46 AUTOBIOGRjiPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
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 hostiUty to all geared miUs com¬ menced, and I said if ever I had an opportunity to build a rolUng mill, there would not be a cog wheel in the rolUng department, and my opinion has not changed. It was here that the Uttle 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 macliinery. At last the machinery in the mill was gotten into what was, for that time, fairly good working order.
Having pre\'iously made up my mind to learn the iron business, practicaUy, in aU its departments,^ I concluded to take up puddUng first. This was the most difficult branch of the business to learn and properly control, and at that time the most important and most arduous. As my time was fuUy occupied in the day in lookuig 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 puddUng furnaces until about ten o'clock. Tliis 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