148 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
and at the same time prepared the way for the introduc¬ tion and remarkable development of the Bessemer process. The puddUng process, as it was generally practiced, was a hard and laborious one, and unmechanical, and in its earUer stages it was not very scientific, yet to a person who was about a puddUng furnace and gave it any attention it soon became interesting, if he did not have to do the work.
Up to the time of the discovery of the basic process by the late lamented Sidney Gilchrist Thomas, it was the only process in which a pig iron high in phosphorus could be used, commerciaUy speaking. The name of Henry Cort, the inventor of the puddUng process, well deserves to be enrolled among the list of great inventors, as one to whom the whole civilized world is greatly indebted.
Wliile it may be out of place here to mention any special class, yet I feel that I would not be doing my duty to let this opportunity pass without paying tribute to the meri¬ torious and hard-working class of men who, up until 1870, made practicaUy aU the iron that was used in the construc¬ tion of the railroads, that, as it were, practicaUy gridironed the country. They also made the iron for the bridges that spanned the great rivers, and for the locomotives and cars that were used on them; also the iron that was used for manufacturing, mechanical, and other purposes. In the year 1890 there was produced by this process in the United States the enormous quantity of 2,518,194 gross tons. Now I think, in view of the magnificent results that have been achieved by the process, it is surely entitled to a prominent place in the history of the iron industries of the world.