AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ ill
many long years ago, sitting on a pile of discarded rails, with evidences of failure on every side, Mr. Townsend and myself quietly and seriously talking over the history of the past, the difficulties of the present, and the uncertainties of the future, I cannot but feel, in view of what since has come to pass, that it was not only a critical epoch in the history of the Cambria Company, but that as well the future well-being of my life was in the balance. For, as Mr. Townsend was about to leave, after a full discussion of the Cambria Iron Company's condition at that time, he turned to me and said: " Fritz, go ahead and build the mill as you want it." I asked, " Do you say that officially?" to which he replied: " I will make it official," and he did so; and here I wish to say that to no other person so deservedly belongs the credit, not only of the introduction of the three- high-roll train but also of the wonderful prosperity that came to the Cambria Company, as it does to Mr. Edward Y. Townsend, then its Vice-President.
Notwithstanding I now had the consent of the com¬ pany to go on with my plan for the new mill, many of my warmest friends, some of whom were practical ironmen, came to me and urged me not to try such an experiment. They said I had taken a wrong position in refusing to build the kind of mill the company wanted. " By so doing," they said, " you have assumed the entire responsibility, and in all probability the mill that you are going to build will prove a failure, and being a young man your reputation will be ruined for hfe." To this I rephed that possibly they were right, but that I had given the subject the most careful consideration and was willing to take my chances on the result.
The work was now pushed as fast as possible. In the construction of the rail train I made a radical departure from the old practice, which was to place breaking pieces