AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 85
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. ColUns' brother, and the other one was a Welshman. On the latter's turn the most and best iron was made. Mr. ColUns, the Man¬ ager, was constantly finding fault vnth his brother, and charged him with negUgence, especially on the night tum, 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 fumace, consequently knew much better what was going on there than the Manager did. My sympathy was with the brother, who was at aU 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 an3rthing that might coUect there when the fumace 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 vnth a heavy cast-iron plate held in place by a prop against a cast-iron plate or Untel 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 fumace, as it was caUed, was done about the middle of the day. This mtermediate 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 cracible where it was essential that