AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 191
the soUd steel armor plate in my mind. The hammer is the best system of forging to get close-grained metal.
The efficiency of the Navy would depend on lugh-power guns and on an armor plate that would resist solid steel shot fired out of a steel gun at a high velocity. Any plate that would not stand tins test was worse than useless. Consequently, it was idle to think for a moment of e\'er making a wrought-iron amior plate that would be effective under such conditions, to meet the improvements that had been made in guns and projectiles.
At the time the Bethlehem Iron Company took the subject up, all Europe was speculating and experimenting on various devices, hoping to find something that would meet the conditions. Among the many plans, the com¬ pound plate above described seemed to be the favorite. To my mind it was clear that an armor plate could not be made on that principle that would stand the shock of a solid forged oil-tempered steel projectile, at the velocity specified by the Navy Department.
The ideal armor plate, I was convinced, should be made out of one solid piece of steel, the ingot being cast large enough to give sufficient work in forging to properly close the grain to prepare it for annealing and tempering. But how such a plate would stand the baUistic test could only be solved by actual experiment; there were diverse opinions on this point, but generally unfavorable, and the only way to demonstrate it would be by actual experiment, which at that time would have been very expensive, as there were no means of forging and treating the plate, or proper tools for shaping it.
About this time Mr. Schneider, of the Creusot Works in France, was experimenting in making solid steel plates, forging them under a hundred-ton hammer, This being to my mind the only way to make a good armor plate,