AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 35
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 liis absence, doing smaU and Ught 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 imable to get to the shop to remain long. I, however, continued at the fire and learned rapidly.
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 imable 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 wiU 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 faciUties for handUng 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 mstructions 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-