look here, James, I have 
ofifered you four times what that old house of yours is worth. 
I don't care anything about bujdng it; I don't want to press 
the sale on you. But you Quakers profess to be particu- 
larly honest, and I want you to tell me now the reason why 
you do not want to sell — just as a matter of curiosity." 
And the Quaker said, " Well, John, if I tell thee honest, I 
suppose it is because I could no longer say that thee and I 
own the whole town of Duttersfield." (Laughter.) Then 
Mr. Fritz sat down and said, " As long as you tell that 
story, you are my partner in Bethlehem." (Laughter.) I 
thought I was all right with the ladies, when he added: 
" There's about five thousand other fellows that's got 
exactly Just the same right to claim to be partners in the 
Bethlehem works as Dan Tompkins has." Well, that 
knocked me into a cocked hat, you know. That gives me a 
text, — a text that fits the occasion. Five thousand people 
sent out from the Bethlehem Iron Works to undertake the 
industrial development of this country ! I leave out myself 
and make it 4,999. (Laughter.) I do not believe that the 
very greatest works of Mr. John Fritz have been in the 
improvement of the iron and the steel industry. I do not 
believe that his greatest work has been accomplished when 
he has been called into counsel by kings and emperors and 


foreign countries, to tell them what to do. I do not believe 
that his greatest work has been in constructing the Bethle- 
hem Iron Works, but rather in training those 4,999 fellows 
to go out and preach his creed of thrift, economy, industry, 
and financial integrity and industrial courage throughout 
these United States, and to make the wheels turn, and to 
establish pay rolls for the benefit of the population from the 
St. Lawrence to the Rio Grande. (Applause.) 

Now, I will tell you another thing, and I am going to say 
something disagreeable to the audience, but not to him. I 
beheve he will back me up. You have been praising him 
too much. He did not do everything you said he did. 
There is somebody at the other end of this hall that is 
entitled to half the praise. (Applause.) I have known 
many a woman who could have kept him from doing any- 
thing. (Applause.) I make my obeisance to Mrs. Fritz, 
and I say that the fruits of her work are here before you. 
(Applause.) I asked Mrs. Fritz's brother how long Mr. 
Fritz had been called the old man, and he said: " I don't 
know. He was about twenty-five years old when he came 
courting around our house, and he was the old man then." 
(Laughter.) His life and its development have been parallel 
with the development of the profession of engineering, and 
that profession of engineering from the time of George 
Washington down to the present time has been enlarging, 
broadening, and widening itself all the time until it has come 
to comprise almost every one of the arts and sciences that 
are known. I make my obeisance to the gentleman whom 
I honor above all others in the engineering profession. I 
stand always uncovered in his presence. I wish him a long 
and a happy hfe, and that the rest of his Hfe may fulfill all 
the conditions that Mr. Abram S. Hewitt stipulated in his 
letter, and being yet a young man, that is a great big wish. 


The Toastmaster : — It is too bad to break up this 
beautiful occasion, but I am afraid we will have to do it. 
Mr. Fritz asks me to express his thanks to you for your 
attendance, and to express to the speakers his thanks for 
the many graceful things that they have said about him, 
and we will part with one toast which needs no spokesman : 
" Mrs. Fritz and the ladies, God bless them all." 


That unique caravansary, the incomparable Waldorf- 
Astoria, never opened its spacious gates to, or harbored 
within its walls, a more intelHgent and all-round refined 
and high-toned company than graced and dignified its 
halls on the auspicious thirty-first day of October, 1902. 
They numbered by the hundreds and had come from the 
East and from the West, from the North and from the 
South, neither for business nor profit, enticed by no self- 
interest; theirs was an errand of pure pleasure, not, as 
vulgarly understood, in " tripping the light fantastic toe 
through the mazes of the dizzy dance," not to burn incense 
at the shrines of wealth, not to worship at the feet of 
beauty, not to pour libations in the welcome of some con- 
quering hero, or sacrifice hecatombs to celebrate the victory 
of some political chief, but simply to honor a modest 
friend, a good man " eighty years young," whom they 
loved, and whom they long since affectionately christened, 
" Unser Fritz." 

At the appointed hour this distinguished company, 600 
strong, was thronging the elegant and brilliantly illuminated 
lobby of the Banqueting Hall, doing homage and offering 
hearty congratulations to the hero and the heroine of the 
hour; for, as in all well-organized and desirable assem- 
blages, this was not for men alone. As the best work since 
time immemorial has been accomplished by the united 


efiforts and cooperation of good men and women, so should 
all happy results be shared and enjoyed by both. But, 

" All hiunan history attests 
That happiness for man, the hungry sinner, 
Since Eve ate the apples, much depends on dinner! " 

The banquet came next in order. At the entrance to the 
theater of action, the ladies, being invited "to go up 
higher," ascended into the regions of music, softer light, 
and purer air, to the " Angels' Gallery," the men filling the 
space only a little lower than the angels. Why attempt to 
describe the magic scene that greeted our eyes after reach- 
ing the hemicycle allotted us for observation! It should 
have been painted then and there with the colors fresh on 
the palette, under the enchanting spell of the moment, in 
the warm glow of the lights, the exhilarating music, the 
presence of friends, and the inspiration of the spirit afloat 
in the genial atmosphere. Though time brings in quick 
succession its varied seasonable festive functions, it can 
never dim from memory the bright and beautiful vision 
of that delightful night. What with the inviting groups of 
cosy small round tables, the dazzling linen, the shining silver, 
and glittering crystal; the myriads of pink-shaded lamps 
diflfusing their soft rosy glow, the bountiful decorations of 
gorgeous chrysanthemums, and the fine models of steel- 
making processes, the setting of the picture was perfect, 
both in itself and in pleasing relief to the somber and 
monotonous regulation costume of the guests it enframed. 
What a whimsical fashion that of the guest's dress suit, 
so nearly resembling the livery of the garcon! An old 
itinerant preacher illustrating his discourse with panoramic 
views, called the attention of his audience to the picture 
of Daniel in the lions' den, adding: " My friends, you will 
easily distinguish Daniel from the lions, as the former 


carries a blue cotton umbrella under his arm." The 
characteristic distinction of the guests this night, though 
not so original, was even more effective, — a pure white 
chrysanthemum, en boutonniere. 

A brilliant overture by the band and the introduction of 
oysters upon the scene opened the first act of the epicurean 
melodrama. A full corps of modern Ganymedes began to 
play their inspiriting part, other ministering spirits appear- 
ing and disappearing, bearing in turn green turtle soup, 
olives, almonds, celery, radishes, filet de sole with cucumber 
salad, then appetizing sweetbreads with Parisian potatoes, 
followed by lamb flanked with French peas as piece de 
resistance. All tantalizingly near and aggravatingly far. 
Feeding time in a menagerie is under certain circumstances 
amusing and entertaining, but who has not observed the 
unrest of the smaller animals looking on the greater devour- 
ing their lion's share? A cat looking at a king can scarcely 
find in the privilege the satisfaction of interviewing a mouse. 
To beguile the fancy and help while away the tedium of 
hope long deferred and great expectations, exquisite sou- 
venir programs of the entertainment, genuine works of art 
and triumphs of engineering skill, had been thoughtfully 
distributed among the feminine denizens of the upper re- 
gions ; but the dainty and artistically devised French menu 
only emphasized the fact and added to the regret that on 
this spicy occasion, what was sauce for the gander should 
not be sauce for the goose. One of the most exquisitely 
cruel modes of torture during the Dark Ages was by starva- 
tion, the helpless victims bound in narrow cells in full view 
of the inquisitor's kitchens, being forced witnesses of all 
the culinary operations and preparations in the result of 
which they had no share. History but repeats itself. 
When the promised " light refreshments " reached the 
altitude of the mouth-watering spectators, however, they 


had been fit for the gods, and on Olympus had served as 
nectar and ambrosia. 

During these digressions above, things were progressing 
in regular courses below, fish and flesh had been duly dis- 
posed of with accessories galore, and as entre-acte, specimen 
sections of a new kind of T-rail, skillfully contrived to 
answer the double purpose of sherbet cups, had been pre- 
sented to the banqueters as souvenirs of the Fritz Festival. 
The irrepressible punster naturally pronouncing the sorbet 
a Vorange " raal good." The band in the meantime en- 
livened the swiftly passing hours with its gayest notes. 
Years ago, at a popular bibUcal panoramic exhibition, each 
scene was ushered in by an organ accompaniment explana- 
tory or prophetic. Thus, as the return of the Prodigal 
Son unrolled before the audience, the music struck up, 
" When Johnny comes marching home again," and Christ 
stood stilling the tempest to the tune of '' A home on the 
ocean wave, a bark on the rolling deep." In the absence 
of a music program and unfamiUar with the repertory of 
the modern dinner-band, we infer that the selections were 
up-to-date, and can certify to the suitableness of " For he 
is a jolly good fellow," and " We won't go home till morn- 
ing," as well as the reasonableness of the final " Good-by, 
ladies, we're going to leave you now." 

But the end had not yet come. Roasted squabs and 
salad were next in order, followed by the delicacies of the 
daintiest of desserts, fancy ices, various cakes and sweets, 
luscious fruit, cheese and coffee, that subtle beverage, 
medium between the material and spiritual life of man, 
introducing as grand finale the happiest idea and greatest 
surprise of this surprising spread. There entered, to the 
liveliest notes of the band, a long procession of the entire 
force of the waiting corps, marching and countermarching 
through the intricacies of the array of tables, parading 


before the " beloved John " and his friends huge candied 
representations of some of the striking results of the steel 
industry, which, but for the work of the great and venera- 
ble chief, had scarcely existed. The modem steel building 
was exemplified by a beautiful model of the greatest sky- 
scraping " Flat Iron " in the world, borne aloft in the arms 
of the head of the cortege. Then followed miniature fac- 
similes of the latest steel bridge, the steel-clad battleship 
Oregon, of the biggest steam and electrical engines built, 
and of the very latest type of American disappearing siege 
guns, such as are now being mounted along our Atlantic 
coast, beside which stood some toy cannon balls. Then 
followed still other mechanical designs, intended to em- 
phasize the triumph of the steel industry which John Fritz 
has done so much to create. 

And now for the feast of reason and flow of soul, since 
" man should not live by bread alone." Behind an antique- 
looking tribune, built on a slightly elevated platform over- 
looking the joyous multitude, sat " Uncle John " in the 
midst of the orators of the night, their noble and friendly 
faces framed in by banks of ferns and flowers, against a 
background of the three colors we love the best, broken 
midway by mysteriously closed curtains, at the parting of 
which we had expected some hand to trace writings upon 
the wall, in letters of steel and words of heaven's fire, 

" An honest man, the noblest work of God "; 

but when the curtains opened, it was to introduce the inter- 
esting ceremony of the medal presentation of which the 
" Honest Man " was the first recipient. Then followed the 
reading of a nobk epistle from Hon. Abram S. Hewitt. One 
of the veterans of the art, detained by the infirmities of ad- 
vancing age, he penned his message full of wisdom and good 
cheer, to which the house responded with heartfelt and en- 


thusiastic applause. The Navy was represented by Rear- 
Admiral George W. Melville, one of the best and bravest 
of the nation's heroes, whose exploits and achievements in 
the Lena Delta astonished the world. Then congratula- 
tory messages were read, coming " from the four comers of 
the roimd world." Then the Army was responded to by 
General Griffin, and able speeches generously savored with 
Attic salt were enjoyed from representatives of the four 
great American Societies and Institutes of Civil, MLning, 
Mechanical, and Electrical Engineers. The facetious man- 
ufacturer of " lucky omens " from up-country discoursed on 
the Lehigh Valley and its neighbors, and last, but not least, 
one of Uncle John's boys dwelt on the days of his brother 
old-boys in a speech redundant with wit and humor. And 
when the last good-by was spoken to the warm pressure 
of the hand, all went on their various ways, feeling it had 
been good to be there. 

The event was a rare success from beginning to end; 
thanks to the ingenuity, good taste, and appreciative realiza- 
tion of the eternal fitness of things on the part of the various 
committees. Kindness and good-will had conceived the 
idea, talented ability had carried it out, the well-earned 
laurels of a truly good and great man had been scattered 
along his upward path to the land of all possibilities, while 
yet he might gather them up, see the friend's face, and 
press the kindly hand who brought them. No post-mortem 
eulogiums, no flower-decked tomb could so well keep fresh 
the memory of one whom his fellow men loved to honor, 
while yet he trod the ways of life with them. 

J. B. T. 


AEBY, A. E. 

BERG, P. T. 

BURR, F. A. 




CROES, J. J. R. 

DEYO, S. L. F. 


FORD, E. L. 





In Memoriam by 



JONES, B. F., Jr. 
JONES, WM. R., ^ 


In Memoriam by 





MAW, W. H. 

McKEE, J. J. 







RE A, WM. H. 
ROBY, L. A. 






TARR, H. G. H. 
TAYLOR, L. H., Jr. 
TROTZ, J. O. E. 




WOOD, F. W. 



The Following are the Awards of the 
John Fritz Medal: 

No. Dale To 

1902 John Fritz 

1905 Lord Kelvin 

1906 George Westinghouse 

1907 Alexander Graham Bell 

1908 Thomas Alva Edison 

1909 Charles T. Porter 

1910 Alfred Noble 

191 1 (to be awarded Sir Wm. H. White in November) 


Testimonial Dinner to John Fritz by the Manu- 
facturers' Club of Philadelphia. 

On November 17, 1910 the Manufacturers' Club of 
Philadelphia tendered John Fritz a reception and dinner 
at the rooms of the Club, the participants numbering 
about 175. Col. W. F. Donovan acted as toastmaster. 
Addresses were made by Nathan B. Folwell, President of 
the Club, John Birkinbine, John Fritz, James M. Swank, 
Charles M. Schwab, the Rev. Russell H. Conwell, Joseph E. 
Thropp, the Hon. Hampton L. Carson, and Robert W. 

In connection with the exercises of the evening the 
Elliott Cresson gold medal was awarded Mr. Fritz by the 
Franklin Institute of Philadelphia " for distinguished lead- 
ing and directive work in the advancement of the iron 
and steel industries," and Dr. Russell H. Conwell, Presi- 
dent of Temple University, Philadelphia, announced that 
the Trustees of Temple University conferred on Mr. Fritz 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Science. 


H w 

W H 


OS en 

" s 

U p 

O M 
O o 

W 5! 


JAN 1 9 1939