36 AUTOBIOGRjiPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
ship. I was very proud both of what he said and of the workmanUke 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 Ufe, as it taught me how to do work in case of an emergency, without proper tools. An abiUty to do this is, at tunes, of the utmost importance, especiaUy about an iron and steel plant, where delays are very costly and at times dangerous.
Some time during the year 1839, I ^^st 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