AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 187
at their next Board meeting, which was to take place in a few days.
At the next meeting they took the subject up, and after most seriously talking it over they sent for me to come to the meeting. This I did, and I found them looking as if they were about to bury the last friend they had on earth. They had their say, all but one. They generally thought it was a wild and visionary scheme; it would take a vast amount of money, and they could not see where the money was to come from, and faflure was sure to take place. Some said we had been making money and they could see no reason for a change. They asked what I had to say, I repUed: " I have given you my views so often and so frankly that it seems to me useless to repeat them. I will, however say that you have turned down everything that I have suggested, and you are up against the last that I have to suggest. Some of you say, Let weU alone. I say that in this case such a poUcy will be suicidal. Some of the direc¬ tors have their doubts of my abiUty to carry through a job of such magnitude. Now, gentlemen, I wish to say to you all that I have given this proposition mature consideration, and from three standpoints. First, it is of the utmost importance that the nation should have within its control just such a plant as it is proposed to build; it must have it and should have it at once. Second, the engineers of the country are greatly in need of it; there is not a forge plant in this country that can forge a good steel shaft. I have shown you individually the result of my effort to get a good steel shaft fourteen inches in diameter. It looked aU right on the outside, but, knowing how it was forged, I had it turned up to size, outside diameter, and cut in two length¬ wise, and it showed such internal seams and cracks that it could not be used; the second one we bored a five-inch hole through longitudinally and found it unsound all the way