86 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
the furnace should be hottest. Some of the bars, called ringers, were ten feet long, so that they would reach the center of the crucible. They were driven in with a sledge, then four or five men would take hold of the end of the bar and work it round and round and get a lot of hot fuel out of the very place where it was most wanted. Besides, the blast was off the furnace all the time this working was being done.
I now paid close attention to the two keepers to see how they worked the furnace and how long each of them had the blast off. I soon found out that Collins worked the furnace much more thoroughly, driving the cold bars into the furnace, and keeping the blast off longer. While this explained the matter in a measure, there was stfll a mystery why the Welshman should do so much better than ColUns on the night turn, both in make and in quaUty. The inter¬ mediate time for working the fumace on the night turn was between twelve and one.
I next directed my attention to the night turn and soon solved the mystery. Mr. ColUns worked the furnace at midnight, the same as he worked it in the daytime, whfle the Welshman rarely worked the furnace at all in the night. This at once solved the problem, and proved that the intermediate working was not only useless, but was detri¬ mental to the natural working of the furnace. This was an important discovery, and fuUy confirmed my theory that it was wrong to put cold bars in the crucible and work out a lot of good hot fuel and material that was, practi¬ cally speaking, on the verge of fluid metal, fifling the space with crude and colder material, and that in the bottom of the crucible below the tuyeres, the most sensitive part of the furnace. Mr. ColUns the Manager, his brother, the keeper, and myself got together and talked the whole sub¬ ject over, and were imanimous in the conclusion that the frequent working of a furnace was deleterious.