AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 47
any suggestions. After several months of long hours, and hard and laborious work, and much thought on both the process of puddUng and the improvement that was possible on the furnace, I concluded that I had gained sufficient practical knowledge to enable me to buUd a much-improved furnace, for both puddling 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 aU 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 Une, it is only necessary to say they were many and great and con¬ stantly increasing. Never shirking a responsibiUty 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 puddUng, which at that time was the only process Icnown to make cheap and fairly good iron out of pig iron made in the blast furnace vnth. 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 rolling departments, which are both im¬ portant, and spent my evenings there in the same way I had done in the puddUng branch of the business, in order to get a thorough practical knowledge of the heating, rolling, and finishing departments. This was the only way